2017 Sauternes Vintage Update

November 29th, 2017

The terrible frosts of last April did not spare Sauternes and especially Barsac. At 40-50cm, the foliage was too far out and much of it froze right down to the stems, leaving little possibility for a counter-bud. Barsac and the lower areas of Sauternes were the worst hit: Xavier lost 85% at Myrat; Climens made just 35 barrels, none of which will be Cyprès let alone Grand Vin; Arche made just 300 hectolitres from their 50 hectares; La Tour Blanche have a meagre 50 barrels (6 ho/ha); Coutet’s 8 ho/ha came only from the patch at the heart of the vineyard, the rest totally wiped out. Yet, as always with frosts, some fared better: Rayne Vigneau and Sigalas Rabaud have almost normal yields.

Tasting with Laurier Giradot at Coutet

Then May and June turned incredibly hot and dry, bringing on a perfect early flowering for the few remaining bunches, followed by a good summer (August hotter than July). By mid-August the grapes that had survived April were golden and getting very ripe very early. Then the weather started to change on 27th, bringing half of August’s 30mm rainfall in the last few days, followed by a succession of windless, cloudy, drizzly days over the first half of September which naturally were good for the onset of the much awaited rot. However it wasn’t just noble rot: there was a lot of “pourriture aigre” mixed in with it which, as in 1997, had to be removed quickly, especially when the temperatures went right up at the end of the month. But the good stuff was great as a basis and accounted for a small first pick over these final days of September.

October went on to be amazingly dry and warm, interspersed with vital periods of very cool nights which were to “seal” the next generations of noble rot into ever-increasing concentration. In fact, most of the worries now were about how to actually reduce the sugars, as there were no longer any golden grapes left with which to temper them. So the final lots ended up incredibly rich.

Very generally, the cuvées will be composed of 1/4 – 1/3 very fresh-styled September pick and 3/4 – 2/3 of the much more concentrated October picks. In this sense the wines are similar to that other “beginning and end vintage” 1998, but in a racey and more fruit-driven way, with more of the balance of a 2010 and more of the density of a 2003. There’s not going to be much of it, but what there is will be excellent, especially for those who don’t like their Sauternes very sweet and not too heavy.

Finally, spare a thought for those who had too few grapes left, either from the April frosts or the September aigre to take advantage of these fabulous October conditions: Climens from the frost and Daniel Alibrand at Domaine de l’Alliance deciding in September not to risk more aigre and harvesting his whole vineyard as excellent dry wine at 40 ho/ha rather than attempting to make just a few ho/ha of Sauternes.

Tasting with Frédéric Nivelle in a nearly empty cellar at Climens

More later when the wines have all finished fermenting and settled down.


Frost Slams Sauternes

April 27th, 2017

Every Sauternes grower dreads a late frost and last night the wind dropped at midnight and temperatures fell to -2 to -3 degrees by morning.

It is too early to assess the damage to the final crop properly but the ODG is reporting that some lower lying vineyards in Preignac and Bommes are 100% affected, Fargues around 70% affected and the upper slopes of Sauternes and Bommes less affected at 20-30%. Barsac seem less worried but the ODG is estimating the total damage to Sauternes-Barsac at 50%.

We will report on how some vineyards have been affected as soon as we know more.

Sad news!

2016 Sauternes Snapshot Videos

April 4th, 2017

The 2016 Sauternes vintage is the third in a trio of excellent vintages. Please take time to watch the short videos below that explain why 2016 Sauternes are so fine and pure and to learn how your favourite chateau performed, with great audio that you can hear if you get good speakers, and you can get the best one from this z623 review.

Vintage summary and unclassified Sauternes: Please excuse the noise of our lakeside waterfall in the background – just turn the volume up and use it as a relaxation video at the same time!

Second Growths: From Filhot in Sauternes in the South to Broustet in Barsac in the North the Second Growths produced excellent wines across the length and breadth of the region – Bravo!

First Growths: 2016 Sauternes are fresh in style but also have great concentration – the First Growths are varied in style but all are showing signs of greatness.

Enjoy!  Bill Blatch

2016 Sauternes Trois Fois

April 2nd, 2017

Not content with tasting the the 2016 Sauternes on Friday we tasted them again on Saturday at our luxurious lakeside lodge. We were joined by journalists and wine buyers from around the world – thanks to Chip Delsener for the photo below, Steve’s father Derek for some superb Bar-B-Q sausages, Nico McGough for bringing some excellent blood sausages to add to the selection and to the Sauternais for providing some excellent older wines to drink with them. If you haven’t tried Sauternes with sausages then you haven’t lived!

And we tasted again all day Sunday with more journalists and wine buyers from around the world at the Vintex tasting at Le Lac de Bordeaux  – thank you Philippe and the Vintex team.

As a result we now have a good idea of what the vintage is like and it is goods news at all levels and for all pockets. We will shoot some vintage summary videos covering all the wines and put them up here as soon as we can. Don’t miss them! Bill Blatch

2016 Sauternes – First Day

April 1st, 2017

Our first day of the En Primeur tasting season started with most of the top 2016 Sauternes at Chateau Guiraud – thank you to our old friend Xavier Planty, Clemence and Mathilde for organising the wines.

The exceptions were d’Yquem and Climens which we then tasted at the chateau, Climens from the barrels as they, as usual, have not yet blended the wine. We ended the day at Chateau Filhot – thank you to Gabriel and Amicie for your hospitality.













