Chateau Laribotte Sauternes (375ML half-bottle) 2017
Light, fruity mouth with flavors of candied fruits and dry apricots. Long on the palate with backbone, reflecting good acidic balance. Excellent ageing potential.
Château Laribotte is located in village of Preignac in the famous Sauternes region known for its production of sweet wines. It has been in the Lahiteau family since 1855. Jean-Pierre Lahiteau, who is the 7th generation owner, is in charge of the property today.
With his endless quest of perfection, he’s able to produce very crafted and balanced Sauternes every year and if he deems the quality insufficient, he’ll refuse to produce a wine that vintage.
The vineyard is 17 hectares (42 in acres) in size split in three blocks in the village of Preignac. It is well maintained with rigourous pruning and low yields. The average age of the vines is 60 years old. The grapes go through the noble rot process where the botrytis cinearea fungus makes grape skins permeable which allows their water to evaporate and aromas and sugars to concentrate.
All grapes are hand harvested. After the alcoholic fermentation, the wine is aged for cement tanks for 2 years, then aged 10-12 months in French oak barrels.
Estate grown and bottled. Sustainable practices. 2,000 cases produced annually.
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.
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.