Wine Spectator - " #4 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2008
Delivers lots of botrytis spice, with lemon tart and cooked apple. Full-bodied, with loads of cream and vanilla and an intense tropical fruit and honey aftertaste. Long and viscous, with a layered and beautiful spicy finish. Hard not to drink it now. Best after 2014."
James Suckling - "This appears to be the synthesis of the fabulous 2001 and 2003. It shows wonderful aromas of botrytis spice, honey and citrus rind. Lots of fruit with a tropical fruit undertone of mango and papaya on the palate. Intense finish. Too excellent not to drink."
Wine Enthusiast - "Typical of the huge power of Guiraud, this is one of the richest Sauternes in 2005. The wine is rich and intense, the dry edge of botrytis just dominating the sweetness. Flavors of honey, almonds and peaches give the wine extra complexity. "
Wine & Spirits - "Seething with power, there's baritone richness to this wine's complex fruit, a deeper tone to the surface of honey and citrus. It feels clean, fresh and bright, the structure holding the wine's complexity tight for now, waiting to release it with age."
Connoisseurs' Guide - "No quibbles here. This is a concentrated, fairly complex offering whose pear syrup, pineapple, roasted nuts, coconutty aromas may be the slightest bit unusual but are every bit inviting. Juicy and rich in flavor with more than a touch of honey noted, the wine has plenty of underlying acidity that helps make its youthfully sugary flavors attractive even now but which also guarantees that this lush wine has a second decade and possibly more in its future."
The Wine Advocate - "Tasted blind at the 10-Year On Tasting in Sauternes. The 2005 Château Guiraud has a rich nose of dried honey, orange blossom and buttercup that is nicely defined but does not quite have the intensity of the best Sauternes 05s. The palate is fresh and lithe on the entry, smooth and honeyed both in taste and texture with a long orange zest, vanilla and almond finish that is sensual and persistent. It meliorates in the glass, forages more zest and vitality, so don’t be afraid to aerate/decant this for an hour or two."
Vinous / Antonio Galloni - "Full golden-yellow. Orange oil, clove, ginger, mint and minerals on the perfumed, vibrant noise. Superrich but juicy and vibrant, with an exotic hint to the fresh apricot and peach flavors. This boasts an exhilarating sugar/acid balance and finishes with terrific life and grip. Lafaurie-Peyraguey. Rating: 92+"
Château Guirard, located in the heart of the commune of Sauternes, has a 100-hectare vineyard in a single block. The vines are planted around the cellars and the château. The Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes ripen very early at Guiraud and undergo tremendous natural concentration due to the effects of "noble rot" (botrytis).
The harvest takes place in several waves and the grapes are literally picked one by one. This process is not only risky, but accounts for very low yields. It nevertheless results in rich, complex wines.
The quality of Château Guiraud's terroir earned its classification as a First Growth in 1855. The Société Civile Agricole du Château Guiraud is managed by Xavier Planty.
View all Chateau Guiraud Wines
The regions of Sauternes & Barsac are both located southeast of Graves, almost directly south of St-Émilion, and hug the Garonne River as it curves. Both areas are dedicated to producing sweet, white wines. The rains, the mists, the humidity and the climate, all help foster the necessary mold that leads to the unfortified, but lusciously sweet wines produced there.
Semillon is the primary grape here as it takes well to bortrytis, also known as "noble rot." Sauvignon Blanc is used in the blend to add acidity to the richer, thicker Semillon. The process for making the sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac is long, labored and costly. After it has reached maximum ripeness, the Semillon grapes are left on the vine until they are infected with botrytis. This helpful mold then shrivels the grapes, concentrating the sugars but maintaining the acids. Weather is not always agreeable and berries must be picked at just the right moment, all by hand. The grapes yield less juice than dry wines, due to their shriveled and concentrated state. Some houses, like the famed Chateau d'Yquem, will not make a wine in a less-than-perfect year. All these factors lead to highly prized, and often expensive, wine. However, the taste is well worth it. In the palate the wines of Sauternes & Barsac are luscious and sweet, yet with the balanced acidity to keep them from being too cloying or candied.
Wines with the Sauternes AC must be sweet - dry wines are labeled under the Graves or Bordeaux AC. Barsac wines may be labeled either Barsac AC or Sauternes AC. Typically, Barsac wines are a little lighter in body and less intense than Sauternes.
About France - Other regions
When it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and
Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.