Why is this Wine so Yummy?
Château Rieussec was acquired by Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) in 1984. The estate then consisted of 110 hectares, 68 hectares of which were vines. To enhance Château Rieussec’s potential, rigorous measures were implemented, including meticulous sorting of the grapes and fermenting in barrels, which provides a much finer selection for the blending of the Grand Vin.
A new cellar was built in 1989 to extend the ageing period in barrels. The quantities of the Grand Vin that were produced were much reduced in the 1990’s due to more meticulous selection, to the point that none at all was produced in 1993 (this was also the case in 1977 and again in 2012).
In 2000, the renovation of the maturing cellar, the construction of a fermentation room, and the modernisation of the reception and pressing areas also represented strides forward in a quality policy that was launched in 1985.
The first attempts at selection were rewarded by a remarkable trio of vintages in 1988, 1989 and 1990. This was crowned by an entire decade of very good wines from 1995 to 2005. The weather proved to be no obstacle for the remarkable vintages of 1996, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2005, among others!
Château Rieussec 2001 was declared Wine of the Year in 2004 by Wine Spectator magazine.
90 to 95% Sémillon, 5 to 10% Muscadelle and Sauvignon.
AGEING IN OAK BARRELS
18 to 26 months depending on the year, 50 to 55% in new barrels.
The 2015 Sauternes Vintage
We have seen a string of excellent Sauternes and Barsacs coming out of the 2015 vintage.
Dry and Sweet Whites – The dry whites have turned out better than I expected. The best 2015s have terrific freshness and energy coupled with the mid-palate richness that was born from the warm, dry summer. As good as the dry whites are, the sweet whites are even better. Grace, depth without excess weight and terrific freshness are the signatures of the best wines from Sauternes and Barsac. Antonio Galloni
Uncommonly rich and fresh, the wines of Sauternes and Barsac can be enjoyed either young or old.
Young vintages are best enjoyed on the cool side (9°C), while it is preferable to serve older ones at a higher temperature (12°C). Younger wines can benefit from early decanting, as much as 24 hours in advance, very old wines are worth decanting just prior to drinking them. They typically throw some harmless tartrate crystals that settle easily and are worth removing.
Sauternes match so many foods from the beginning to the very end of a meal! In Bordeaux they kick off the meal with Foie Gras and Sauternes, it’s beautiful alongside poultry and any meat you’d cook with fruit. Of course, it’s delicious with fruity desserts and cheese, think blue, Comté and beyond! We had the Carmes, Rieussec’s 2nd wine, with a blood orange granita and went to a happy place.
Doc shared the story of visiting Christian Moueix of Pétrus and having a stew made for the pickers during harvest that included 3L of Sauternes in the pot! There were a lot of pickers.
Sauternes can be incredibly long-lived. Bottles of Yquem from before the turn of the last century are still drinking well!