Sauternes is a superb sweet white wine produced in the vineyards of Bordeaux, France. It has the French Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) and the European label Designation of Protected Origin (PDO) that guarantee its quality. The main varieties of grapes used in its production are Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Muscadelle.
Since the 17th century, the area around Sauternes produces excellent wines. The winemakers use—in its elaboration—a fungus named Botrytis cinerea, which gives the grapes remarkable and unique organoleptic properties. The grapes are then selected, one by one, and only those affected by the fungus are used. The result is a sweet wine with a very balanced acidity, fruity aromas and a golden amber color that darkens as it ages. Review our selection of international wines.
Sauternes wine pairs wonderfully with foie gras, blue cheese or puff pastries filled with fruit and is preferably enjoyed when served slightly chilled.
Let us introduce you to three of the most exciting examples of Sauternes wines.
Château d’Yquem 2006
WINERY: Château d’Yquem // REGION: Sauternes // GRAPES: 80% semillon and 20% sauvignon blanc
This winery—located in the epicenter of the Sauternes region since the late 18th century—was owned by the aristocratic Lur Saluces family. Today, following the sale of the majority of its shares and after many legal disputes, the legendary winery is part of the French conglomerate of luxury goods LVMH / Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy. The Château d’Yquem 2006 has a golden yellow color and, closer to the nose, it releases aromas of white fruits in syrup, orange blossom, rose and orange hints. In the mouth, it is tasty, delicate and elegant, with good acidity and high persistence and sweet, fruity nuances. The complexity, aromas and flavors of this wine will certainly improve over the years.
L’Extravagant de Doisy-Daëne 2011
WINERY: Château Doisy-Daëne // REGION: Sauternes // GRAPES: 100% sauvignon blanc
The Château Doisy-Daëne is owned by Denis Dubourdieu, a professor at the Faculty of Oenology at the University of Bordeaux and a legendary expert in wine circles. The Dubourdieu family has created several exceptional wines, and one example is L’Extravagant De Doisy-Daëne 2011, which has a lovely golden color and aromas of ripe kiwi, honey, and quince. It boasts a strong passage with flavors of peach and apricots, and exceptional acidity and sweetness. It is considered one of the most elegant representative of the wines from Sauternes.
Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey 2014
WINERY: Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey // REGION: Sauternes // GRAPES: 93% semillón, 6% sauvignon blanc, and 1% muscadelle
With a long history as producers of remarkable wines and located in the heart of Sauternes, the Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey winery is a centuries-old architectural jewel of the southern region of Bordeaux. The Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey 2014 vintage is distinguished by a lovely amber color and aromas of fruit, honey, and vanilla. In the mouth, it is very soft and velvety, with hints of caramel and vanilla. This wine delivers a balanced acidity with a lingering, crisp, elegant and extremely satisfying finish.