Sauternes 2016 En Primeur

May 8th 2017

So often left to the end of the campaign, Sauternes can be easily overlooked in great red Bordeaux vintages. But this year the Sauternes châteaux have come out early and positively. Ch Guiraud was released before we’d even ventured to Bordeaux in early April. By maintaining the same ex-cellars release price it set a precedence which almost all others followed. This, coupled with the extraordinary complexities of making such a unique style of wine, and Sauternes quickly reveals itself as a rich resource of sensible value in this vintage.

Sauternes-2016Our buying director, David Roberts MW, has pointed out that the wines’ balance and harmony recall the 1988 vintage. Their sweetness is particularly pure and delicate, and their floral elegance promises early approachability.

En Primeur is an excellent opportunity to buy in the format you prefer, be it half bottles, bottles or magnums. The prices below are quoted for 6x75cl and 12×37.5cl, but please just ask if you would prefer another format. For full tasting notes see page 24 of our brochure. Critics scores and prices are listed below.

* We learnt last week that some of these Sauternes châteaux were badly affected by the frost, with Ch Climens reporting 100% loss. This means Sauternes will be in short supply next year.


Ch Climens 1er Cru Barsac 2016
£280 per 6 Bottles In Bond | £287 per 12 Halves In Bond
GH: 96-98, NM: 95-97, JR: 18+, AG: 93-96, MJ: 19++, DC: 94

Ch Suduiraut 1er Cru Sauternes 2016
£272.50 per 6 Bottles In Bond | £279.50 per 12 Halves In Bond
GH: 92-94, NM: 94-96, JR: 18+, AG: 91-94, MJ: 19++, TA: 95, JS: 95-96

Ch Guiraud 1er Cru Sauternes 2016
£175 per 6 Bottles In Bond | £182 per 12 Halves In Bond
GH: 93-95, NM: 93-95, JR: 17+, AG: 89-92, MJ: 19+, TA: 93, JS: 94-95

Ch La Tour Blanche 1er Cru Sauternes 2016
£160 per 6 Bottles In Bond | £167 per 12 Halves In Bond
GH: 94-96, NM: 94-96, JR: 17, AG: 88-91, MJ: 19++, TA: 96, DC: 89, JS: 93-94

Ch Sigalas Rabaud 1er Cru Sauternes 2016
£160 per 6 Bottles In Bond | £167 per 12 Halves In Bond
GH: 96-98, NM: 92-94, JR: 16.5+, AG: 90-93, MJ: 16, TA: 94, JS: 91-92

Ch Coutet 1er Cru Barsac 2016
£160 per 6 Bottles In Bond | £167 per 12 Halves In Bond
GH: 91-93, NM: 91-93, JR: 16.5+, AG: 89-92, MJ: 18+, TA: 95, JS: 94-95

Ch Doisy Vedrines 2ème Cru Sauternes 2016
£142.50 per 6 Bottles In Bond | £149.50 per 12 Halves In Bond
GH: 90-92, JR: 16.5, AG: 90-93, MJ: 18+, TA: 92, DC: 93, JS: 91-92

Ch d’Arche 2eme Cru Sauternes 2016
£130 per 6 Bottles In Bond | £137 per 12 Halves In Bond
GH: 90-92, NM: 91-93, JR: 16, MJ: 17.5+, TA: 89, DC: 89


Sauternes and the 2016 vintage
Lying at the southern end of the Graves is the unique commune of Sauternes. In autumn, rolling evening mists rise from the confluence of the cool spring-fed Ciron tributary and the warm tidal Garonne River and slither silently through the vineyards. This moisture encourages one of the wine world’s most extraordinary phenomena: botrytis cinerea, or noble rot. The Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillion grapes shrivel on the vine, concentrating the sugars, acid, glycerol and unique botrytis flavours of bitter orange marmalade and honey.

Noble rot is notoriously difficult to manage in the vineyard and cellar, and adverse conditions can quickly mean all the hard work unravels as grey rot takes hold. In 2016 most growers did a small pass through the vineyards in late September, picking lightly botrytised grapes, rich in ripe zingy flavours. Rain at the end of the month meant botrytis cinerea took hold swiftly, and growers then picked the majority of their harvest in mid-October. The result is some lovely purity to the sweetness in the best examples, combined with that floral, bitter orange complexity of noble rot.