Barton & Guestier Sauternes 2001
Barton & Guestier is the oldest and one of the most prestigious wine houses in Bordeaux. With nearly 300 years of history, Barton & Guestier was established in 1725 by Thomas Barton, a renowned negociant coming from Ireland. In the early 19th century, his grandson joined forces with Frenchman Daniel Guestier, a reputed importer of Bordeaux wines into Baltimore, in the British colonies in America, and the one who delivered the wines that President Thomas Jefferson had ordered from the Barton family. It remains the most iconic French wine brand bringing authentic French terroir and emotions to wine lovers all over the world.
The Barton & Guestier range represents a wonderful diversity of the best French wine appellations with about 200 passionate winegrowers over the main winegrowing regions: Bordeaux, Loire Valley, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Rhône Valley, Languedoc, Gascony and Corsica. With its wide variety of wines, Barton & Guestier enables wine lovers - from the occasional wine drinker to the connoisseur - to make a journey through France. The B&G winemaking team guarantees consistent quality and style, vintage after vintage. The company headquarters is based at Château Magnol, Haut-Médoc, a great Cru Bourgeois wine estate certified “High Environmental Value” and ISO 14001. Chateau Magnol also serves as a guesthouse and wine academy open to wine professionals from all over the world.
Apart from the classics, we find many regional gems of different styles.
Late harvest wines are probably the easiest to understand. Grapes are picked so late that the sugars build up and residual sugar remains after the fermentation process. Ice wine, a style founded in Germany and there referred to as eiswein, is an extreme late harvest wine, produced from grapes frozen on the vine, and pressed while still frozen, resulting in a higher concentration of sugar. It is becoming a specialty of Canada as well, where it takes on the English name of ice wine.
Vin Santo, literally “holy wine,” is a Tuscan sweet wine made from drying the local white grapes Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia in the winery and not pressing until somewhere between November and March.
Sweet and unctuous but delightfully charming, the finest Sauternes typically express flavors of exotic dried tropical fruit, candied apricot, dried citrus peel, honey or ginger and a zesty beam of acidity.
Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris and Muscadelle are the grapes of Sauternes. But Sémillon's susceptibility to the requisite noble rot makes it the main variety and contributor to what makes Sauternes so unique. As a result, most Sauternes estates are planted to about 80% Sémillon. Sauvignon is prized for its balancing acidity and Muscadelle adds aromatic complexity to the blend with Sémillon.
Botrytis cinerea or “noble rot” is a fungus that grows on grapes only in specific conditions and its onset is crucial to the development of the most stunning of sweet wines.
In the fall, evening mists develop along the Garonne River, and settle into the small Sauternes district, creeping into the vineyards and sitting low until late morning. The next day, the sun has a chance to burn the moisture away, drying the grapes and concentrating their sugars and phenolic qualities. What distinguishes a fine Sauternes from a normal one is the producer’s willingness to wait and tend to the delicate botrytis-infected grapes through the end of the season.