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.
Our 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 Suduiraut 1er Cru Sauternes 2016
Ch Guiraud 1er Cru Sauternes 2016
Ch La Tour Blanche 1er Cru Sauternes 2016
Ch Sigalas Rabaud 1er Cru Sauternes 2016
Ch Coutet 1er Cru Barsac 2016
Ch Doisy Vedrines 2ème Cru Sauternes 2016
Ch d’Arche 2eme Cru Sauternes 2016
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.