Different phases of botrytis development on grapes - as seen at Nairac in September 2004

Sauternes & Barsac district is situated app. 40 km south of Bordeaux town, at Garonne river's left bank, as an enclave in Graves district. There are five communes, named after the respective commune's main village: Barsac, Bommes, Fargues, Preignac and Sauternes.

Autumn has to be mild, humid and foggy, but neither too dry nor too rainy, before the fungus Botrytis cinerea attacks ripe white grapes. A little river, Le Ciron, which travels around 500 km down from the Pyrenees' cold mountains to Sauternes & Barsac and flows across the district until it ends in the Garonne river, is significantly colder than Garonne. This difference in temperature causes foggy and humid weather (especially during the morning), which is necessary for the fungus to spread.

Botrytis cinerea is interested in grapes' sugar, and the first sign of its attack are brown spots on grapes. Afterwards, the grapes became perforated, and their skin thin and wrinkled. Water evaporates through the perforated grape skin, and grapes shrink. In the end, they look like dried-up mothballs/prunes with a grey-white surface, which isn't a pleasant sight. But they taste heavenly, I should say.

Back in the "sad remains" of the grapes, there's an enormously concentrated juice with extremely high sugar content. Fortunately for us, the fungus won't consume this sugary liquid.

Most properties usually use only harvested grapes for Grand Vin with a potential alcohol content of at least 21 %. Fermentation bacteria can only convert the amount of sugar in grape juice to 13.5-15.5 % alcohol. In that way, the wine ends with remaining sugar corresponding to 5-7.5 % alcohol, which gives the wine natural sweetness.

Perfect food companion

This rare and extremely harmonious cooperation between sweetness, acidity and alcohol makes wines Sauternes & Barsac so exciting. Thanks to the remaining sugar, these wines have fresh and intense sweetness. They offer an incredibly vast range of nuances on the nose and the palate (acacia, honey, peach and tropical fruit), big body and refinement, finesse and sophisticated style. These wines are already extremely well-balanced from "birth", which means a very long life. 40-50 years for top wines in superb vintages.

Sauternes & Barsac wines are a perfect match for food (European, overseas, oriental and other) because, unlike red wines, they can cope with salt, fat and even all kind of spices. The reason for that is the remarkable sweetness of these wines. It's a free choice for everyone: Foie gras, oysters (!), cooked/steamed fish dishes in butter/crème sauce, light meat, cheese (especially goat and sheep ones) and fruit desserts are the typical and suitable choices. But dishes spiced with carry and chilli have no problems with sweet white wine because sweetness in this wine merges with spices in a very distinguished way – with even more nuances to follow. Try these dishes!

1996 - all wines were tasted in the summer of 2002

d'Yquem - an incredibly concentrated monster with at least 50 years of happy life ahead. Its thick consistens makes you believe that you can "cut" this wine in slices. 97p.

De Fargues - Whau! What a depth, complexity and pure botrytis level. This wine turns me on. 20-30 years more life or even longer? 96p.

Guiraud - spicy oranges, splendid botrytis, very complex and nuanced. Great potential. 10-15 years in the cellar. 90p.

Nairac - very elegant and harmonious, well-shaped with really good botrytis. Tasty. 5-10 years. 88p.

Raymond Lafon - very intense on the nose with honey and melon. A lot of finesse and perfect botrytis. Incredibly complex, full-bodied and sophisticated. This wine makes me extremely happy indeed. At least 20 years of satisfying life lie ahead of this wine. 93p.

La Tour Blanche - light, not a lot of botrytis, pleasant and soft. Will mature rather quickly. 86p.

1997 - all wines were tasted in the summer of 2002

Climens - as always, incredibly elegant, sophisticated and extremely nuanced. I'm in heaven! And it'll continue to do magics for another 20-25 years. 96-98p.

Coutet - fine botrytis but light wine. However, incredibly refined, elegant and gracious. It lacks some more concentration and depth to be stunning. Will do well for another 15 years. 88p.

Doisy Vedrines - fine botrytis and delicate balance. Well-made but a little bit simple. 8-10 years. 88p.

Guiraud - better botrytis, complexity and more length than in 1996. Spicy tropical fruits with oranges and citrus. Classy and thrilling wine. Will improve in the next ten years and stay there for another 10-15 years. 93p.

Lafaurie Peyraguey tastes like candy, dense, classic with many nuances. Brilliant wine. A delicacy of big calibre. It will last for a long time - 20+ years. 94p.

