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Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Sauternes 2015

White Wine from France - Bordeaux
Splendid intensity and precision, with a fragrant, honeyed nose and a palate that delivers the depth of flavour and finesse you would expect of a fine Sauternes. Very lovely indeed.
Price: £47.00 Bottle
Price: £282.00 Case of 6
In Stock
Code: BW5641

Wine characteristics

  • White Wine
  • Intensely sweet
  • Semillon
  • 13.5% Alcohol
  • No oak influence
  • 2023 to 2040
  • 75cl
  • Cork, natural

Sauternes & Sweet Bordeaux

Certainly the most famous sweet wine of France and probably the World, the luscious, complex wines of Sauternes owe their existence to a mould. The fungus in question is called botrytis cinerea, known to the French by the more attractive name of pourriture noble and to many others as noble rot.

25 miles south of the city of Bordeaux the confluence of the Garonne and its tributary the Ciron, in conjunction with the hilly geography of the area and sunny autumn weather, creates a misty early morning microclimate that is perfect for botrytis to begin and flourish. As the day warms up and the mist clears the botrytis is stabilised and remains in its benign form. Should damp, humid or rainy weather strike the vineyards all will be lost as botrytis transforms itself into the more pernicious grey rot, in which case no sauternes can be made. These unfortunate circumstances happen about twice a decade and add the already challenging economic environment for all but the wealthiest producers....
Certainly the most famous sweet wine of France and probably the World, the luscious, complex wines of Sauternes owe their existence to a mould. The fungus in question is called botrytis cinerea, known to the French by the more attractive name of pourriture noble and to many others as noble rot.

25 miles south of the city of Bordeaux the confluence of the Garonne and its tributary the Ciron, in conjunction with the hilly geography of the area and sunny autumn weather, creates a misty early morning microclimate that is perfect for botrytis to begin and flourish. As the day warms up and the mist clears the botrytis is stabilised and remains in its benign form. Should damp, humid or rainy weather strike the vineyards all will be lost as botrytis transforms itself into the more pernicious grey rot, in which case no sauternes can be made. These unfortunate circumstances happen about twice a decade and add the already challenging economic environment for all but the wealthiest producers. Great pine forests to the west offer some protection from bad weather but making sauternes is a labour of love, perhaps even a labour of passion.

Semillon is the principal grape, useful because its thin skin is pierced easily by the botrytis to allow it to feed on the moisture inside, concentrating the grape sugars and glycerol, and heightening the acidity. The second grape is sauvignon blanc which makes up about 25% of plantings, while the fragrant muscadelle brings up the rear. Vines are carefully pruned and tended in order to encourage development of the fungus. Once the botrytis appears it affects bunches unevenly, both in terms of the individual grapes within the bunch and across the vineyard. It is necessary for pickers to make several passes, up to ten on the best properties, to pick even single grapes as they are affected, and each vine yields only enough juice for a single glass of wine. Sometimes the harvest can take two months to complete. Is it any wonder that the best Sauternes is relatively expensive?

Fermentation takes place in oak barrels and can be slow because the yeasts occasionally find the sticky, sugary juice almost overwhelming, with an ever present danger of the fermentation stopping before the desired outcome is achieved. The finished wine spends some time in barrel, during which time some evaporation is allowed, before bottling.

The best terroirs are considered to be on the higher ground furthest from the Garonne and above the Ciron, where the legendary Château d’Yquem sits. Soils in the appellation are a mixture of gravel, clay and limestone, and limestone, over the communes of Sauternes, Barsac, Bommes, Fargues and Preignac. Where the soils do not offer excellent drainage systems for it have been put in place.

Sauternes, and by extension Barsac, were the only wines outside of the Médoc and Château Haut-Brion to be included in the famous 1855 Classification, with Château d’Yquem preminent.

PREMIER CRU SUPÉRIEUR
Château d’YQUEM - Sauternes

PREMIERS CRUS
Château LA TOUR BLANCHE - Sauternes. Château LAFAURIE-PEYRAGUEY - Sauternes. Clos HAUT-PEYRAGUEY – Sauternes. Château de RAYNE VIGNEAU - Sauternes. Château SUDUIRAUT – Sauternes. Château COUTET - Barsac. Château CLIMENS – Barsac. Château GUIRAUD - Sauternes. Château RIEUSSEC - Sauternes. Château RABAUD-PROMIS - Sauternes. Château SIGALAS RABAUD - Sauternes

