Tuesday, April 17, 2007

What They're Drinking in Heaven

Sauternes. If there is a heaven, and I get there, this is what I'm drinking. Every day and every night.

It's magical stuff, an alchemical mix of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc and a special rot called botrytis. Who knew fungus could taste so good.

There are shockingly expensive Sauternes (Chateau d'Yquem, anyone?), but there are also suprisingly affordable wines with rich concentration and a dazzling array flavors. So even if you're in the under $20 end of the wine budget spectrum, you can pick up excellent half-bottles of sauternes, which for a dessert wine represents quite a bargain.

The 2003 Ch. Sigalas Rabaud ($16.99/375 ml, K&L Wines), for instance, represents excellent QPR. It's an outstanding young Sauternes that really won't even hit its stride until 2008. Even as a relative juvenile, it already has abundant aromas and flavors of apricot, honey, and a wonderful toasted coconut note. Added to this, the wine is exhibiting a lovely, silky texture. The sweetness and acidity are in nice balance in this dessert wine, so you don't have to worry that this is somehow too sweet. It will be interesting to see how this wine is drinking in a few years when I open the next bottle. Hard to imagine it could get better, but the experts say it probably will.

What to have it with? Nothing. Just sit down, pour yourself and someone you love a glass, and put your feet up. Voila. You're in heaven.

They've been making wine at Chateau Sigalas Rabaud since at least 1660, and the Wine Doctor has a super profile of the chateau and its production, if you'd like to learn more. If you've never had any Sauternes, seek some out and give them a try. And if you love it already, please let us know which are your favorites and what you pair them with, if anything.

1 comment:

Steve Webb said...

Had some of this the other day and it is suprisingly fresh and fruity for such a hot vintage! Laure Lambert des Granges is now producing stunning wine and the 2009 just released En Primeur is top quality and good value.