De Malle - delicate, refined and catchy wine. Delicious botrytis, full-bodied and with a lingering finish. This wine makes me love Bordeaux's sweet wines. Its beautiful balance ensures long life. 93p.

Nairac - a stunner. Only 5 hl/ha! Extremely concentrated, extremely elegant and extremely complex. Botrytis is so perfect and the acidity of this wine is so well-integrated, that this wine simply blows me away. I'm running out of words! How long will it last - 25+ years I suppose. 96p.

Raymond Lafon - what a beauty! Extremely sophisticated with perfect botrytis and wonderful balance. Honey, melon, peaches and apricot. An essence of Sauternes. Angels are singing beautifully. Will be long, long-lived. 97p

Rieussec - heavy stuff with many nuances, incredible length and complexity. A winner! Will surely improve in the next 15-20 years. 95p.

Sigalas Rabaud - incredibly well-developed botrytis, magnificently refined and sophisticated. What a concentration, balance and length. This wine makes you speechless for hours! 15-20 years of extremely enjoyable life. 94+p.

Suduiraut - fine botrytis, excellent finesse and balance. Very honeyed and tasting of apricots. 91p.

La Tour Blanche - elegance and finesse. Very harmonious and tasty (peaches and melon). Looks fine to me. 89p.

1998 - all wines were tasted in summer 2002

Barrejats (Barsac) - fine botrytis, really well-balanced and tasty. 88p.

Caillou - very elegant and sophisticated wine with pretty nice botrytis, fresh fruit and long aftertaste. Has a great potential. 90+p.

Cantegril (Barsac) - light with some spices. Nice fruit. Will mature very quickly. 84p.

Climens - a little out of balance at the moment. Not as thrilling as vintages 1997 and 1999. Time will tell. 88p.

Coutet - a disappointment. Light wine, not really harmonious and lacking depth. Will reach its peak in 5-7 years time. 86p.

Doisy Däene - almost the same style and quality as Sigalas Rabaud 1998. Simply wonderful! 94p.

Doisy Vedrines is close to the breathtaking 1999, but here we have less power and concentration. Never mind though - it's a beautiful wine. Keeps well for another 12-16 years. 92p.

Filhot - Very spicy and harmonious, not that sweet. Well-defined, full-bodied and with nice depth. A real charmer. 90p.

Guiraud - beautiful botrytis, very elegant and sophisticated. Apricot and orange peel. Stunningly classic wine. 15-20 years. 93p.

Lafaurie Peyraguey - Perfect harmony, fine botrytis, refined and very elegant. Delicious. 90p.

Lamothe-Guignard - harmonious, nice fruit, correctly made. Definitely not for long keeping. 87p.

de Malle - more depth, the intensity of fruit here is big. And botrytis is better integrated than in 1999. Yummy! 91p.

Nairac - rich on alcohol, spicy, refined and elegant. Promising future. 89-90p.

Raymond Lafon - slightly less concentrated than 1997 but angels are still singing with joy. 25+ years in the cellar. 94-96p.

Rayne Vigneau - very elegant, refined and spicy wine, which seduces you from the very first sip. Terrific winemaking. 91+p.

Sigalas Rabaud - powerful and spicy with big depth and intensity, perfect botrytis. The sweetness of fruit and backing acidity melt into a perfect marriage. Really a gift from heaven. 15-20 years. 95p.

Suduiraut - incredibly well-developed botrytis, excellent balance and well-structured. Long finish. Seems to have more of everything than 1997. 93p.

La Tour Blanche - very spicy, elegant, sophisticated and with many nuances. This splendid wine has a real breed. 92p.

1999 - all wines were tasted in summer 2002

Barrejats - surprise, surprise! A stunning example of what lesser-known /non-classified property can produce. Really well-defined botrytis, peaches, mango, acacia honey, elegant and powerful on the palate. Long aftertaste. Can taste like this for 5-10 more years. 92p.

Caillou - an elegant and well-made wine with nice sweetness and structure. Charming. 88p.

Climens - an essence of finesse and elegance with such grandiosity and complexity, you often dream about. 25-30 years. 96p.

Coutet - much better than 1997, more concentration, better botrytis and long aftertaste. 91-92p.

Doisy Däene - spicy acacia honey, quite sophisticated and nuanced. Splendid botrytis, not iron fist wine but soft hugs with finesse and love. Splendid wine for long-term cellaring. 90+p.

Doisy Vedrines - an extremely thrilling wine with a deep and intense nose of botrytis, apricots and peaches. Full-bodied and with many, many nuances. Splendid structure. Perfect winemaking. Halleluja! 94-96p.

