Archive for November, 2011

2011 Sauternes – News from the Chateaux

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

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

2011 Sauternes First Impressions

Friday, November 18th, 2011

It is early days yet but we might just have a very special 2011 Sauternes vintage on our hands.  I hope you enjoy the videos below.

In my first foray into the cellars since fermentation stopped I visited Xavier Planty at Chateau Guiraud and Laure de Lambert Compeyrot at Chateau Sigalas-Rabaud.  At Guiraud Xavier was very happy despite nearly 60% of his harvest being lost in the Easter Monday hail storm that hit the south west plateau of Sauternes.  His Sauvignon lots, in particular were stunningly fresh and, as this makes up a large percentage of the blend here, we can confidently expect a great Guiraud.

At Sigalas-Rabaud we again tasted all the lots and also had some fun anticipating what the final blend might be.  Here the jury is out on the Sauvignon – yet again it is stunningly fresh but will it blend well?  At the moment Laure is inclined to think not but as the wines are still on their lees there is plenty of time for many changes of opinion after racking and before bottling.

Christmas Sauternes Bin Ends

Friday, November 11th, 2011

What is Christmas without Sauternes?  Unthinkable in my house where there is always a bottle open in the fridge door to go with a mince pie – it beats Baileys hands down as a Christmas tipple!

Steve has routed around the cellar and found a few tempting bin ends at brilliant prices – perfect festive drinking!  Make sure you read right down to the bottom of this post as there is an extra special offer at the end!

2006 Carmes de Rieussec 

Our FREE UK delivery offer means this wine is at roughly 1/2 the price than offered elsewhere but hurry as there are only 15 bottles at £15.52 Ex VAT and 21 half bottles at £10.57 Ex VAT left (just click on the links to go to our shop and buy).

2007 de Rayne Vigneau

First Growth Sauternes from a top vintage for just over £25 a bottle including FREE UK delivery – we must be crazy!  Again speed is of the essence as there are only 5 bottles at £21.50 Ex VAT and 18 half bottles at £14.07 Ex VAT left (just click on the links).

2004 CoutetChateau Coutet, Barsac

For only a couple of £s more how about some First Growth Barsac with a little more age?  Only 3 bottles at £22.61 Ex VAT left so you will have to be lightning fast (just click on the link).

2006 de FarguesChateau de Fargues, Sauternes Wine Label

This is a real bargain – reputable merchants are selling this top quality Sauternes at around the £60-£80 mark but we are offering just 5 bottles at £38.17 Ex VAT and 28 half bottles at £21.21 Ex VAT   Remember this includes FREE UK delivery for just a single half bottle which those other high prices don’t unless you order over a certain amount.

2006 La Tour Blanche

This works out about 25% cheaper than anywhere else and there is the FREE UK delivery to factor in as well – hurry though as there are only 7 bottles at £24.83 Ex VAT left!

And finally, just in case you can’t make your mind up which to buy here is an extra special offer!  Steve has set aside some mixed cases containing all of the above wines – halves or bottles.  At a staggering further 20% off we have just 5 cases of mixed bottles at £196.21 Ex VAT and 5 cases of mixed half bottles at £146.71 – unbelievable value!


We wish you a merry Christmas!  Bill Blatch and Steve Webb