Climens, Doisy Daene, Sigalas Rabaud and More 2013 Sauternes Released En Primeur

April 16th, 2014

What a wonderful price for 2013 Château Climens – Bravo Bérénice!

Great restraint too from Denis at Doisy Daene, Laure at Sigalas Rabaud and Michel at Bastor-Lamontagne – all now for sale either by the six pack (75cl bottles), the half bottle equivalent (12 x 37.5cl half bottles) or by individual bottles or half bottles as part of a mixed case that you can put together yourselves – why not have one of each?  Just click on the link below to find all the wines now:

2013 Sauternes En Primeur

To give you an idea of just how good a price the 2013 Château Climens is here are the relative cheapest prices for the most recent good vintages from WineSearcher:

2013 Château Climens – £225 per six bottle pack - click to buy from Bordeaux Gold now
2011 Château Climens – £375
2010 Château Climens – £337
2009 Château Climens – £424.50
2007 Château Climens – £387.50
2005 Château Climens – £275
2003 Château Climens – £295
2001 Château Climens – £1,000

Have a great Easter and think of 2013 Sauternes while you are eating your chocolate egg!  Bill Blatch

First 2013 Sauternes Prices Out

April 15th, 2014

The first 2013 Sauternes prices are out HERE and its good news!

Chateau prices are generally the same as last year and lower than 2011, 1010 and 2009.  Combined with a favourable exchange rate this makes 2013 Sauternes the best value quality Sauternes vintage in recent times.  And remember, Sauternes prices have not increased since 2000 in the same way that the red wines have – they represent by far and away the best value quality wines from Bordeaux.

The only real exception so far this year is Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey which, given that it is rumoured that the new owner Silvio Denz of Lalique crystal glass fame will be providing a celebratory bottle for this vintage, can be excused a modest increase.

Amongst the wines out so far is Château de Malle, one of the real surprises and a personal recommendation, as well as one of the stars of the vintage, Château Suduiraut.  All wines are available either in handy half cases or, uniquely at Bordeaux Gold, by the individual bottle or half bottle so that you can mix and match a case to suit your taste.  Just click on the link below to find all the wines along with my tasting notes for each wine.

2013 Sauternes En Primeur Prices

You can also now view my full 2013 Sauternes vintage report by clicking HERE - Enjoy! Bill Blatch

The 2013 Sauternes Tasting Videos

April 11th, 2014

The tasting videos for the 2013 Sauternes are finally published below – we hope you enjoy them as much as we’ve enjoyed tasting the wines!

To help you locate any particular wine you are interested in there are five videos in alphabetical order.  The first video covers the A-C chateaux and includes Domaine de l’Alliance, Ch d’Arche (starts at 1:15), Ch Bastor-Lamontagne (1:53), Ch Broustet (2:26), Ch Caillou (3:12), Clos Haut-Peyraguey (3:37) and Ch Coutet (4:47).

In the second video covering the D-G chateaux you will find Ch Doisy Daene, L’Extravagant de Doisy Daene (0:59), Ch Doisy-Vedrines (1:47), Ch de Fargues (2:22), Ch Filhot (3:05) and Ch Guiraud (4:03).

Next it’s the turn of Ch Haut-Bergeron, Ch Les Justices (0:59), Ch Lafaurie-Peyraguey (2:04), Ch Lamothe Despujols (3:40) and Lamothe Guignard (4:10) .

Ch Liot kicks off the next video followed by the wonderful Ch de Malle (1:23), Ch de Myrat (2:33), Ch Nairac (3:22), Ch Rabaud Promis (4:41) and Ch Raymond-Lafon (5:29).

Finally, but by no means least we have a string of 1st Growth wines starting with Ch de Rayne Vigneau and then Ch Rieussec (1:08), Ch Sigalas-Rabaud (2:10), Ch Suduiraut (2:49) and Ch La Tour Blanche (4:01).

2013 Sauternes Overview Including Yquem, Rieussec and Climens

April 8th, 2014

Rot is a good word in Sauternes – Noble Rot that is!  The same fungus that produced wretched Grey Rot across the red wine vineyards of Bordeaux produced fine, fresh botrytis on the grapes of Sauternes and Barsac.  The wines are in the fresh botrytis style of the 2011s, 2007s and 2001s rather than the riper 2010s, 2009s and 2003s but it is a very good year.

