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Men’s road

Château Guiraud 2001 Sauternes (Bordeaux) – Extremely advance, to a point that I can’t believe this bottle is intact. Already here are the bronze, caramelized, slightly oxidized brown sugar elements of mature Sauternes, and that’s just extremely unlikely after only ten years. (8/11)

Just a Rieussec

Rieussec 2002 Sauternes (Bordeaux) – If I remember correctly, Rieussec was my first “good” Sauternes. I’d had a few cheapies as a run-up, but this was the one that lit the bulb over my palate; “oh, I get it now!” Since those exploratory days I’ve learned that the botrytized and wooded style is far from my favorite way to consume liquid sugar, and so I mostly drink other things. In a way, then, this was as much a Proustian pleasure as it was an actual pleasure…though it was that, too. Good? Yes. I wouldn’t call it great, though, and that may well be the aforementioned stylistic preference at work (which is why I mentioned it in the first place). All the expected elements – bronzed and preserved fruit, caramelized apples, toasted spices, a warming mélange of bakery aromas – are in place and in balance. There is acidity, but as my preferences run towards sweet wines with a lot more of it, it seems slightly insufficient to me. And it’s not particularly deft with food, either; it can wage (and may win) a battle of richness, but it does not envelop nor allow itself to be enveloped. Still, I don’t want to over-criticize; there is almost no situation in which I would turn a wine of this quality down. (9/10)

Cannery Row or Suduiraut?

Suduiraut 1998 Sauternes (Bordeaux) – Grossly insufficient. I bought this for a closeout steal, and it was overpriced even then. At full price? Spare me. Bad bottle? I certainly hope so. (12/10)


Lur-Saluces “Château d’Yquem” 1990 Sauternes (Bordeaux) – I find this wine strangely unaffecting. It’s not fully open, but even what’s ferreted forth is somewhat twisted and upset. There’s a pristine quality in the background, and the thick layers of other-than-wine (from both the vineyard and the cellar) don’t really detract in any fundamental way, but other than a toasty, baked apple and jellied apricot aroma that seems to dominate, there’s just not all that much here. Low-level taint? Damaged bottle? Damaged taster? Perhaps any, perhaps all. (8/07)

Coutet d’etat

Coutet 2002 Sauternes-Barsac (Bordeaux) – Cinnamon and nutmeg. Juicy and light. To be honest, drinking Sauternes and/or Barsac at this stage is somewhat of a waste, because they never show what’s ultimately compelling about them. (2/08)


Coutet 1997 Sauternes-Barsac (Bordeaux) – Big. Apricot, nutmeg, cinnamon, and other sweet-oriented spices. Still lithe and beautiful, but showing signs of maturing along a very pleasant path. (2/07)

Sauternes cross

[corks]Meslier “Raymond-Lafon” 1988 Sauternes (Bordeaux) – Muted and weird. Butter-spiced caramel and orange rind are present, but there’s just not a whole lot to this, and the general lack of a finish hints that damage rather than an adolescent sleep is the culprit. (1/08)

Rieussec day

Rieussec 2001 Sauternes (Bordeaux) – From 375 ml. Sweet. Very, very sweet. Plus: compelling oak spice, baking spices, butterscotch, candied orange, and a medium-long, dusty finish. I’m not a huge fan of young Sauternes, but this seems to have serious potential. (10/07)

TN: Sauternes, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodnight

[grapes]Meslier “Château Raymond-Lafon” 2002 Sauternes (Bordeaux) – I don’t generally like seeing Sauternes (and similar wines) in lineups of higher-acid sweet wines, as I think it’s to their detriment. So I go back to reds for a while, trying to chase the Mosel acidity out of my mouth, and I think it helps. This is silky, coating and then sheathing the palate with tangerine and papaya, then evaporating in a blissful memory of tropicality. The acidity is on the low side (though perhaps not within its peer group), but the wine feels balanced, if a bit fruity. The finish is pure pointillism, by which I mean…well, I’m not sure what. You’d know it if you’d tasted it. (6/07)

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