Rieussec is one of the finest properties in Sauternes, neighbouring Yquem. Owned by Domaines Baron de Rothschild (of Lafite), this château’s Sémillon-dominated wines are rich and honeyed. This 2013 has pure notes of honeycomb and orange peel. The palate strikes a nice balance between sweetness and freshness, with white fruits, spring blossom, and caramel richness.
Golden yellow in colour, this has pure acacia honeyed aromas, with soft flavours of clementines and nectarines. Whilst refined and very pure, it has delicious volume and breadth. This has a delicious balance between sweetness and freshness. Very classy.
The grand vin from Chateau Rieussec is a blend of 95.5% Semillon and 4.5% Sauvignon Blanc picked between September 26 and October 31 over four tries through the vineyard (although some blocks took more than that). The nose is a little closed at the moment, with light honey and a touch of marmalade. The palate is very well-balanced, very tense and focused with superb mineralite toward the lightly viscous finish. This is a classy number, a pretty Rieussec in the making.
Closed nose. White fruits and a bit of floral perfume on the palate. Bright acidity, good length. This has stature and complexity – but has a long way to go to flourish fully. (RH)
Much finer nose and far more detail than almost every other wine at the UGC tasting. Exotic, floral, orange zesty and caramel-kissed. Lovely balance and a long way to go, this is a sumptuous wine.
Rieussec's 90 hectares of vineyard occupy one of the highest points in the Sauternes after those of neighbouring Yquem. Unusually the vineyard is one unit, and not made up of several parcels like most Bordeaux properties.The good work started by Albert Vuillier (more oak, and increased passes picking more developed grapes) in the 1970's has been continued by the current owners - Domaines Baron de Rothschild (of Lafite) - who rebuilt the chai in 1989. Vines are on average 25 years old, with Plantings predominantly Semillon (92%) with a small amount of Sauvignon Blanc (5%) and Muscadelle (3%). If the year is judged too poor as in 1993, the grand vin is not made at all. Bottlings under the name Clos Labère are also produced. The deeply coloured wine has a rich, honeyed style, which exhibits great precision and tremendous persistance.
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.