If anything 2012 Sauternes and Barsac is a little better than expected in what was an extremely difficult harvest in the region, spoiled by vintage rain. The very best wines are light yet with enough depth to make appetizing sweet wine that will be comparatively early maturing. A few are in a strange sort of purgatory, a half-way house position, between sweet styles and the off-dry, emphasizing the kind of all-or-nothing risk taking that Bordeaux’s bravest winemakers undertake here each vintage. There’s always the danger that you might get left high and dry in Sauternes [no pun intended] and some brave souls clearly have.
Posts Tagged ‘Barsac’
The quality of the 2012 vintage in Sauternes and Barsac risks being unfairly overshadowed by Yquem’s decision not to make a grand vin this vintage, closely followed by the same news from Château Rieussec, writes David Rowe in the first of a series of 2012 Bordeaux previews.
2010 lies in the middle of a trio of exceptional vintages for Sauternes and Barsac. The vintage has produced rich, sweet wines with lots of creamy botrytis but also plenty of zip. They will last the course but quite a few are already delicious. There is something beguiling and beautiful about the finest Sauternes and there are a bevy of fine wines to chose from in 2010, some of which remain close in price to their original en primeur offers, so there is much that is still affordable.
Great vintages are consistent from cask, to bottle, to glass, and so it is proving with Bordeaux 2010. Tasting this vintage at the Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux’s annual horizontal at Covent Garden last November there is no doubt that 2010, now in bottle, is delivering on the exceptional promise it showed during the Bordeaux primeurs week in April 2011. It remains a fascinating vintage and a wonderful partner to 2009. If the precocious and deceptively easy charms of the extraordinary 2009 vintage appeal to the heart, then 2010 is definitely a vintage for the head.
In 2008 Sauternes and Barsac were not generally seen as having had a great year. It’s the first chance I’ve had to taste this vintage and the nine wines shown at the MW Institute tasting were better than expected overall. They had sweetness and fruit but perhaps did lack zip [acid] and that creamy botrytis stamp of the great years. That said I really enjoyed Chateau Climens, Chateau Clos Haut-Peyraguey and Chateau Rieussec. Chateau Suiduiraut looked very good indeed. Chateau d’Yquem was difficult to evaluate on the basis of the small sample size given but it had great length. Still I was a lot more excited tasting the 2010 vintage in Sauternes and Barsac at the UGCB a week later. More on that wonderful vintage for red, white and sweet white shortly.
The MW Institute’s Annual Claret Tasting is almost too much of a good thing. Tasting all one hundred and twenty wines from Bordeaux’s finest districts requires steely determination, nifty footwork and a healthy dollop of over-ambition. You’ll also need to keep an eye on your watch as you’ve only a few hours. Then, just as you think you’ve licked it, tasting St Estèphe, Pauillac, St Julien, Margaux, Haut-Médoc and Pessac-Léognan back-to-back in the grand Vintners Hall, up come the wines of St Emilion and Pomerol, lying in wait in an adjoining room. Talk about kicking a man when he’s down. Fortunately, since last year, you can perk up with some fine Sauternes and Barsac at the very end before hailing a taxi cab and finding somewhere to lie down.