Filhot - splendid botrytis, well-balanced, luscious tropical fruit. Quite seductive and of high quality. 90p.

Guiraud - as stunning as 1998! Well-deserved 93p.

Lafaurie Peyraguey - incredibly stylish and classy wine. Well-integrated botrytis and deliciously sweet fruit. Splendid structure and length on the palate. High quality. 91p.

Lamothe Guignard - light and fragile. Lacks botrytis and sweetness to be really something. 85p.

de Malle - delicious, tasty tropical fruit, very charming, elegant and full of finesse. Catchy wine. 88-89p

Rayne Vigneau - a full-bodied wine with intense spicy fruit (peaches and apricots). The aftertaste is slightly too short. Nice wine. 88p.

Sigalas Rabaud - very stylish and complete wine. Well-integrated botrytis and catching sweetness of the fruit. Nice combination of power and sublime character in this wine. This wine express 100% of what Sauternes is about. 92+p.

Suduiraut - what intensity and finesse. Fresh acidity and perfectly ripe fruit go hand in hand. Incredibly complex. Seems to be even better than in 1998. A wonderful wine for long keeping. 94p.

La Tour Blanche - refined and elegant. Fine botrytis, nice fruit with appealing sweetness. Terrific wine. 90p.



Rayne Vigneau 2000 - elegant, light, quite nice botrytis, harmonious and with finesse. Already very forward. 87p.

Rayne Vigneau 2001 – has improved magnificently since last year. There is extraordinary cooperation between acidity, the sweetness of fruit and botrytis plus richness and complexity for all the money. Simply exceptional wine! 2008-2025. 94+p.

Rayne Vigneau 2002 - more sugary than 2001 (dried raisins), botrytis slightly subdued, not as rich and nuanced as 2001. Nevertheless a splendid wine. 2006-2012. 91p.

Sigalas Rabaud 2001 – this extremely harmonious wine makes me close to bursting into tears of pure joy. It has already been magnificent last year and has gained even more richness, complexity and depth. Botrytis here is like an angel's song. Wow!!! 2010-2030. 96-98p.

Sigalas Rabaud 2002 - this property has been in sparkling form since 1996. 2002 is yet another stunning example of meticulous winemaking. Pure and refined botrytis, very spicy acacia honey, big concentration combined with many nuances, extremely long aftertaste. 2008-2018. 93+p.

Rayne Vigneau 2004 - fine and pure botrytis, elegant and round, full-bodied, nuanced and with splendid balance. Seems a bit four-square but has a lot of charm and finesse. 8-12 years. 91p.

LES JUSTICES (Same owner as Château Gilette)

Julie Gonet-Medeville - now in charge of Gilette, Les Justices and Respide Medeville

Les Justices 2000 - sweet (dried raisins), elegant, charming, quite full and well-structured. Nice try. 2005-2012.

Les Justices 2001 – an extraordinary level of botrytis, very rich and nuanced. This is the best vintage yet for this property and a steal buy! 2008-2020.

Les Justices 2002 - orange peel, mandarins, nice botrytis, fine concentration, fresh and sugary. Very nice effort - 2006-2016.


Following wines were tasted blind at Château Clos Haut Peyraguey on the 5th of April 2004. Wines are listed in tasting order.

1. Lamothe: Fine botrytis, pure and refined. 89p.

2. De Malle: Simply stupendous and fantastic nose of extremely aromatic and intense botrytis. Fantastic purity and intensity of fruit (acacia honey, mango and peach). This wine is sophisticated to the fingertips. 25 seconds aftertaste. Will easily keep for 20-25 years. What a catch! 97p.

3. Suau: Golden yellow. Intense, spicy nose of brown sugar. Concentrated and long on the palate. 91+p.

4. Caillou: Stunningly pure botrytis on the nose. Sophisticated and nuanced. Fascinating wine and a big surprise. 94+p.

5. Filhot: Stylish with breathtaking elegance. Incredibly sophisticated and perfectly shaped wine. A stunner. 95+p.

6. Lamothe Guignard: Sheer botrytis with great intensity. 93+p.

7. Doisy Vedrines: Pure and elegant botrytis. 89p.

8. d'Arche: Well-defined with lemon, peach and fine botrytis. 89p.

