I tasted 2009 Chateau Guiraud on the eve of the primeur tastings in April. I then saw it ‘aveugle’ in a line up of several Sauternes and Barsac wines. On both occasions I loved the wine. This is arguably the finest Chateau Guiraud ever made. It is archetypal Sauternes with intense honeysuckle/ white peach/ vanilla/ marzipan aromas and flavours, superb richness and viscosity, fruit complexity, underlying ginger oak and fresh acidity. This is one of the most impressively balanced and evocative wines of the 2009 Sauternes vintage. Considering the offer price of Chateau Suduiraut, I am astonished at this offer. Although it illustrates a realistic approach to the market by new owners Robert Peugeot, Olivier Bernard, Stephan Von Neipperg and longstanding winemaker Xavier Planty, I have a feeling this will be seen as one of the best value wines of the 2009 primeurs campaign. This is definitely one of my picks. 94-97/100 Andrew Caillard MW
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.