2011 Sauternes – News from the Chateaux

I am on holiday scuba diving at the moment but exciting news has reached me even under the seas about the 2011 Sauternes vintage.  Below are some interesting snippets from the official Grand Crus press release:

Yquem (Francis Mayeur) – “We started to pick on September 5th, which makes 2011 the fourth earliest year ever at Yquem, after 1893, 1960, and 1997.  The final trie ended on October 5th; only in 1934 and 2003 have we finished harvesting so early at Yquem.  The vat house was heady with complex, intense aromas that confirmed the excellent impression we had of this vintage during the harvest.  The quality of the fruit and the balance are superb, reminiscent of 1893 or 1997.  Without a doubt, this will be one of Château d’Yquem’s finest vintages.”

Climens (Bérénice Lurton) – “We have just stopped the fermentation so at this stage the wines are still a little thick and chewy from the mutage.  Nevertheless, they are showing wonderful potential.  I was expecting delicate wines this year but here we are with rich, powerful Sauternes that have depth and energy.  These will be great wines.”

Clos Haut-Peyraguey (Martine Langlais-Pauly) – “It all happened so fast, we really had to be on our toes this year.  Botrytis and concentration in the grapes spread at an amazing pace.  I tasted all the batches last week and was surprised by how clean and fresh they are.  They are brilliantly balanced and very powerful.  I never like talking about a vintage too early but I really think we have some lovely wines this year.”

Doisy Daene (Denis Dubourdieu) – “Just incredible! I am astonished at the levels of concentration we’ve achieved in 2011.  They are way beyond our expectations and at 25o potential alcohol, they have gone through the roof.  At the moment, it is still early to give a true assessment of the 2011 wines but they certainly show phenomenal richness, concentration, depth and freshness.  This opulence is unparalleled.  I think it is safe to say we are looking at a very great vintage indeed.”

Doisy-Védrines (Olivier Castéja) – “Personally, I have never seen juice with such even quality.  2011 is a very uncharacteristic, unusual year so comparisons are not easy.  At this stage, the wines are very much like the 2001s.  Having said that, I arrived at Doisy-Vedrines in 1973 and I can honestly say I have never seen a vintage quite like 2011.”

For the full press release click on this link:  2011 Harvest Press Release

Very promising indeed!  What a wonderful trio of vintages 2009, 2010 and 2011 (in Sauternes at least) might prove to be.  Bill Blatch

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Tags: Chateau Climens, Chateau Doisy Daëne, Chateau Doisy-Védrines, Clos Haut-Peyraguey, d'Yquem

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