It seems somehow fitting that the last day I will be visiting wineries is spent tasting some of the most famous dessert wines in the world. Graves is in the southern part of Bordeaux on the left bank but a long way from Medoc. It is a special area in the sense unlike other parts of Bordeaux all three of the famous wines are produced here; namely red, white and dessert wines. Red wine is the largest proportion of production, and in fact this was the origin of claret wine. In the original classification of 1855 one red wine was given first growth classification,which was Chateau Haut-Brion. Graves is also famous for the sweet wines, most importantly wines from Sauternes and Barsac which were also classified back in 1855. As you would remember I visited Chateau d’Yquem which is the most famous Sauternes house that has been given special First Growth Superieur status, but there are a number of other first growth estates. The varieties used for these wines are semillon and sauvignon blanc with a little muscadet. The fruit is harvested so late that the berries are botrytised and the sugar concentrated, and it is not uncommon for several passes to be made through the vineyard during the harvest to ensure only the best botrytised fruit is selected. The fermentation is stopped whilst there is still a high level of residual sugar in the wine, which is where the sweetness comes from. I visited two Sauternes estates in the morning and finished the day with an estate in Saint-Emilion.
|The many aromas of sauternes captured by Chateau Suduiraut
Le G de Chateau Guiraud 2011
Very classic sauvignon blanc aromas of kiwi, white peach, guava, citrus and passionfruit. Very slightly grassy and mineralic. Crisp bright and fresh, albeit a little on the oaky side. Textured and a little warm, nice and round with persistent acids and fruit. Quite classy with the potential of ageing 5-10 years.
Petit Guiraud 2006
Nice oily petroleum kind of nose, very mineralic and slightly flinty. Extremely fresh and bright, only a little viscosity and texture, some sweetness but well integrated with the oak. Persistence and character, very young at the moment, wonderfully subtle and elegant, closer to a sweet German than a sauternes. Wonderful texture and purity, so simple yet so elegant. My style of sauternes, showing the difference with the sauvignon blanc.
Chateau Guiraud 2008
Quite tight aromatically, extremely fresh and lean, showing some green notes from the sauvignon blanc, bright fresh fruits, small apricots and white peach. More intense creaminess from smaller yields, definitely some influence from barrel but still showing so much elegance and freshness, bright concentrated fruits, well balanced alcohol and sweetness, will develop exceptionally well.
Chateau Guiraud 2002
Nicely developing nose, showing some dried fruit aromas now, more creaminess and vanilla influence, minerality and oiliness expressing more now. Denser and a little fuller, more extraction and phenolic compounds, a little more density in the oak but with some maturity. Brightness of acidity starting to settle down and the more complex elements opening up a little. Certainly more concentration that needs more time.
|Chateau Guiraud 2005