9. Doisy Däene: Just as stunning as Caillou. 95p.

10. Sigalas Rabaud. Not as thrilling as last year. Closed? 91p.

11. Myrat: Spicy acacia honey and a delicious one. 89p.

12. Guiraud: Splendid botrytis with a lot of character. Great length. 93p.

13. Rieussec: Strong, heavy and very long. Botrytis is simply stupendous here. 95p.

14. Coutet: Incredibly elegant, finesse and refinement. 92p.

15. Climens: This is knock-out wine. A dream came true! 100p.

16. Clos Haut Peyraguey: Stunning wine with sublime botrytis and splendid balance. 94p.

17. Lafaurie Peyraguey: What a thrilling botrytis, elegance and finesse. Incredibly rich. What a catch! 95p.

18. La Tour Blanche: Almost as stunning as Clos Haut Peyraguey. 93p.

19. Suduiraut: Very close to de Malle. What a thrilling wine! 96p.


Extreme conditions

Weather acted outrageously in 2003 with atypically warm March and beginning of April to start with, so flowering was two weeks in advance compared to the normal time for vines growing cycle. May entertained with quite a few millimetres of rain, while June and July contributed with almost no rain. August was a case for itself because this month's three first weeks had daily temperatures between 40-45°C, low humidity and a few drops of rain. Sauvignon Blanc, Semillón and Muscadelle became perfectly ripe when the second half of August began and just waited for Botrytis cinerea fungus' largely scaled attack.

This attack came after a light rain on the 8th of September and Botrytis cinerea simply flew from vine to vine and from grape to grape at astonishing speed, and quickly finished the job with botrytised grapes. The sunny and very hot weather with feeble wind continued until the end of September with approximately. 30°C at mid-day and cool nights. Grapes which already were super concentrated because of summer's high temperatures and drought got an extra concentration of aromas (tropical fruits) and sugar.

This meant of course low yield at the majority of properties and a high percentage of potential alcohol, which have never been seen before. In some places (for example at Château Nairac), there were barrels containing must between 27 to 32% potential alcohol! For the majority of properties, it was enough with three pickings in the vineyard and the harvest itself didn't exceed three weeks.

Extravagant wine and food companion

A really extravagant vintage for Sauternes & Barsac was born. 2003 is however barely so classic and homogenous vintage everywhere in the district, for example. 2001 and 1997, but I assume few will complain. Sweet Bordeaux wines are really good value for the money because prices on these wines don't accelerate at the same rocket speed as it is for red Bordeaux wines, so this is to great benefit for consumers.

Thanks to extravagantly high remaining sugar, 2003 wines possess simply breathtaking sweetness, which suits perfectly fish and mushroom soup, creamy and grilled/braised fish dishes, white meat, goat/ship cheeses and the saltiness of oysters.

These wines swing very well too with fresh fruit salads, sourish sorbets and ice-creams. If you dare to do a more freak combination, then try medium chilli and carry spiced cooking of Asian and Oriental origin. Sushi is also a possibility. Only fantasy sets limits. Sweet desserts are on the other hand a totally restricted area for sweet white wines because, in order to create co-operation, there should also be a challenge, but sweet plus very sweet makes no challenge at all.

The following 20 wines were tasted at Château La Tour Blanche in March 2006. These wines were assessed according to the 100 points scale and put in order below according to a given score.


This wine is the result of 9hl/ha yield and whole 9.5% (!) remaining sugar. Simply every wine-lovers dream wine with fantastically shaped and deep botrytis, extremely elegant and refined, sophisticated and incredibly graceful, formidable length on the palate and wildly long aftertaste. Balance here is simply stupendous and completes this perfect example of white sweet Bordeaux. It is pure magic to lay down for the next 20-25 years.


Here, the yield reached only 7 hl/ha and the remaining sugar landed at a simply unbelievable 12.7% (!). Light golden with incredibly pure and intense noble rot, really extravagant fruit sweetness and nuance richness, fatness and exquisite structure, incredibly stylish and brilliantly constructed wine. This is a breathtaking and sublime wine, which has at least 15 years of an eventful life. It is the best vintage for this property since the sensational 1997.


This property has been really impressive since 1998 vintage and is quickly approaching top wines in the district. Dark golden with well-defined botrytis, aromas of sun-dried raisins and Muscat on the nose, strong and powerful on the palate with much alcohol and lot of nuances. Great sweetness and fine balance. This is sheer enjoyment in the next 15-18 years.


We have here superb noble rot, superb fruit sweetness and superb wine. This is a wine of great class and charisma with a vast choice of tropical fruits, well supported by discrete acidity, with beautiful length on the palate and lasting aftertaste. It is a brilliant wine, which easily can be laid down for 12-18 years.


