Nicolas Heeter-Tari, Nairas's winemaker until 2021
Nairac is situated in Barsac and is owned by Nicole Heeter-Tari and her children. There is 17 ha of vines planted with 90% Semillon, 6% Sauvignon Blanc and 4% Muscadelle.
Mme Nicole Tari-Heeter's son, Nicolas Tari-Heeter, did take over winemaking in 1993 and was in charge until 2021. Unfortunately, Nairac has had a bad run of vintages since 2017, mainly due to frost damage, but the wine cellar and the vineyard have both been in bad shape. Changes were quickly needed in the form of wealthy investor(s).
In March 2022, the Helfrich family from Alsace, through their company Terres de Bordelaises ( already the owner of Bastor Lamontagne in Sauternes), agreed with Nairac's owner, Nicole Tari-Heeter, to sign a long farming contract for 25 years to manage the property, modernize it and be in charge of distribution.
Nairac is heavier than other Barsacs evolves slowly, and needs 4-5 years in the bottle to shine.
Botrytis cinerea alias noble rot in full bloom at Nairac in September 2003. Please look at the "boiling" grape down in the right corner of the picture!
Nairac 2022 (barrel sample) 94+p
Last year (2022), the owner, Nicole Tari, agreed with Terres Bordelaises (a subsidiary of Grands Chais de France. owned by the Helfrich family from Alsace) to rent the property to them for 25 years. Grand Chais de France already owns a property in Sauternes, Bastor Lamontagne (since 2018). Jean-Marc Dulong from Terres Bordelaises, who manages both properties, made the 2022 vintage. A massive modernization of the cellar and cleaning/replanting/adjusting in the vineyard will be done soon.
Tasted in April 2023. 92% Semillon, 6% Sauvignon Blanc and 2% Muscadelle. Intense acacia honey, walnuts, great sweetness, bright acidity, vibrant, finesse, elegance, and persistent finish. Great comeback for the property, and hope for more stability. 94+p.
Nairac 2019, 2020, and 2021 - honestly, I need to find out which of these three vintage was affected by frost and which wasn't produced.
Nairac 2018 - not offered to taste. Nairac told Bill Blatch at the end of March 2019 that the barrel sample was still being prepared for tasting when he collected barrel samples from different properties to be tasted at Chateau Ripeau.
Nairac 2017 - no wine was produced due to frost in April 2017.
Nairac 2016 - not tasted.
Nairac 2015 94p
Tasted twice - last time in April 2023. Consistent notes. Heather honey and walnuts on the nose and palate, elegant with finesse, fine acidity, and structure, complex and long honeyed finish. Superb effort.
Nairac 2014 (barrel sample) 94-95p
Tasted in March 2015. Packed with flavors of grapefruit and pineapple, great acidity, superb balance, delicate sweetness, and a long honeyed finish. Impressive for the vintage. Low yield in this vintage - only 6hl/ha.
Nairac 2013 93p
Tasted four times - last time in April 2016. Consistent notes. This wine had a strong grapefruit, apricot, and honey melon flavor, an excellent match between sweetness and acidity, refinement, complexity, length, and honeyed finish. Splendid effort.
Nairac 2012 (barrel sample) 90p
Tasted four times - last time in March 2014. Consistent notes. This wine showed elegance, delicious botrytized flavors, and fine underlying acidity. Lighter and less sweet than usual.
Nairac 2011 94p
Tasted eight times - last time in October 2015. Consistent notes. This wine offered an extensive range of botrytised flavors like almonds, heather honey, grapefruit, lemon peel, pineapple, and pear, distinguished and long on the palate with great sweetness, acidity, and graceful aftertaste. Silky texture. It was an imposing wine.
Nairac 2010 96p
Tasted eight times - last time in April 2023. Consistent notes. Every time I taste it, it's a huge thrill. It offered many botrytised flavors like grapefruit, almonds, lemon peel, pineapple, and pear, distinguished and long on the palate with great sweetness, acidity, and graceful aftertaste. Stunning complexity. Very precise and thoughtful winemaking. Outstanding effort.
Nairac 2009 96p
Tasted thirteen times - last time in October 2015. Consistent notes. Very aromatic, sweet pineapple, apricot, honey melon, excellent acidity support to intense and luscious fruit, long and honeyed aftertaste, great complexity and style. Sophisticated and refined. Fabulous stuff.
