Tuesday, November 20, 2018

#GoGoldenBordeaux with Sweet Bordeaux

Raise your hand if like me, you thought Sweet Bordeaux would refer to just the wonderful wines of Sauternes? I learned preparing for the Snooth facilitated #GoGoldenBordeaux tasting that Sauternes is one of ten appellations producing these dessert wines. Bordeaux is the only French region which allows for the development of Botrytis Cinerea - aka noble rot. And this derives from the region’s oceanic climate which alternates between humidity and heat. When the Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, or Muscadelle grapes hang on the vine a little past their harvest peak then noble rot ensues. This grape concentration produces a golden colored wine with intense aromas and flavors.


Sauternes
Its sweet wines come from the towns of Sauternes, Barsac, Preignac, Fargues and Bommes, located on the left bank of the Garonne, about forty kilometers south of Bordeaux. Its grapes are Sémillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle. They are vinified according to tradition, in small volumes, for 12 to 18 months in vats or barrels, depending on the crus.

Bordeaux Supérieur
Its sweet wines come from vineyards all over Gironde, capable of producing quality sweet white wines. Its grapes are Sémillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle. They are vinified over 6 to 18 months, in vats or barrels depending on the crus. Its grapes are Sémillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle. They are vinified in stainless steel tanks or oak barrels. The vinification is followed by great attention because producing a sweet wine is a precision job. But the charm of Loupiac is also the multiplicity of producers who make wines with very different personalities and all very endearing.

Loupiac
Their acidity and freshness. Their citrus aromas and liquorice notes which bring character. Their accessibility and delicate balance with the sugar.

Cadillac
Its sweet wines come from the slopes of the right bank of the Garonne. Its grapes are Sémillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle. They are vinified traditionally for 12 to 18 months.

Saint-Macaire
Its sweet wines come from vineyards of 10 towns in the Saint-Macaire canton, which extends on the slopes of the right bank of the Garonne, south of Bordeaux. Its grapes are Sémillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle. They are produced after handpicking and harvested by successive selections, followed by a traditional vinification, aged for 10 and 18 months.

Sainte-Croix-du-Mont
Its sweet wines come from the town of Sainte-Croix-du-Mont and its hilly terroir, the only one which can claim the wines from this appellation. Its grapes are Sémillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle. They are vinified traditionally and in small volumes. They are aged for 12 to 18 months in vats or barrels, depending on the crus.

Premières Côtes
Its sweet wines come from vineyards of 39 towns that lie on the slopes of the right bank of the Garonne, south of Bordeaux. Its grapes are Sémillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle. They are produced at the end of harvests and of a traditional winemaking, aged for 10 and 18 months.

Cérons
Its sweet wines come from three cities, Cérons, Illats and Podensac, located about forty kilometers south of Bordeaux. Its grapes are Semillon and Sauvignon. They are vinified in accordance with traditional methods and in small volumes. They benefit from 12 to 18 months vinification, in vats or barrels depending on the crus.

Barsac
Its liquourous wines come from Barsac town, on the left bank of the Garonne, about forty kilometers south of Bordeaux. Its grapes are Sémillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle. They are vinified according to tradition, in small volumes, for 12 to 18 months, in vats or barrels depending on the crus.

Graves Supérieures
Its sweet wines come from the Graves vineyards on the left bank of the Garonne. Its grapes are Sémillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle. They are vinified traditionally and in small volumes. They are aged for 12 to 18 months in vats or barrels, depending on the crus.

The Wines

Chateau Manos Cadillac 2016
This tropical and honey-citrus wine is practically all Semillon harvested from a clay-limestone slope in the commune of Haux. The Château has belonged to the same family for four generations and produces one delicious wine.

Chateau Loupiac-Gaudiet 2016
This is the lightest and freshest wine of the group comprised of 90% Sémillion and 10% Sauvignon. Like others, the grapes were harvested from vines growing in clay and limestone soils. This is the wine that started the brainstorming for cocktails.

Château la Rame Sainte Croix du Mont 2015
My favorite -- savory with stone fruits of peaches and apricots, honey, and racy minerality. The 100% Sémillon grapes grew on the typical clay-limestone soil but with a fossilized oyster subsoil. This explains the minerality.

Chateau du Cros Loupiac 2014
The is a very citrus and candied blend of 90% Sémillon, 5% Sauvignon, 5% Muscadelle grapes harvested from the right bank slopes of the Garonne River on chalky clay topsoil and limestone subsoil. Some of these vines date back to 1907.

Chateau Dauphine Rondillon Loupiac 2011
The chateau is in its eighth generation of family ownership and this blend of 70% Semillon and 30% Sauvignon Blanc is excellent with multiple layers of raisons, honey, apricots, and butterscotch. Seven years has not dented it's quality.

Chateau Lapinesse Sauternes 2016
This is an extremely rich and tart wine with a hint of spice. It is 100% Sémillon that was aged 12 months in stainless steel tanks. Excellent.

Chateau Filhot Sauternes 2015
Chateau Filhot Sauternes dates back to the 1600s and was compared to Chateau d’Yquem by then ambassador to France Thomas Jefferson. The grapes were grown south of the village of Sauternes on south-west hillsides with the blend established at 60% Sémillon, 36% Sauvignon, & 4% Muscadelle. There is more of an orange cream cycle feel to this wine that was aged 22 months including 12 months in oak barrels.

Castelnau de Suduiraut Sauternes 2006
This wine shows the aging potential of this styled wine. It offers layers of dried apricots and honey, abundant acidity, and salty minerals. There's abundant history with the property as well as Count Blaise de Suduiraut replanted the vineyard and restored the estate after it was destroyed in the 1600s. The 99% Sémillon grew on sandy clay soil and the wine was aged in French oak barrels for 15 months with 30% of once used barrels and 70% of twice used barrels.
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