Light golden. It is a beautiful wine with beautiful botrytis and palate, incredibly elegant and gracious, refined and delicate. Even if this wine is on the light side, there is no limit on how much you enjoy this heartbreaker wine! It is well-suited for 12-18 years of additional cellaring.


Straw yellow. This wine is very Muscat-like on the nose, refined and with splendid elegance. Fruit sweetness and acidity work perfectly together here. It is a delicate and captivating wine to enjoy in the next 10-15 years.


Golden. It has splendid noble rot, an intense and deep nose of brown sugar, cocoa and spicy pineapple, and is long on the palate with great depth, fine structure and persistent aftertaste. It is a very successful wine for this property and is to be enjoyed in the next 8-12 years.


Fine and intense botrytis, otherwise this wine is quite closed and well-marked by new oak. It is difficult to assess for the moment, but I believe it will get a higher score when all ingredients here calm down and become integrated.


Straw yellow. Honey melon, apricot and pineapple on the nose, delicious fruit sweetness on the palate, fine structure and fine elegance. One of the best wines I have tasted from this property, delicious and tasty. Will keep for 10-15 years.


I have actually expected a more energetic wine with more concentration than one tasted at the day. Even if it has excellent noble rot, lusciousness, super elegance and fine balance, this wine seems however to be a bit flat and lacks some freshness, and shows slightly under the level of this property's capacity. Maybe this wine just needs some more time in the bottle. One to lay down for 10-15 years horizontally.


Light golden. Splendid and well-defined on the nose with aromas of melon, peach and apricot,  powerful taste of tropical fruits (pineapple and guava), well-balanced, and honey marked aftertaste. It's nicely constructed wine, which easily lasts for the next 10-15 years.


As it was the case for Lafaurie Peyraguey, de Malle underperformed somehow in April 2006. This wine reminds me a lot of Lafaurie Peyraguey. I really hope/believe that de Malle returns to full blossom after one more year in the bottle.


Also, this wine underperformed in April 2006 – closed and not willing to give anything from itself. Was however tasted 5 months later and then it was considerably easier and open to taste. More time in the bottle has obviously helped this wine to improve. If this wine further improves, then higher score and longer cellaring time (15-20 years) are well on their way.


It is a quite well-made wine with fine noble rot, nice depth and length on the palate and quite a long aftertaste. Not that much complicated and difficult to understand - it should just be enjoyed quietly. Already quite drinkable but will be like that in additional 4-8 years.


Light golden. Strong and robust with intense tropical fruits, well supported by marked acidity. However, this wine seems a bit disjointed, which tells you that this wine has not found itself yet Give it time.


Straw yellow. Acacia honey on the nose and palate, light and mineral. It is packed with fruit sweetness and corresponding acidity. All in all, it is error-free wine, which will make many wines freaks happy with its straightforwardness. This wine can be enjoyed already now and during the next 5-8 years.


Light golden. It is quite a nice wine with well-formed botrytis and nice concentration. Is very sugary on the palate and seems to lack a bit of more acidity, therefore this wine is no a big deal. It is ready to drink now and in the next 4-7 years.


It is totally similar to Caillou, therefore the same description here.


In spite of somewhat well-defined and intense noble rot, this wine presented itself in quite a disharmonic and tart shape. Maybe it is just a transition phase and maybe this wine just needs more time in the bottle to recover. We will have to see.


It is a wine with adorable noble rot, but a bit chemical on the nose. Short on the palate, lacks sweetness and tastes dry. This wine is just average and anonymous and will live for 3-5 years.


In addition to 2005 and 2003, I did also taste 2004, 2002 and 2001 at the property in March 2006. Here are my TNs.

La Tour Blanche 2004 - because of severe selection in the vineyard, yield per ha was only 3 hl/ha, which is one-fifth to one-sixth of normal yield! Light golden, very concentrated and intense on the nose and palate. Stunning botrytis, extremely long and deep on the palate. Lots and lots of papaya, melon and acacia honey here. It's a fantastic vine for the vintage, with exquisite structure and multi-layered, and with a very long aftertaste. Better than 2003 LTB here and very close to magnificent 2001 LTB. May well keep for more than 20 years. Wow! 96-97p. Retasted in April 2007 - same impression and score as in March 2006.

La Tour Blanche 2002 - light, extremely elegant and seductive, nice sweetness and acidity. Fine quality for drinking this wine with great pleasure in the next 4-6 years. 91p. Retasted in April 2007 - same impression and score as in March 2006.