The overview video below sums up the growing season and the style of wines shortly to be offered as 2013 En Primeur Sauternes.  Below that are a few clips taken at Yquem, Rieussec, Climens and Raymond-Lafon that add a little more flavour.  Detailed tasting videos for most of the wines will follow when I’ve learned how to use the new file transfer software that Steve has downloaded onto my laptop!  Enjoy!  Bill Blatch

2013 Sauternes L’Union des Grands Crus Tasting

April 5th, 2014

What a wonderful week it has been for tasting 2013 Sauternes!

Many thanks to Nicholas and Eloise Heeter-Tari at Nairac, Silvio Denz and Eric Laramona at Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Pierre Lurton and all the team at Yquem, Charles Chevalier at Rieussec, Berenice Lurton at Climens, Pierre Montegut at Suduiraut, Vincent Labergére at de Rayne Vigneau, Xavier Planty at Guiraud, Laure de Lambert Compeyrot at Sigalas-Rabaud, Aline and Philippe Baly at Coutet and all the staff at La Lagune in the Medoc for organising tasting events and to all the other Sauternes growers for providing us with some wonderful samples.  As well as tasting the wines ourselves we’ve put them in front of journalists and wine merchants from all around the world and everywhere they have been tasted they have brought a smile to people’s faces.

Before I finally get down to capturing my thoughts on the wines on video here are some videos Steve took at La Lagune where the Sauternais were exhibiting their wines as part of the Union de Grands Crus tastings.  It’s a great chateau and a wonderful place to taste.  There is, however, a small touch of irony in the location as La Lagune was one of a few red chateaux that decided not to present a wine this year, presumably not least because of the effect of botrytis on their Merlot grapes – the same botrytis that has produced such wonderfully fresh Sauternes in 2013.

Its all smiles though in Sauternes – as these sample videos from happy growers show.  Enjoy!  Bill Blatch

2013 Sauternes First Impressions

March 29th, 2014

2013 Sauternes is beginning to look very promising indeed.  Before we do a comprehensive tasting we always visit a few chateaux to get a better idea of the vintage – an impression of its character.

Below are a couple of videos selected from our first day in Sauternes on Thursday that start to tell the story.  Over the next week or so we will be posting tasting videos for all the wines, all of which we will have tasted at least three times.  Enjoy!  Bill Blatch

2013 Sauternes – A Tale of Two Halves

October 19th, 2013

10 days on from my last look at the 2013 Sauternes harvest we are now getting close to the end.

Steve thinks it’s been a bit like England’s World Cup qualifying match against Poland earlier in the the week.  There was a fantastic first half with grapes full of vibrant acidity and high potential sugar levels (compare Townsend’s wing play) culminating in some great first and second picks (Rooney’s goal at the end of the half).  The second half has been a cagey affair with growers constantly watching the weather and picking when possible in between showers (Polish attacks).  There is still time on the clock for some final picks in good weather at the start of next week (Gerrard’s clincher).

We will now have to wait and see what the growers can make out of their picks in terms of a final wine.  It will certainly be a very good vintage but maybe not at the top level.  Just as England aren’t expected to win the World Cup in Rio (like they did in 1966), the 2013 Sauternes vintage may not challenge the 2001 – expect a good performance though.

The videos below explain all this in non-football related detail.  Sandwiched in between an introduction video and a summary (both shot on a beautiful day in the Barsac vineyards) there are interesting insights from Laure de Lambert Compeyrot at Sigalas-Rabaud and Xavier Planty at Guiraud.  Enjoy!  Bill Blatch

2013 Sauternes – A Ray of Sunshine

October 11th, 2013

2013 Sauternes could provide, just like my very first Sauternes vintage as a negociant in 1983 did, a ray of sunshine in a stormy, grey and gloomy world.  The basics of Bordeaux haven’t changed that much in 30 years – just as September makes or breaks the quality for the red and dry white wines it is in October that is critical for the concentration and character of Sauternes.

And there are similarities beyond the weather.  In 1983 Sauternes had experienced a decade and a half of disinterest from both trade and consumers.  All of a sudden, however, it became the fashion to drink a glass of 1st Growth Sauternes in Parisian restaurants and this trend spread rapidly around the world.  I see a similar situation today with Sauternes better priced than any other Bordeaux wines after a similar lull in interest and the ‘Twittersphere’ is alive with people suddenly discovering the wonders of top class Sauternes.