During the day we were treated to two superb vertical tastings at Guiraud and Filhot – it is important after all to put the current vintage into context!  Tasting videos for the 2016s will follow soon – watch out for them during the week ahead!  Bill Blatch

Guiraud 2016 Early Release

March 27th, 2017

In an unusual move Ch Guiraud has released its 2016 vintage before En Primeur tastings start next week. The price ex-Negociant remains the same as far back as in 2010 making it excellent value as long as the wine is as good we think it will be.

Here is a link to Bill Blatch’s general 2016 vintage report for those of you interested in how things are shaping up. For Sauternes we have high hopes!

Having been quiet for the 2015 vintage, when we were busy with other work, Bordeaux Gold will be reporting on Sauternes for you throughout the 2016 En Primeur season and beyond. We won’t, however, be selling direct as before – we just do not have the time to be online wine merchants alongside our other commitments. If you have any Sauternes enquiries or requests for information just email Steve at steve@bordeauxgold.com and we will do our best to help.

We anticipate some Sauternes chateaux will follow Guiraud’s lead and release early this year, perhaps even during the En Primeur tastings next week. Keep you eyes open for our tasting notes and videos over the next few weeks and offers from reputable wine merchants such as The Wine Society.

Bill Blatch and Steve Webb

Vote for Climens 2014!

May 7th, 2015

Chateau Climens Entrance WebChâteau Climens 2014 has released and you can elect to buy some now!

If your voting preference is for handy half cases then venture into our online purchasing booth for either BOTTLES or HALVES by clicking onto one of the links.

On the other hand if you are undecided and prefer a coalition of Sauternes and Barsac wines then the online ballot paper includes INDIVIDUAL BOTTLES or INDIVIDUAL HALVES which could be part of a mixed case.

As Climens is now biodynamic alongside Château Guiraud (also released this week) you can be sure that your selection will be Green!

A list of all participating Sauternes and Barsac wines can be found HERE. Enjoy! Bill Blatch

The ‘New Parker’ Has Spoken on 2014 Bordeaux & Sauternes

May 2nd, 2015

Two highly respected critics have released their reports and notes on the 2014 Sauternes – Neal Martin of The Wine Advocate and Chris Kissack, The Wine Doctor.

Neal has taken over En Primeur red wine duties from Robert Parker to add to his normal reviews of Sauternes. His view is that both should be considered in 2014 if the prices are keen but, like us, he rates Sauternes higher with Château d’Yquem as his top wine of the vintage and 9 wines rated as potentially ‘extraordinary’ (96 points or over). Only 12 red wines out of nearly 600 tasted made this grade (compared to 38 Sauternes assessed).

And Sauternes prices are very reasonable indeed. Chris Kissack says in his report: “While Bordeaux has rightly been criticised for the combination of questionable quality and ever-higher prices during the last three or four vintages, inducing thousands to turn their back on the region and get their vinous kicks elsewhere, Sauternes has quietly been continuing to turn out excellent wines, usually sold for a relative pittance. While Bordeaux continues to grow its reputation as over-hyped and over-priced (and I think the 2014 vintage will do nothing to change this), nestled inside this region is in fact one of the wine world’s great bargains.”

We also have five new releases to report this week at keen prices: Liot, Haut Bergeron, de Myrat, de Rayne Vigneau and Clos Haut-Peyraguey. Some wines already released like Coutet (only now available as half bottles for mixed cases) and Doisy Daene are nearly out of stock so act fast to secure your order.

All the wines in all sizes can be found at our 2014 En Primeur Online Shop – just click on any wine label to see tasting notes from myself, Neal, Chris and many others including Ian d’Agata for Decanter and Jancis Robinson.  Enjoy!  Bill Blatch

Three More 2014 Sauternes to Consider

April 17th, 2015

Lamothe Guignard, de Malle and Sigalas Rabaud have released before the weekend – something for everyone to consider as part of a Bordeaux Gold mixed case over the weekend.

To order a mixed case of your choice in bottles or handy half bottles first take a look at my 2014 Sauternes notes for all the wines.  Then go to the 2014 En Primeur page in the Online Shop and just add the wines you want to the shopping cart. Simple!

If you need more tasting notes from top wine critics just click on any label in the Online Shop and you will find more information. Bill Blatch

2014 Lafaurie-Peyraguey v 1988, 1961, 1928 and 1920

April 16th, 2015

lafauriebottleatlalaguneThe 2014 Lafaurie-Peyraguey has been released and will be bottled in the beautiful Lalique engraved bottled held proudly by winemaker Eric Larramona in this picture.

New owner Silvio Denz has started the process of bringing the property back to its former glory and the 2014 is a big step forward.  To find out just what the scale of the task is we went through a number of older vintages in a fantastic vertical tasting comprising of four pairs of wines.  First up were the 1988 and 1986, followed by the 1964 and 1961. As if that wasn’t enough we then tried four wines from the 1920’s – first the 1927 and 1928 followed by the 1926 and 1920.

What was immediately evident is that the wines of Lafaurie-Peyraguey age beautifully. All of these vintages are good ones with many in the ‘fresh and fruity’ category such as the fantastic 1988 and the sensational 1920.  There is every chance that Silvio and Eric’s efforts with the 2014 will last just as long and give just as much pleasure.


For more information about all of the 2014 wines released so far with all my tasting notes visit our Online Shop. Enjoy! Bill Blatch


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