La Tour Blanche 2001 - light golden with simply fabulously shaped botrytis, very intense and deep on the nose. Extremely refined and sophisticated on the palate with a perfect balance between the sweetness of the fruit and acidity. Simply outstanding wine for 20-25 years in heaven. 97-98p.

Alcoholic fermentation of Sauvignon Blanc in barrel proceeds on full speed at Château Nairac - October 2006


Tasted in March 2008


What thrilling botrytised flavours, elegance and finesse. Incredibly rich, dense and long on the palate. A beautiful example of this vintage's potential.


Very intense flavours of acacia, peach and orange peel on the nose. Tastes like candy, dense, classic with many, many nuances. Very intelligent wine. Great balance and finish. A delicacy of big calibre.


More feel of alcohol here than in 2001, 1997, 1907 and 1906. More powerful than usual with botrytised flavours of sweet/candied pineapple, apricot and brown sugar. Very well balanced, deep and very honeyed aftertaste. Splendid effort.


Simply magnificent wine giving aromas of mango and acacia honey and has great acidity. Well-preserved with beautiful balance, enchanting flavours, attraction and finesse. Still quite fresh. Stunning 100+ years old wine.


One of the greatest vintages ever in Sauternes & Barsac. This wine is almost as stunning as 1907 but seems to be more advanced in age with flavours of creme brulée. It's beauty anyway.


Following wines (except Raymond Lafon) were tasted BLIND at Château Doisy Daëne on the 10th April 2008. Wines from Doisy Daëne tasting are listed according to obtained score

2005 harvest at La Tour Blanche. These ugly grapes are looking just fine, aren't they?

2005 is yet another outstanding vintage in Sauternes & Barsac history. It started with relatively quiet and cool winter months. Spring was warm with a lot of sunshine and temperature reached occasionally 30 degrees Celsius in both April and June. From May to September, Bordeaux experienced only a few millimetres of rain, but vines adapted themselves really well to the lack of water, despite the fact, that both summer and autumn were quite warm, but not excessively warm. Summer nights were cool, so vines could "cool down" and grapes were able to keep aromas and freshness. Isolated rain showers at the beginning of September kick-started the "attack" of Botrytis cinerea fungus.

Most properties started picking at the end of September and finished one month later with 3-5 tries. The weather throughout this period was extremely advantageous with no rain, fog in the morning, warm afternoons and chilly nights. The sanitary condition of grapes was simply excellent - with no diseases at all grapes looked healthy and there was nothing to throw away. Therefore the quantity in 2005 was around twice the normal, causing space problem in the cellar for some properties.

2005 is definitely close in style to 2001, probably richer in aromas and deeper in some places, but has the same exceptional balance between sweetness and acidity, breed, length and purity as 2001. The greatness of the vintage can be told by a number of successful wines in the district and 2005 has a lot of these. The tasting was a home run from start to end, and I had the feeling that all the wines tasted would easily improve further.

2005 will be a perfect food companion to fish soup/dishes, foie gras, chicken and other light meat, goat/sheep cheeses, sorbets of orange, lemon, blackcurrant, liquorice and pineapple, and fruit salads.

At the tasting, I met a young generation of the Dubordieu family, Fabrice Dubordieu. A very cultivated and intelligent young man, who has incredible knowledge about other countries and what's happening all over the world. Doisy Daëne will certainly benefit from this, once Fabrice takes over the management.


This wine is the result of 24 hl/ha yield. After the first sniff and sip, I was left with no doubt whatsoever, that the wine in the glass was Climens. The striking purity, elegance, finesse, refinement and sophisticated touch of this wine made an astonishingly beautiful impression. Fantastic harmony between sweetness and acidity. Wow! There're so many layers in this wine to dig in! I believe this wine will be as heavenly as 2001. One to lay down for at least 20+ years.


This property made really stunning vintages 1997 and 2001, but vintages 2003 and 2005 really show the incredible skills of Nairac's winemaker, Nicolas Heeter-Tari.

Nairac has its own special style of heavier construction and not that much finesse than Climens, and it's more sugary. Also here I was pretty sure that my glass had Nairac in it. This wine displayed incredibly intense botrytis, freshness, beautiful partnership between acidity and splendid sweetness of fruit, enchanting fragrance of acacia flower, sophisticated touch and long lingering aftertaste. This was a sublime and breathtaking effort. Nicolas Heeter-Tari believes 2005 is better than 2001 at Nairac and that it will compete with 2003. I agree! One to keep for several decades.


