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Chateau Rieussec Sauternes (375ML half-bottle) 2005

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  • WE94
375ML / 0% ABV
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375ML / 0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

A blend of 95% Semillon, 3% Sauvignon Blanc and 2% Muscadelle.

2005 was marked by drought. Only 127 mm of rain fell during the winter, and following a month of April with some more rain (129 mm), the dry weather began again at the end of May. The summer was first very hot in June and July, then cooler in August and September, which allowed slow ripening and good balance between body and freshness.

Beautiful intense golden colour. Pleasantly fresh, showing jammy notes and candied fruit (apricots, figs). Round and smooth on the palate, with candied notes and a long finish.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 96
Wine Spectator
Shows enticing aromas of toffee, cream, dried apricot and caramel. Full-bodied, very sweet and thick, with honey and caramel flavors. Long and rich, oozing with sweet, ripe fruit, this is like liquid candy. Best after 2016.
RP 96
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Tasted blind against the Rieussec 2001 as a comparison, the Château Rieussec 2005 has a more airy bouquet at first and here I find more mineralité on the nose, more precision and focus that the Rieussec 2001. The palate is clean and fresh with vibrant acidity, real tension here with marmalade, lemon curd, apricot and cold stone. Wonderful acidity is interwoven throughout this Sauternes that demonstrates real race and sophistication. It is not as rich or as hedonistic as the Rieussec 2001, but I think the slightly better wine. More breeding and energy. Do not overlook this gem.
WE 94
Wine Enthusiast
You get both apricots and honeyed botrytis aromas that are followed through by a dry core, very full-bodied with richness, the sweetness of the yellow jam fruits, apricots and mangoes gliding over the palate. Delicious, and certainly ageworthy.
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Chateau Rieussec

Chateau Rieussec

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Chateau Rieussec, France
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For several generations, Chateau Rieussec has been the leading name in Sauternes wines. As early as 1868, Charles Cocks remarked “Beyond any of the others, Rieussec produces wines very similar to Yquem wines”. Extensive pruning and the sparing use of natural fertilizer helps keep production low. The techniques remain traditional and specific to the Sauternes region. In terms of yields, the traditional reference is that a single vine should produce a bottle of wine. Here, though, a single vine produces about a glass of wine. Traditional fermentation takes place in stainless steel vats and can last as long as two months. The wine is aged for 16 to 26 months in oak barrels, produced mostly at Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) cooperage and half are renewed each year. 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.

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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.

PWI97074_2005 Item# 97074