This time, however, I don’t think it will be just Paris, New York and London that lead the way. Speaking about Ch Raymond Lafon, one of our favourite wines, a Cheshire restaurateur tweeted yesterday:

”This stuff is fantastic. Love offering good Sauternes by the glass- people are gob-smacked at the difference.”

So back to 2013 – how good are the wines looking this time round?  Everyone got a good first pick in as from the very end of September, with full botrytis quickly induced by the showers of 12th-18th Sept followed by the unusual 30° sunshine of 22nd-27th. Some, including Ch d’Yquem, went right into a good second pick at the start of October before the long-expected rain came last Thursday night. Botrytis had affected most of the vineyard and had quickly concentrated.

Everyone was up-to-date by Thursday evening then stopped totally over the wet weekend, and many until this afternoon. A combination of dying wind circulation and suddenly very cold 10° nights has slowed the progress from “pourri plein” to “rôti” stage so this week has seen less activity than expected. But the botrytis is all there. It just needs to concentrate up.

I went down this week to see how everything was going and found some very happy Sauternais. This video at Ch Lamothe-Guignard nicely sums up what I found:

Chester diners will be happy for a few more years to come as Jean-Pierre Meslier at Ch Raymond Lafon was particularly effusive about his first picking, representing about 1/3 of the potential crop:

“The harvest here looks fantastic at this time with fully botrytised bunches of grapes and hot muggy weather. If the weather remains unchanged for two weeks it will certainly be a great vintage in Sauternes.”

I tasted the juice from under the press which seemed pure, lively and wonderful.   Here is a nice video of Jean-Pierre in the vineyards showing me the difference between the Semillon and Sauvignon harvests:

I also had lunch with the Ch Guiraud pickers, always very cheerful when they can work under fair skies, and Xavier Planty was pleased as punch and in a jolly enough mood to sing to me on my birthday (see video below), with already twice as much – and totally better – must in barrel than the total of last year, with nice 21° potential and 01-type acidities.

But let’s not talk like that yet: we still have 2/3 to go. It will be a very good vintage, could be great: So watch this space.  Bill Blatch

2011 Yquem – An Insane Precociousness!

September 25th, 2013

We just happened upon the information sheets below for Chateau d’Yquem 2011 which, you will remember was never released in 2012.

Could it finally be that this remarkable wine is about to become available?  Contact Steve at if you are interested in finding out more as and when things happen as we may be able to offer a very small allocation.

2011 Yquem

2011 Yquem – Technical Information

As a reminder here are some of our previous posts about 2011 Yquem:

2011 Yquem Tasting

What Price 2011 Chateau d’Yquem?

What Price 2011 Chateau d’Yquem? STOP PRESS

Enjoy!  Bill Blatch

Is Sauternes the place to be in 2013?

August 31st, 2013

I’ve been travelling around Bordeaux a bit recently and the vines are looking better in Sauternes than elsewhere.

The first two photos below show a typical Sauvignon bunch at Château Guiraud in Sauternes and a typical Sémillon bunch at Château de Myrat in Barsac.  Contrast these healthy grapes with the final photo of some typical Merlot in the Médoc!

sauvignon guiraud web 300x224 Is Sauternes the place to be in 2013?

Sauvignon at Guiraud


semilllon Myrat web 300x224 Is Sauternes the place to be in 2013?

Sémillon at de Myrat


Medoc Merlot web 300x224 Is Sauternes the place to be in 2013?

Merlot in the Médoc

The Sauternes grapes have just finished véraison so we are still very late, but the regularly hot July and August have caught the 5 week lateness up to about 3.  The foliage looks great, there is an abundance of bunches and grapes (unlike in the reds where coulure was heavy), absolutely no damaged grapes from disease or hail of which there has been none in Sauternes (unlike the poor growers in Entre-Deux-Mares and Castillon where 37,000 hectares were hit at the start of August), almost no mildew browning of leaves – all looks absolutely perfect!

The only problem is the lateness (occasioned by the cold and rainy spring), which means we will have to get to concentration then botrytisation between now and late October, always dodgy but absolutely possible.  If the current 15° at night, 25-28° daytime temperatures keep up, and if we get a little shower or two to get things going over the next few weeks, I (and others I have talked to) would say Sauternes will benefit more than all the other Bordeaux regions, where things are in much worse state.

Fingers crossed!  Bill Blatch