I'm very, very impressed of this property, as it always is placed in the top five in my tastings, both during primeur tasting and already bottled vintage(s). It never disappoints!

This was a wine of great class and charisma with a vast choice of melon, peaches and apricots, perfectly supported by discrete acidity, with beautiful length on the palate and long-lasting aftertaste. Truly sophisticated wine, which easily will show its stunning qualities for the next 15-20 years.


This property hasn't always been a perfect example of stability, but in 2005 vintage it really hit the bull's eye. Very much in the style of Clos Haut Peyraguey and exactly as impressive. Will keep all its splendid qualities going for 15-20 years.


I really like Coutet because its wine seems never to be overdone. In April 2008, it was a beautiful wine with the aroma of acacia flower, pineapple and peach, incredibly elegant and gracious touch, splendid sweetness and acidity, refined and delicate on the palate and smooth finish. Despite being on the light side, there was no limit on how much you could adore this heartbreaker wine! It is well-suited for 12-18 years of additional cellaring.


Very much Barsac and very much in the footsteps of Coutet. Really impressive. It may end with a high score of 2001.


This property almost never participates in my tastings, but I was extremely happy to see and taste it in April 2005. True Barsac wine as Coutet and Doisy Daëne are and it was equally impressive. Delicate, tasty and with impeccable balance. Pure enjoyment for 12-18 years.


This is one of the most reliable properties in the district, which mix power and elegance in a beautiful way. It seemed to follow in 2001 vintage's tracks with excellently botrytised fruit flavours of apricots, peaches, oranges/orange peel, lusciousness, refinement, super elegance and exquisite balance. Gorgeous wine for keeping in the next 15-20 years.


This property has been on the fine run since 1997 and its 2005 is without question among the best wines in the district. It's close to the quality of 2001 with pure aromas of acacia flower, mango and orange peel, splendid structure and intensity of fruit, and fine cooperation between sweetness and acidity. Great wine with a sophisticated touch. To lay down for 15-20 years.


This was a really, really splendid effort from this property, which not always is consistent. It reminded a lot of Lafaurie Peyraguey. Same keeping period.


As de Malle, this property has had a fine run from 1997 to 2005. I doubt 2005 will reach the heights of 2001, but it's a stunning effort anyway. A true delicacy for Sauternes fans to enjoy for 15-20 years.


This property made a stunning wine in 2001. Even if 2005 isn't that close in terms of concentration and depth, you get here a proper share of delicious elegance and finesse. This wine possessed a lot of charm and seduction and tasted extremely well. 12-16 years horizontally.


A really big surprise here, for this property, doesn't normally produce wines of such fine calibre. Obviously, everything went smoothly in 2005 here, and with easy harvest and no diseases, the winemaking team couldn't miss making fine wine. I must say I found the wine here as fine as Filhot. Maybe it'll not last as long as Filhot, but for the time being it's real heartbreaker wine.


Surprisingly well-knitted wine with pure aroma of botrytised fruit, fine acidity and corresponding acidity. Very smooth on the palate and with a delicious aftertaste. Delicate and really tasty. Splendid effort. 10-15 years horizontally.


Very oaky and closed, spicy, broad-shouldered and very concentrated. Rieussec has always been a long time runner, so here you have to be patient. There's no doubt that this wine will vastly improve with a possible score of 94-95p if it develops as predicted.


The closest neighbour to Lafaurie Peuraguey and close in style to it. A very stylish and complete wine. Well-integrated botrytis aromas and catching sweetness of the fruit. Nice combination of power and sublime character in this wine. Will provide enough enjoyment for Sauternes fans in the next 12-15 years


Honey melon, apricot and pineapple on the nose, delicious fruit sweetness on the palate, fine structure and fine elegance. Well-knitted, harmonious, delicate and tasty. One of the best wines I've ever tasted from this property. Will keep for 10-15 years.


Almost as fine as Lamothe Guignard with less elegance. Round, smooth and well-balanced. One to enjoy now and in the next 10-15 years.


It was a quite well-made wine with a fine aroma of botrytised fruit, nice depth and length on the palate and a quite long aftertaste. Not too complicated and not too difficult to understand - it should just be enjoyed without much too much thinking. Already drinkable but will be like that in additional 6-10 years.


Same description as for D'Arche.


For the standards of this property, it was a fine effort, close to the style of d'Arche and Suau. Very enjoyable wine now and for 5-8 more years.