SECONDS CRUS
Château de MYRAT - Barsac. Château DOISY DAËNE - Barsac. Château DOISY-DUBROCA - Barsac. Château DOISY-VÉDRINES - Barsac. Château d’ARCHE - Sauternes. Château FILHOT - Sauternes. Château BROUSTET - Barsac. Château NAIRAC - Barsac. Château CAILLOU – Barsac. Château SUAU - Barsac. Château de MALLE – Sauternes. Château ROMER du HAYOT - Sauternes. Château ROMER – Sauternes. Château LAMOTHE - Sauternes. Château LAMOTHE-GUIGNARD - Sauternes

Less exalted sweet wines are made across Bordeaux. Much of it is produced, unlike wines affected by botrytis, by stopping fermentation through the use of sulphur dioxide, chilling the fermenting must and sterile filtration. These wines are often labelled moelleux and they can be very mediocre. Such wines can be labelled as Bordeaux Supérieur, Graves Supérieur, Côtes de Bordeaux-Saint-Macaire, Côtes de Bordeaux-Sainte-Foy and Premier Côtes de Bordeaux. Some appellations where botrytis wines are made and which can rival good sauternes are Sainte-Croix-du-Mont, Cadillac, Cérons and Loupiac. For this latter group, depressed prices in comparison with the wines of Sauternes and Barsac, have led some producers to abandon the expensive botrytis method and to make sweet wines more cheaply by following the methods of the less exalted practitioners mentioned above. Those prepared to invest the time, effort and money into making use of their terroir and the conditions it offers can make characterful, botrytis affected wines.
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Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey

The origins of this famous estate date back to the 13th century, and the castle-like appearance of the walls attest to its former life as a fortified keep.

In the 19th century Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey had a reputation that earned it classification as a 1er Cru Classé property, and in 1917, following a sad but familiar Bordelais saga of family feuds and inheritance squabbles, it was purchased by the Cordier family, owners of several fine estates and a renowned négociants.

Under their stewardship the property was rebuilt and viticultural and cellar practices improved, with much restricted yields and very careful selection during the manual harvest. No longer owned by the Cordier family (they sold it in 1984) it now owned by perfume entrepreneur Silvio Denz, who has invested deeply since taking over in 2014, renovating the cellars, improving the vineyards and giving over some of the buildings for a hotel.

Situated in the commune of Bommes, the estate is located in three parcels and covers 41 hectares on a terroir of gravel and clay with some limestone. The vineyard is planted overwhelmingly to semillon, with equal proportions of sauvignon blanc and muscadelle, making up the balance.

The average vine age is 40-50 years, though some date back to the 1920s, with the low yields typical of a vineyard where the vagaries of noble rot necessitate careful hand-picking across the parcels, and rigorous sorting. The wine is matured in 60% new oak for up to 20 months, though this may be...
The origins of this famous estate date back to the 13th century, and the castle-like appearance of the walls attest to its former life as a fortified keep.

In the 19th century Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey had a reputation that earned it classification as a 1er Cru Classé property, and in 1917, following a sad but familiar Bordelais saga of family feuds and inheritance squabbles, it was purchased by the Cordier family, owners of several fine estates and a renowned négociants.

Under their stewardship the property was rebuilt and viticultural and cellar practices improved, with much restricted yields and very careful selection during the manual harvest. No longer owned by the Cordier family (they sold it in 1984) it now owned by perfume entrepreneur Silvio Denz, who has invested deeply since taking over in 2014, renovating the cellars, improving the vineyards and giving over some of the buildings for a hotel.

Situated in the commune of Bommes, the estate is located in three parcels and covers 41 hectares on a terroir of gravel and clay with some limestone. The vineyard is planted overwhelmingly to semillon, with equal proportions of sauvignon blanc and muscadelle, making up the balance.

The average vine age is 40-50 years, though some date back to the 1920s, with the low yields typical of a vineyard where the vagaries of noble rot necessitate careful hand-picking across the parcels, and rigorous sorting. The wine is matured in 60% new oak for up to 20 months, though this may be varied if vintage conditions demand it.
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Bordeaux 2015 Sauternes/Barsac

2015 was an excellent vintage for Sauternes and Barsac, with picking starting right at the beginning of September and almost perfect conditions throughout that month and much of October. Favourably timed rain showers punctuated the harvest, ensuring ideal conditions for the development of noble rot, though the wines display admirable balancing freshness.
2015 vintage reviews

Decanter

Splendid nose ofstone fruits, botrytis and a discreet oakiness. Appealing juiciness, cut byfine acidity and a lively peppery character on the finish.

- Stephen Brook

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