Sauternes and Barsac

Sauternes is one of the famous white wines of the Bordeaux region, and is acclaimed as a great dessert wine.   Always make sure that you are buying Sauternes and not Sauterne.  Sauterne is used by other country winemakers to designate their dessert wine, but it is not Sauternes.   Sauternes and Barsac are adjacent and each has its own Appelation, though some Barsac wines list themselves as Sauternes.   You may also see a designation Haut-Sauternes; this is not a legal designation or reference to a geographic area, usually just a marketing method to mean a sweeter wine from the regular wine.

 

 

Sauternes wines are produced differently from other Bordeaux wines.  There is a mold, referred to as the “noble rot” which creates shriveled grapes with a higher concentration of sugar per grape (and this does not occur every year).   When this occurs the production of wine diminishes, but the finished product is legendary.  Even if you don’t like sweet wines, a Sauternes/Barsac wine should be tried at least once in your tasting life.

 

 

Sauternes for years was traditionally served with fish dinners in France and Great Britain, for the most part this pairing has ceased, and it is now customary to serve with dessert.   It is a wine with a long heritage and had its own Classification of 1855 for Sauternes and Barsac.

 

 

Grand Premier Cru (First Great Growth)

 

Chateau d’Yquem

    

 

Premiers Crus (First Growths)

 

Chateau La Tour-Blanche

 

Chateau Haut-Peyraguey

 

Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey

 

Chateau de Rayne-Vigneau

 

Chateau de Suduiraut

 

Chateau Coutet

Chateau Climens

 

Chateau Guiraud

    

Chateau Rieussec

 

Chateau Rabaud-Promis

 

Chateau Sigalas-Rabaud

 

 

Deuxiemes Crus (Second Growths)

 

Chateau Myrat

 

Chateau Doisy-Daene

 

Chateau Doisy-Vedrines

 

Chateau D’Arche

 

Chateau Filhot

 

Chateau Broustet

 

Chateau Nairac

 

Chateau Caillou

 

Chateau Suau

 

Chateau de Malle

Chateau Romer

 

Chateau Lamothe

 

 

You may also find some Petite Chateaus that were not listed in the classification, but deserving of a taste.

    

About thewineraconteur

A non-technical wine writer, who enjoys the moment with the wine, as much as the wine. Twitter.com/WineRaconteur Instagram/thewineraconteur Facebook/ The Wine Raconteur
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9 Responses to Sauternes and Barsac

  1. I’ve always wanted to try a sauternes. Thanks for reminding me of that!

    • Oliver,

      I think that you will find them to your liking. They are different from the TBA’s and Icewines.

      • Different, but definitely in the same wheelhouse. Also read your write-up on foie gras and Alsatian Gewurztraminer, great article. Would have to say that one of my favorite things on the planet…In fact I would say it goes my children, my wife, then foie gras w/some sort of fruit component paired with Sauternes.

      • I am not sure about the pecking order for me on Foie Gras, but there has never been a restaurant that has offered it, that I have passed on it. I did read your entry about pairing it with Sauternes, and on this occasion where we just had a plate of it, it would have been a good choice, but I really do enjoy a Gewurztraminer. That is why wine is like a horse race, everyone has a chance to win.
        -John

      • I am not sure about the pecking order for me on Foie Gras, but there has never been a restaurant that has offered it, that I have passed on it. I did read your entry about pairing it with Sauternes, and on this occasion where we just had a plate of it, it would have been a good choice, but I really do enjoy a Gewurztraminer. That is why wine is like a horse race, everyone has a chance to win.
        -John

      • Not refuting gewurtraminer being a great pairing for foie gras infact it sounds fantastic. My favorite foie gras experience was seared foie with a peach compote paired with a 1958 coteaux du layon, Magical!

      • Well that is a combination that I would want to try anytime.
        -John

    • jimvanbergen says:

      You must try a Sauternes, but you must also pair a Sauternes with fois gras for maximum effects.

      • Oliver, I must say that there have been a few comments about this pairing. I must find a restaurant out your way that would have both parts of the equation and have our better halves join us as well.
        -John

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