The massively rich, yet fresh, lively 1988 offers a compelling, flowery, honeyed bouquet of vanilla custard, buttery orange/apricot scents, and smoky ceme brulee. The wine's zesty acidity brings everything into extraordinary clarity. With plenty of botrytis evident, this is a full-bodied, super-concentrated, fascinating, powerful yet elegant Sauternes that will age beautifully for 25-30 years. Drink: 2001-2030
Previously I rated the 1988 the highest of these three vintages, and I felt the 1989 was significantly inferior. At this tasting, the 1988 towered qualitatively over the other two vintages. The massively rich, yet fresh, lively 1988 offers a compelling, flowery, honeyed bouquet of vanilla, and buttery orange/apricot scents. The wine's wonderful, zesty acidity brings everything into extraordinary clarity. It is a full-bodied, super-concentrated, fascinating, precocious Sauternes that will age beautifully for 25-30 yearsDrink: 1995-2025
Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey's history dates back to the 13th century and in the 1855 classificationwas rated very highly coming third behind La Tour Blanche and d'Yquem. The château is located inthe commune of Bommes and has 40 hectares of vineyards, planted with 90% Sémillon, 5% Sauvignon Blanc and 5% Muscadelle. The quality has improved since the late 1970s when Michel Laporet was appointed as administrator. He severely restricted the yields, introduced more rigorous selection procedures and initiated fermentation and maturation in oak casks.
It is not an exaggeration to say that these are the greatest sweet wines in the world. They are the result of a serendipitous marriage of grape variety, location, annual weather conditions and human care and determination. The vineyards are located on the banks of the cool spring-fed Ciron river which, in autumn, flows into the warmer tidal Garonne and creates rolling evening mists which clothe the vines until the afternoon sun burns them off the following day. This cycle creates perfect conditions for the development of botrytis cinerea or noble rot, and the resulting grape juice is a super concentrated sweet, ambrosial nectar which makes the most heavenly and complex wines with extraordinary ability to age. In 1855 the wines were classified into first and second growths, with Ch d'Yquem rightly receivingits own super status of premier grand cru. Other stunning wines include Chx Sudiraut, Rieussec, Coutet and Climens. While seductively fragrant and sweet when young, if you can bear to wait, you will be amply rewarded with lusciously rich, exotically complex wine.