Chateau Rieussec Sauternes 2003
Other Dessert from Sauternes and Barsac, Bordeaux, France
James Suckling - "This is big and powerful with a dense and very sweet palate. Full of botrytis and spices, from cinnamon to cloves to nutmeg. The finish is nutty with more spices and orange peel. Very stunning. Why wait? This has a slight dried grape character from the hot vintage. 151 grams of RS. "
The Wine Advocate - "It is against my better judgment to taste the sweet wines of Barsac and Sauternes at such an early age, as I find they typically require at least 12 months to reveal the definition/delineation so essential in these creamy, creme brulee, and honeysuckle-flavored offerings. Nevertheless, because this vintage is so highly regarded, I tasted through most of the top estates. The 2003s appear to be somewhat in the style of the 1990s, with high levels of residual sugar (higher than 2001 for the most part) as well as botrytis, low acidity, and fat, full-bodied personalities. This region’s harvest began extremely early (early September), and was completely finished within three weeks. It does not appear that the nobleness and racy richness of the 2001 vintage will be found in the 2003s, but readers who like the big, flamboyant, over the top style of the 1990s will enjoy the 2003s even more than I did. "
Wine Spectator - "Big, rich and juicy. Voluptuous, with aromas of caramel, apple and light tropical fruit. Full-bodied, round and very sweet, with loads of ripe fruit and a long butterscotch and piecrust aftertaste. Viscous texture. Hard not to drink it now. A wonderful sticky."
International Wine Cellar - "Medium yellow-gold. Reticent but pure aromas of fruit salad, spices and vanilla, lifted by floral and mineral nuances. Wonderfully honeyed, fat fruit flavors are complemented by cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. The sexy oak treatment gives lift to the wine. A bit youthfully aggressive but very long on the back end, showing vanillin oak and a bit of warmth. But this one offers superb potential.
Barrel Sample: 92-95 Points"
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Chateau Rieussec Winery
Classified "Premier Grand Cru" in 1855, Rieussec has held its reputation and the quality of its wine, throughout the difficult years which Sauternes properties have been through. Albert Vuillier, who took over in 1971, has paid special attention to the development of the vineyard and pushed the standard of the wines produced to the highest level. This policy has paid dividends, since in recent years, Rieussec has received particular acclaim in numerous tastings of the "Premier Cru" of Sauternes. In 1985, wishing to consolidate Rieussec's position, Albert Vuillier entered into partnership with Les Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) to go even further in the elusive search for the perfect Sauternes. View all Chateau Rieussec 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.