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Chateau Coutet 2005

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      Winemaker Notes

      "Spice, dried pineapple, honey and light apricot aromas, like freshly crushed grapes. Full-bodied and very sweet, with masses of crushed fruit character and a long finish. Best after 2010."
      -Wine Spectator

      "Medium yellow. Deeply pitched aromas of honey, orange and fresh apricot, with a suggestion of candied sweetness and some spicy oak. Rich, sweet and wonderfully pure, with a nectar-like quality to its flavors of overripe peach, orange and spices. Plenty of botrytis character here. This boasts an exhilarating chewy texture and superb aromatic persistence. Today this is a fruit bomb, but it's still an infant. Its superb inner-palate energy suggests that it will evolve very slowly and last well. Promises to be a great vintage for this chateau."
      -International Wine Cellar 91-94

      Critical Acclaim

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      WS 91
      Wine Spectator
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      Chateau Coutet

      Chateau Coutet

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      Chateau Coutet, France - Other regions
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      An English fortress built in the 13th Century, this citadel with its square tower, a design typical of the era’s military constructions, became a wine producing estate in 1643. Previously owned by the Lur-Saluces family, the property was home to Chateau d’Yquem’s horse stables, transformed in the late 19th Century into a 110-meter long cellar (the longest in the appellation). A second round tower in the property’s northern plot, a Château Coutet landmark, was built originally to breed pigeons and peacocks for the region’s Gascon lords. Vertical wine presses from the 1920s, a 14th Century chapel and a Bordeaux cobblestone courtyard are a testament to the estate’s rich architectural and regional history.

      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.

      Image for Sauternes content section

      Sauternes

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      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.

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      Other Dessert

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      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.

      Rutherglen is an historic wine region in northeast Victoria, Australia, famous for its fortified Topaque and Muscat with complex tawny characteristics.

      SWS150015_2005 Item# 94341