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Bordeaux 2015: Sauternes


What better way to finish my week of UGC tastings than a day full of sunshine in Sauternes.


2015 was a dream vintage for the Sauternes producers, the weather gods were really looking after the growers this year, allowing them to make some gloriously aromatic sweet wines, with lovely freshness and more subtle sweetness than certain years of excess in the past .

First stop was Ch Climens in Barsac with the delightful Berenice Lurton. Always a highlight of my week of primeur tastings, Berenice takes the trouble to show each parcel and individual picking direct from cask. 12 pipettes later I have a wonderful understanding of the 2015 vintage at this glorious property. A 100% Semillon estate, this wine highlights the delicious fruit salad of flavours in 2015, the botrytis is precise and clean and the marked characteristics of the vintage are vibrancy and freshness. A very lovely wine.


Next stop Yquem – not too much of a hardship… Superbly represented with graphs showing the climatic conditions of each month we could see that 2015 was the warmest June and July since 1897!


It is surely this that has provided such a delicious opulence and tropical fruit character to the stunning 2015. Again not a wine of excess but superbly balanced and great length.


Less grand but equally as impressive was the visit to small 14 ha estate of Sigalas Rabaud where they are making outstanding wines. Again a tasting from a selection of casks and one could see the balance of summer fruit flavours, hints of creme caramel and a lovely drive of mineral freshness.

One of the bargains of the vintage will surely be Ch d’Arche. I love this estate tucked between Chateau d’Yquem, La Tour Blanche and Guiraud on top of its own hillside. It makes classical Sauternes and possibly offers the best price quality ratio in the region. Seek this out and you will not be disappointed.


As always I board the plane a touch tired but hugely invigorated. This has been a great week’s tasting. Not all are the quality that I had hoped for but amongst them there are some exceptional wines of which I will write more…

Highlights of the week
Haut Brion
Cheval Blanc
Vieux Chateau Certan
La Conseillante
Brane Cantenac
Pichon Lalande
Ducru Beaucaillou
Haut Bailly
Domaine de Chevalier Blanc