Monday, November 6, 2017

Holiday Wine: Sweet Wine From Bordeaux

Sauternes is a city in France's Bordeaux region. It is also an appellation exclusive to sweet, golden dessert wines made largely from Sémillon grapes. Sweet white wine is not everyone's cup, but anyone who likes a good dessert and a good glass of wine should not object to having them in the same serving. However, sweet Bordeaux wines are for more than dessert. Start a meal with them, an aperitif, or pair them with your main courses. Try to pair sweet wines with something salty or savory for a great balance.

Thanksgiving is a great time to start a love affair with Sauternes. Have it with the pumpkin pie, sure, but try it with the turkey, too. You’ll be surprised at the pairing.

Sweet Bordeaux US and Snooth recently held a virtual tasting of a nice selection of Sauternes wines, and I was lucky enough to be included.  Hosted by Snooth's co-founder and chief taster Mark Angelillo and wine educator Fred Swan, the event drew raves from those who participated in it. Swan, especially, won kudos all around for his vast knowledge and expertise. Eight sweet Bordeaux wines were sampled, and we'll be visiting them all this month.

Chateau Filhot Sauternes 2009

Chateau Filhot is a second growth vineyard in the Sauternes region, planted to mostly Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes, with a smudge of Muscadelle. Its history dates back to the 1600s and finds it intertwined with Chateau d'Yquem, with which it was compared by Thomas Jefferson when he was ambassador to France. A Yquem family member reportedly owned the place, for awhile. The bottle retails for $40.

This wine has a lovely, golden hue, like a room bathed in the glow from a fireplace. On the nose, candied apricots and a hint of lemon peel lead the way. Honey traces portend sweetness. The palate has a special delivery for a sweet tooth. Apples, peaches and pears mingle in a viscous, mouth coating orgy of fruit. One of the online tasters commented on how strongly the Sauvignon Blanc comes through. There is a good level of acidity, too, in case you're not having it just for dessert. A brie would go nicely, or a triple cream cheese. You could even pair this with a seafood dish.

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