Sauternes - 2007
Reviewed - 29 May 2011
I approached this tasting with great anticipation. 2007 is another great Sauternes vintage since 2000. When I found an excellent cross-section of wines in Dan Murphy, I thought this would make a great tasting for the Wine and Food Society of Western Australia.
My good friend John Jens points out that perspective is all important in life. To add perspective and make the tasting more interesting, I included a few cheaper wines and a bottle of Chateau d'Yquem. The results were surprising to say the least.
The cheaper wines showed really well with the De Bortoli a highlight for some, with strong support also for the Chateau du Pavillon and the Monbazillac. Surprisingly, the d'Yquem received little support, especially given the price.
For me though, the picks were the Guiruad, Doise Daene and Rabaud-Promis, while the Lamothe Guignard was the best value. All the wines tasted like Sauternes, although there was a fascinating difference in how this was expressed.
A word on the value of Sauternes. These wines are surely, the greatest wine bargains on the planet. Grand Cru Burgundy sells for $100's of dollars a bottle and 1st Growth Bordeaux is selling for upwards of $1000 per bottle. These are, without question, some of the greatest sweet wines in the world. That they are currently available for between $30 and $70 per bottle (375ml) makes them irresistible.
Chateau Guiruad - Sauternes - 1er Grand Cru - 2007 (18.5+). Lovely nose that, whilst tight and closed, suggests real potential. Lovely mouth-feel, with some caramel notes over the sweet fruit characters. Beautifully balanced wine that has great length. The power of this wine became evident as it sat in the glass.
Chateau Doisy Daene - Barsac - Cru Classe - 2007 (18.5). Closed and concentrated. Wow, marmalade, apricot nectar, pineapple and orange marmalade. Viscous but the sweetness is perfectly balanced by the excellent acidity. Lovely mouth-feel and balance. Great length with a lovely minerality to close. With air the delicate floral fruit really expressed and the power and balance became apparent. Seamless.
Chateau Rabaud - Promis - Sauternes - 1er Grand Cru - 2007 (18.5). Lovely perfume here, with musk and honey over fresher fruit notes. Wow, the palate is sublime. There is lovely fruit that is pretty and delicate. Perhaps not as much botrytis here, giving the wine great elegance. Builds orange marmalade in the mouth. The finish is intense, powerful and long, yet retains elegance and finesse. Will evolve over several years.
Chateau Coutet - Barsac - 1er Cru - 2007 (18++). Initially, a straightforward nose of apricot. Apricot and orange marmalade on the palate to what was, again, a fairly straightforward palate. Good length, and enough acidity to prevent the finish from being cloying. This really evolved in the glass, developing great concentration and length of flavours. Really needs 10 - 20 years to show its best.
Chateau Lamothe Guignard - Sauternes - 2e Grand Cru - 2007 (18). Quite complex, with fennel, pear skin, minerals and citrus over the botrytis fruit. Viscous palate that has a good flavour profile. The finish is just a touch fatter yet the acidity balances the sweetness nicely. A very good wine that is only a little behind the best here. Opens and evolves to display lovely orange zest and fresh acidity to keep the finish clean. (Great value here - $31).
Chateau Lafaurie - Peyraguey - Sauternes - 1er Grand Cru - 2007 (17.5). Slightly darker colour. Again, reserved. The palate is more linear, with orange peel over almond and apricot jam. Not particularly sweet, but with good acidity.
Deen De Bortoli - Botrytis - Semillon - Vat 5 - 2007. (17+). Luscious and rich. Apricot flavours and aromas, with some apricot kernel and almond meal to follow. Not particularly concentrated, but good length and enough acidity to keep the finish fresh. This actually developed nicely in the glass. An absolute bargain at $11.
Pavillon De La Brie - Monbazillac - 2008 (16.9). Subtle aromas. The palate is sweet and fresh with pineapple, apricot and orange peel that is candied. Good length and balance. Again, not that complex, but quite a convincing effort and a bargain to boot. ($10 from Dan Murphy).
Chateau du Pavillon - Sainte Croix du Mont - 2004 (16.7). Clean and fresh. Stonefruit aromas with some complexity in the form of minerals and nuts. Good attack in the mouth, with good balance. Still very youthful.
Chateau d'Yquem - Sauternes 1998 (N.R.). Marmalade and toffee. Tremendous concentration and power. There are all the hallmarks of great sauternes. Apricot, orange marmalade and almond meal dominate the palate. The length is a stand-out and the acidity balances the intense fruit perfectly. The complexity really shone the next day, but the almond notes overwhelm the stonefruit. Not particularly sweet, but an interesting wine.
Chateau de Malle - Sauternes - Grand Cru - 2007 (NR). Unfortunately not quite right. Blame the cork.