Day 10 - Sauternes - Printable Version

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- TheEngineer - 08-11-2011 03:59 PM

After a lovely weekend up in Cognac, we headed back to Bordeaux and prepared ourselves for more wine. But this was also meant to be a change for the taste buds. We were heading south to Sauternes.

Our first visit was Chateau Guiraud, one of my fav's. This is one pretty property. The LONG front drive up to the Chateau is lined with hugh trees that give this estate a very grand feeling. The resulting impresion is once again very different than Bordeaux which has a certain shall we say bling to it. This felt aristocratic.

The property is 128 hectares with abuot 100 planted. They made a change towards organic vinticulture in 1996 and will be certified this year. muscadelle, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillion and Sauvignon Gris are planted on the property.

A quite tour of the chateau and production facilities will yield some nice picts. I love it when they stack up the bottles of liquid gold without the labels yet as they always make interesting pics. Apparently the 2009's have been bottles very recently as they are just cleaning up all the equipment and tanks. One thing I learned on this trip is how they stop fermentation when there is so much sugar left in the wine.

We got to try to 2006 bottle. Nose is very interesting, has a bit of peppermint on it, great freshness, very pretty, fruity, pineapple, caramel, good length, hint of tea at the end. Lovely.

While I've read that you cannot buy wines from the winery, some places seem to be prepared for this as they have effectively a store for you to browse through or a list that you can pick from. This was true at Pontet Canet, Pichon Lalande, Pape Clement,and now at Guiraud (and later La Tour Blanc and Chateaux Gruaud Larose). Prices are not good by US standards but actually not bad by international standards (where they may have high taxes)Guiraud was also testing 100mL crewcap bottles that looked like test tubes. Interesting design and also acknowledges that somethings like Icewine makes, even a half bottle might be too much. So 100 mL is good to share with two people. I bought a 1996 100mL bottle home with me.

Our GPS which has proven itself to become a bit more successful with the streets of Bordeaux once again became useless within Sauternes. It got us to our first place great but it was hopelessly lost trying to get us to La Tour Blanche...which is not a small site. I liked their 2001's so decided to see what they are about since they are structured very differently, as a cooperative. Certainly a nice building awaited us but with less of the panache and bling of Bordeaux or even Guirand. They grow 80% Semillion, 15% sauvignon Blanc and 5% muscadelle. WE tasted through their range fo dry,second and first wines. Lovely stuff but I will have to locate my tasting notes for here. I was able to purchase from here, a 1977 bottle that we opened for Christoph at Le Piane but turned out to be oxidized. My heart sank tehre as I had been looing forward to a cellar direct bottle but the cork had somewhat failed here.

Looking for a place for lunch on Monday in Sauternes is not an easy task. We wanted to have lunch in the town but Le Sapien, a nice and "only" restaurant was closed so we had to look elsewhere.

Our GSP had no idea where Chateau d'Yquem was. We were tight on the timeline and no blood GPS was gonna keep me away from YQUEM!!! There are signs to the property that we saw. We knew where the property was so finally we found an unpaved road and headed in. Up on the hills loomed a silhouette that I knew well, even the well manicured trees. It was Yquem. but no one wa around. It took a few minutes of running aournd to find the right door adn then we were lead into the waiting room. Beautiful site. Great little tour and the tasting was of the yet to be released 2008.

This wine is very light in color, much like 2001 was whe first released. Nose is very floral, honey, apricots and a hint pf tropical fruits like mangos and pineapple. Not overtly explosive on the nose like other vintages, On the palate, much the same, medium light bodied but very pure very focused yquem. It is very elegant and while I would normally complain that this wine lacked the chassis of a bigger wine, I noticed how "comfortable" my mouth felt after drinking this, and that the persistence would last until we got back to Bordeaux. This is not the best from Yquem, but only Yquem can make a wine like this.

We drove around more, got incredible lost , ended up in many vineyards on one way roads..... drove by the incredible renovation at Fargues. and had a happy journey back to Bordeaux where we ate at La Tupina. Not a bad day at all!!!!

- Kcwhippet - 08-12-2011 01:16 AM

Mike, did you notice that Christoph looks a bit like Eric Clapton? When he was in the shop a few months ago, he poured an 85 and an 89 Boca. Awesome!!

- TheEngineer - 08-12-2011 01:11 PM

Hehehe...I had not made that connection but now that you mention it, I won't be able to see him in the same light again!! I'll post that section of the trip soon but as a preview, he opened up a couple of bottles from the 70's (70 and 71?? gues) that was just incredible. Even better than the 85 and 89....Just insane.


- Kcwhippet - 08-12-2011 08:30 PM

well, I haven't had the 70's, but the 85 was just spctacular!!!

- winoweenie - 08-12-2011 11:41 PM

I suggest a taste-off with the Weener as the judge...... :-T WW

- TheEngineer - 08-15-2011 04:16 PM

WW, I'm sure that you would have liked his wines as they had character. I would have been a great offline to go to italy!!!! Smile