Nairac 2008 93p
Tasted nine times - last time in September 2013. Consistent notes. Extremely low yield because of frost in April 2008, which destroyed more than 50% of buds, meaning heavy loss of grapes. It was very grapefruity on the nose, had a medium body, fine acidity and structure, and botrytised honey melon and apricot flavors. Long on the palate with a graceful aftertaste. Very precise and thoughtful winemaking. Terrific effort.
Nairac 2007 96p
Tasted eleven times - last time in March 2015. Consistent notes. This wine showed a big nose of intermixing grapefruit, apple, orange peel, and pear flavors. Full-bodied, with great depth on the palate, and full of freshness. Splendid acidity and beautiful balance. Rich and refined. Smooth and long finish. Stunning wine!
Nairac 2006 92p
Tasted nine times - last time in September 2013. Consistent notes. This wine offered spicy botrytised flavors of grapefruit and apricot on the palate and crème brulée on the nose. Superb balance and plenty of finesse, and Honeyed aftertaste. Fine effort.
Nairac 2005 96p
Tasted thirteen times - last time in April 2016. Consistent notes. This wine displayed an intense nose of apricots, many botrytised flavors on the palate like pineapple, guava, and honey melon, sublime richness, sophisticated touch, and long lingering aftertaste. Awesome stuff. This description fitted 100% in April 2016!
Nairac 2004 92p
2004 harvest started on the 30th September and finished on 16th November. 1st tri lasted from 39th September to 7th October, 2nd tri was from 11th to 14th October, resulting in 38 whole barrels and 22% potential alcohol, 3rd the tri was between 25th and 27th October (won't be included in Nairac - rain-affected grapes), 4th tri between 8th and 10th November, and finally 5th tri between 15th and 16th November. The last trip was magnificent and rich, producing 24% potential alcohol. True "vendange tardive"! Tasted nine times - last time in March 2015. Consistent notes. Nuts, grilled flavors (reduction), elegant, splendid balance, stylish and rich wine. Smooth and long aftertaste. A real charmer wine with 9.5% residual sugar.
Nairac 2003 97+p*
The yield per ha here was only seven hl, and the remaining sugar in the wine ended at the astonishingly unbelievable 12.7%! Tasted the sixth times - the last time in October 2015. Consistent notes. Light golden with incredibly pure and intense botrytis, extravagant fruit-sweetness and richness, fatness, and magnificent structure. The exceptionally pure style in this wine is fabulously constructed. Undoubtedly the best vintage for Nairac since the sensational 1997 vintage. When tasted in October 2007, it still amazed me, and I upgraded it from 96+p to 97+p. This wine had an extravagantly high level of botrytis and an incredible balance between its immense sweetness and corresponding acidity. In April 2009, it still was that sensational. Nairac 2003 is with Climens 2003, de Fargues, and Yquem, the best vintage wines. In April 2011, I felt this wine was still remarkable, with extravagant style, immense sweetness, and acidity. Fantastic effort!! Four and a half years later, this wine's not lost anything of its stunning qualities, only acidity is now more and more present and remarkably matches sweetness.
Nairac 2002 92p
Tasted four times - last time in April 2009. Consistent notes. It certainly did put on weight when in the bottle. Fresh apples, pear, splendid acidity, the lovely intensity of botrytised flavors, fresh on the palate, smooth and subtle. Delicate effort!
Nairac 2001 98p
Tasted three times - last time in October 2015. Not consistent notes. "This is a heavy style of Barsac. Thick, dense, and sugary botrytis. Complex and very long on the palate. Multi-layered and very stylish, but not showing all the goodies at the moment." - these were my TNs from July 2004. Tasted nearly seven years later in April 2011, this wine was simply sensational and proof of what aging of wine can bring forward. It had an astonishing purity level, botrytised flavors of acacia honey, candied orange peel, créme brulée/caramel, and honey melon, and incredible richness, acidity, sweetness, and length. Heavenly stuff. A vast increase of 4 points in my rating (from 94 to 98p), but it truly deserved! 4.5 years later, in September 2015, this wine is still a tremendous effort and significant proof of what this vintage was capable of.
