Chateau Coutet 2003
Other Dessert from Sauternes and Barsac, Bordeaux, France
Wine Spectator - "Honey, apple tart and lemon rind. Full-bodied, medium-sweet and very spicy with intense flavors of mace, apple and honey. Long finish. Thick and powerful."
International Wine Cellar - "Bright yellow-gold. Sexy aromas of orange liqueur and spices. Sweet, round and pure, with a lush texture verging on unctuous. And yet this is wonderfully aromatic and light on its feet. Very ripe and very complex in the mouth, with harmonious acids framing the flavors of orange oil, peach and spicy oak. Finishes very long, ripe and seamless, with lingering notes of oaky vanilla and spice. This has been a knockout since the outset."
Chateau Coutet Winery
Thomas Jefferson celebrated Chateau Coutet as the best Sauternes from Barsac during his ambassadorship to France. In 1855, recognized for its continued excellence, the estate was classified as a first growth. Today, Chateau Coutet stays true to its tradition of distinction and quality by producing the finest Barsac year after year. With an average age of 35 years, the vines of Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle have developed a network of deep roots to extract elements from the limestone and clay-based terroir, giving the grapes freshness, richness and strength. For this reason, the wine carries the name "Coutet," derived from the Gascon's word for knife, to signify the fresh, lively and crisp palate taht is the estate's signature style. View all Chateau Coutet Wines
About Sauternes and BarsacView a map of Sauternes and Barsac wineries (saw-TURN & BAR-sak)
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. Adter 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 yeild less juice than dry wines, due to their shriveled and concentrated state. Some houses, like the famed Chateau 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 regionsWhen 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.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost 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.