Sauternes & Similar

The tiny appellation of Sauternes lies on the west bank of the Garonne, south of Graves. This point on the river is prone to autumn mists, and this combination of morning mist with sunny afternoons favours the development of noble rot, a fungal infection that reduces the water content of the affected grapes, thus concentrating the grape sugars, allowing the production of these naturally sweet wines. The wines are often described as expensive because of the handpicking required to select the nobly rotted grapes, and because of the low yield produced by the concentrated grapes. Prices are similar to some classed growth clarets, and the wines tend to hold their prices longer. Within Sauternes is the commune of Barsac, which contains a number of top properties that are entitled to use either the Barsac or Sauternes appellations. The 1855 Sauternes & Barsac Classification considers the two communes as one, as do we. Our recommendations: Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Suduiraut, Climens, Coutet, Yquem, Doisy-Dane, Doisy-Dubroca, Doisy-Védrines and Rieussec, among others.

Near Graves is Cérons, an appellation still producing a small amount of sweet wine. Other appellations on the opposite bank of the Garonne also produce sweet wines. These are the Premières Côtes de Bordeaux and its three communes, Cadillac, Loupiac and Ste-Croix-du-Mont. Our recommendations: Loubans (Ste-Croix-du-Mont).