Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Holiday Wine: Sweet Bordeaux, Sauternes

The sweet wines of Bordeaux often are relegated to the dessert category, and why not?  They pair so well with dessert plates they could even serve as dessert all on their own.  However, they are not just for dessert.  They're for snacking, too.  The holidays are a great time to do some snacking.  That gym membership will still be good in January.

Non-dessert usage of Sweet Bordeaux wines was the thrust of a recent online virtual tasting in which I was invited to take part.  #GoGoldenBordeaux even supplied some tasty and savory treats to pair with the wines, just to reinforce the "opposites attract" method of wine pairing.  Snooth hosted the event, with Master of Wine Mary Gorman-McAdams also taking part.

Louis Bordenave is a "grape engineer" at the Institute of Vine and Wines Sciences, part of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research.  He says the Sémillon grape is best suited for the sweet, white wines of Bordeaux that are spread out over ten appellations within BDX.  Bordenave figures that Semillon is probably the only variety native to Bordeaux among both whites and reds.

Castelnau De Suduiraut Sauternes 2006

Sauternes is the best-known of those ten sub-appellations.  Castelnau is made from grapes which ripen earlier than those used in the Chateau de Suduiraut flagship wine.  The blend of Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes hits 14% abv and it looks as good as it tastes.

This is a beautiful wine that's sweet but certainly not cloying.  The color is bourbon gold and the nose offers dried apricots and honey.  The sweetness is more pronounced on the palate, but a zippy acidity balances the experience perfectly.  The wine has a long and satisfying finish.