Sauternes – the Best Bordeaux Wine

Is Sauternes the best wine in Bordeaux?

It will come as no surprise to anyone that knows me that I think so – I have been championing the wines of Sauternes and Barsac within the wine trade ever since I discovered them in 1983.  Some will also happily agree that Chateau d’Yquem is one of the best wines in the world, let alone just in Bordeaux.

What will come as a surprise is that I think I can prove it – and I am not just talking about Chateau d’Yquem!  It may surprise you that you may have helped me, especially if you have ever used a piece of online software called Cellartarcker.

Eric le Vine has created this wonderful piece of cellar management software which is now used online by thousands of wine lovers.  They use it to track the wines in their cellars, value them and, most importantly for the purposes of this article, to write tasting notes for them.  There are nearly one and a half million tasting notes covering wines from over 550 regions around the world.

The really interesting bit is that users are encouraged to give scores for every wine they taste.  The site effectively assesses exactly what people think about just about every fine wine and the wines from every wine region in the world!  The consumer has become the critic!

So what do Cellartracker’s wine enthusiasts think of Sauternes?  Well – they love it of course!  They prefer it to Pauillac, St Julien, Pessac-Leognan, Pomerol, St Emilion Grand Cru, Margaux and St Estephe.  Here are the figures as of mid May 2011 (thanks to Steve for the Maths):

Sauternes – 8,014 notes with an average score of 91.5 points
Barsac – 987 notes, 91.5 points
Pauillac – 16,874 notes, 91.0 points
St Julien – 12,473 notes, 90.5 points
Pessac-Leognan – 9,087 notes, 90.4 points
Pomerol – 6,624 notes, 90.1 points
St Emilion Grand Cru – 15,054 notes, 90.1 points
Margaux – 9,748 notes, 89.9 points
St Estephe – 7,468 notes, 89.8 points

In fact Sauternes and Barsac outscore almost every wine region in the world with the exception of the Burgundy Grand Crus, Hermitage, Quarts de Chaume, the Barossa Range and a few small Italian regions.  All of these regions have a much greater concentration of top wines and much fewer lesser wines within them.

This is no surprise to me!  For nearly 30 years I have hosted Sauternes and red Bordeaux tastings around the world.  Almost without fail a sip of Sauternes or Barsac produces a much bigger smile on people’s faces.

Some of us may not like to admit in public that we like sweet wine but the Cellartracker figures prove that when we are asked to quantify our experiences we place Sauternes and Barsac at the top of the pile!  Bill Blatch

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