There are plenty of more famous wine vintages out there, and maybe you have tried a few of them. Have you ever wondered what the uniquely flavored wine called Sauternes taste like? Maybe you have wondered where it came from and how it was made? It is an interesting vintage and one worth learning about.
A French Sweet Wine
Sauternes is a French sweet wine from the Sauternais region located in the Graves area of Bordeaux, France. The wine is made from several different types of grapes, including Sauvignon blanc, Muscadelle, and Sémillon grapes.
What makes the wine so unique is that the vineyards take the grapes that have been affected by what is known as noble rot, or Botrytis cinerea. This rot causes the grapes to become partially raisined and gives it a concentrated and very distinct flavor.
Noble rot is due to the maritime climate of the area which the grapes are grown in. It is a very mild and moist climate with plenty of rains during the summer and cold with frost affecting the grapes during the winter.
In the fall, there is a mist that forms from the river that falls onto the surrounding grapes, leaving them damp for much of the morning. The sun will dry them later in the day, preventing the rot from damaging the grapes beyond use. This climate makes noble rot a rather frequent occurrence. It is one of the few regions in wine country that this does occur, making this wine very rare and therefore a more expensive blend.
Another reason this wine is more expensive than your traditional vintages is the production problems associated with it. Every year each harvest is a hit-or-miss gamble, with some grapes being viable to create the vintage while others are sent for other types of wine. It does cost wineries more to produce the wine, so the cost of the wine goes up to compensate.
Long Shelf Life
While the majority of wines tend to have rather long shelf-lives, Sauternes have some of the longest among the vintages. If the wine is properly kept and stored in a dark, cool place, some better vintage wines have been known to exceed traditional lifespans and exceed hundreds of years.
It is believed by experts that the older the Sauternes wine is, the better the flavor and quality of that bottle. The wine has a light brown color to begin with, but the flavor really develops once it has reached a dark copper color.