Nairac 2000 0p
Tari-Hereter's family didn't find this vintage worthy of Nairac's status and did therefore declassify the whole production.
Nairac 1999 90p
Tasted in September 2003. Spicy, well-defined botrytis again, mango and orange with the scent of acacia honey, harmonious and tasty. This wine makes you feel pleased. Well-made and of superb quality. Keep it until 2014.
Nairac 1998 90p
Tasted in September 2003. Strong, splendid botrytis, toffee, and brown sugar, long and well-structured. Already a delightful glass of wine.
Nairac 1997 96p
Tasted twice - last time in September 2004. A very tiny yield of 5 hl/ha! This one is a real beauty! Fabulous botrytis, exceptional sweetness, and corresponding acidity. Incredibly sophisticated, rich, and complex. Best vintage for Nairac ever?! I agree with Jean-Marc Quarin - this wine is unforgettable.
Nairac 1996 92p
Tasted four times - last time in September 2014. Orange peel, spicy fruit (mango and peach), finesse, splendid structure, and long aftertaste. Simply delicious. Ten years between the last two tastings - in September 2014, it had a toffee flavor and smell of shoe polish, brown sugar, and candied apricots. Well-aged wine with fine structure and nice complexity.
Nairac 1995 90p
Tasted three - last time in March 2015. Consistent notes. Fine botrytis, delicate and in fine harmony with acidity. Very gracious and elegant, round and delightfully tasty. Give it ten years more. After 10.5 years, it's still doing well - brown sugar, candied mandarines, dark botrytised flavors, nice balance.
Nairac 1994 88p
Tasted twice - last time in September 2004. Consistent notes. Fine botrytis, relatively light but elegant, charming, round, and tasty. Good for the vintage and a pleasure to drink now.
Nairac 1993 84p
Tasted in September 2003. Relatively light, fragile, and with weak botrytis. A round, pleasant wine, which is quickly on its way down.
Nairac 1992 88p
Tasted in September 2003. Surprisingly fine botrytis and surprisingly fresh attitude. Nicely concentrated, elegant, and charming. At its peak now and tastes really good.
Nairac's so-called "second wine," which isn't that but a wine giving more immediate appeal and is easier to understand, Esquisse, was tasted in October 2007 in vintages 2005, 2004, and 2003. 2003 was the best (91p) with heavy botrytis, rich flavors, and fine concentration. It has an unbelievable 10% residual sugar. 2005 (90p) impressed a lot with fresh grapefruit, mango, and honey melon aromas. 2004 (88p) was significantly lighter and less rich than in 2005.
Muscadelle grapes showing first signs of botrytis attack at Nairac - doesn't it look like leopard skin? October 2008
*The story of NAIRAC 2003 - tasted from 10 different barrels/pickings in April 2004. An unbelievable sugar level in some selections!
Picked on 22-23.09.2003 - in the front of château, Sémillon grew on sand/clay/gravel, 30% potential alcohol. Extremely sugary liquid and fabulous botrytis.
Picked on 24-25.09.2003 - Sauvignon Blanc, 22% potential alcohol, high acidity.
Picked on 25.09.2003 - Sémillon coming from clay/limestone soil, 24% potential alcohol. Rich and complex, sweet and with fine acidity.
Picked on 26.09.2003 - right corner of the vineyard, Sémillon from gravelly soil, 27% potential alcohol. More robust and richer than the picking from the day before.
Picked on 26.09.2003 - the northern part of the vineyard, Sémillon, 14% potential alcohol. Light.
Picked on 27.09.2003 - parcel near Climens, Sémillon grew on clay/limestones, 25% potential alcohol. Reminds of picking from 26.09.2003, but more nuances here.
Picked on 29.09.2003 - parcel near Climens, Sémillon, 22% potential alcohol.
Picked on 01.10.2003 - in the front of château, Sémillon, 26% potential alcohol. Very sweet and long.
Picked on 02.10.2003 - Muscadelle, 24% potential alcohol. Extremely aromatic.
Picked on 02.10.2003 - in the front of the chateau, Sémillon, old vines resulting in an unbelievable 32% (!) potential alcohol. Pure essence!!!
Picked on 06.10.2003 - parcel near Climens, Sémillon, 21% potential alcohol. Extremely aromatic.