91-93/100 Andrew Caillard MW. Medium deep colour. Herb garden/ lemony/ flinty aromas. Well concentrated palate with lemon pastille/ flinty flavours, plenty of sweet fruit and fine indelible acidity. Finishes tangy and flavourful.
94-96/100 Robert Parker Jr. To be honest, I expected the 2011 Coutet to come rushing out of the blocks like Doisy-Daene; however it is not playing that game. Instead, it is almost Zen-like upon first acquaintance before revealing its life-affirming mineral aromas and traces of apricot and white peach that remain very subtle and yet tangibly there. The palate is medium-bodied with exceptional balance. There is a real sense of synergy between component parts; nothing out of place, everything focused and succinctly composed, with its trademark sense of thrilling tension on the finish. This is sheer class and a classic Coutet to add to the canon of great recent vintages. Drink 2014-2035.
18/20 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Decanter. Great density and concentration with subdued acidity this year which is unusual for Coutet where one expects raciness. Rich, honeyed and unctuous. Fat and chunky right now but the depth and finish shows promise. Drink 2024-2047.
95–98/100 James Moleworth, Wine Spectator. This is really packed, with heather, golden raisin, dried pineapple, fresh white peach, quince and honey notes all woven beautifully together. The long, pure, singing finish has loads in reserve.
17/20 Julia Harding MW, Jancis Robinson. Slightly reductive note, and not very giving on the nose. Delicately fragrant lemon and apricot. Savoury/sour concentration lacking immediate appeal but has lovely depth of orange and apricot on the mid palate and lingers with a zesty, spicy freshness. A stayer.
Sauternes is home to arguably the most prestigious and long-lived sweet wines in the world. Located 65 km south of the city of Bordeaux at the southern tip of the Graves, the appellation has 2100 ha of vineyards planted on flat, alluvial gravels overlying thick layers of limestone. Although viewed as one appellation, Sauternes actually consists of five communes; Barsac, Bommes, Fargues, Preignanc, and Sauternes with Barsac also a designated appellation in its own right. What makes Sauternes unique is its special mesoclimate caused by the confluence of the Ciron and the Garonne rivers.
The region experiences evening mists in autumn which set in until late morning and are subsequently burnt off by warm sunny afternoons. It is precisely these conditions that provide the ideal environment for the growth of botrytis cinerea – a fungus that attacks the grapes, causing them to dehydrate leaving sweet shrivelled fruit, ideal for sweet wine production. Sauternes wines are made predominantly from Sémillon with Sauvignon Blanc with small amounts of Muscadelle. Golden in colour with enticing aromas and flavours of honey, acacia, stone-fruit, candied citrus and marmalade, classic Sauternes is rich, unctuous and beautifully balanced by fresh acidity. Capable of long-ageing, the wines turn deep amber with age, taking on more tertiary caramel flavours over time.