And one more wine tasted, which wasn't included at the Doisy Daëne tasting.

RAYMOND LAFON 96p (tasted not blind at the property)

70% of the harvest went into Grand Vin. Aromatic and intense nose of apricot, honey melon and acacia honey, stunning depth and complexity, very refined and sophisticated. Beautifully balanced. This was an extremely well-made wine of pure class. Will keep without any problems for 20-25 years.

STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN 1 – D'YQUEM 2005-2004-2003-2002-2001 - TASTED ON THE 6TH APRIL 2009

This tasting echoed a tasting of 65 vintages Yquem which took place in Copenhagen exactly 4 years ago. Unforgettable and mind-boggling experience.

My friend Alexandre Rychlewski (owner of translating company Traduction Aquitaine based in Bordeaux which translates websites for several chateaux in Bordeaux including Yquem) and I came to Yquem Monday morning the 6th of April in beautiful sunshine. All was set for an unforgettable visit and sure it turned out like that!

We were welcomed by Sandrine Garbay, cellar master at Yquem since 1994, who willingly answered all our questions.

The show started off with Yquems white wine, Ygrec 2006, which has a new chicky label starting with that vintage.

Ygrec has been made in 1959 but not every year. In 2001 and 2003 there was no Ygrec – Sandrine Garbay said that grapes were simply too good to put in Ygrec. Since 2004 it is made every year. Ygrec 2006 is 60% SB and 40% Semillon, 30% new oak, 70% 2 years old barrels, 10 months in barrels under batonnage, then 3-6 months in vats. She explained, that it's difficult to make really good white wine in Sauternes due to much clay in the soil, which gives much bitterness. That's why SB is harvested overmatured and therefore with less bitterness.

The wine itself was very aromatic with lemon, acacia flower and citrus with a touch of sweetness (honey melon), well balanced and round on the aftertaste. Will make a really fine companion to food at garden parties.

Now to the stars of the morning:

Yquem is aged less since 2003 – 24-30 months in order to give it more freshness.

d'Yquem 2005

80% of the harvest into Grand Vin. Residual sugar 8%, alcohol 13.3%, acidity 3.6 g/l H2SO4.
Extraordinary intensity of botrytised flavours – acacia flower, acacia honey, honey melon, pear, peach and apricot. Very sublime, subtle, sophisticated, extremely long, sticks to the tongue. Acidity supports fruit in a beautiful way. The depth, structure and purity in this wine are simply awesome. One to keep for 50-60 years. 98-99p.

d'Yquem 2004

50% of the harvest into Grand Vin. Residual sugar 7.3%, alcohol 13.53%, acidity 4.8 g/l H2SO4.
Extraordinary nose with reduced flavours (nuts) and pear. Fresh, very elegant and refined. Incredible finesse and silky texture. Long, caressing and honeyed finish. Awesome stuff for several decades to enjoy. 96-97p.

d'Yquem 2003

80% of the harvest into Grand Vin. Residual sugar 8.3%, alcohol 13.5%, acidity 4.2 g/l H2SO4. Harvest ended on the record-breaking earliest date of 26th September and lasted only 9 days!
I'm totally in heaven. Extraordinarily concentrated aromas of dried fruits, candied orange peel, mango, guava, and candied apricot. Phenomenal purity and intensity. Wow! Incredibly long ongoing aftertaste which lasts for more than one minute. Paradise in heaven. 100p.

d'Yquem 2002

Residual sugar 7.3%, alcohol 14.0%, acidity 4.5 g/l H2SO4.
A lighter version of 2004. Fresh, sweet apples and pears. Immensely seductive. Acidity is supporting fruit in a tremendous way. Again you find here outstanding balance, purity and finesse. Extraordinary wine. 95-96p.

d'Yquem 2001

Residual sugar 9.3%, alcohol 13.6%, acidity 4.6 g/l H2SO4.

The nose here is simply out of this world with extreme depth and explosion of flavours like nuts, acacia flower, honey melon, peach and apricot. Stunning vivacity and richness on the palate and what an interplay between fantastic fruit and fantastic acidity. This wine grabs your attention immediately, seduces you and won't let you go. What an angelic treat it is! I guess it will live for 50-70 years. 100p. This vintage is Sandrine Garbay's favourite among the 14 vintages she has made at d'Yquem.



Cypres de Climens 2006 88p

Very sweet, aromas of peach and honey melon, fine balance, elegant and round. A real pleasure to drink now and in the next 3-5 years.

Cypres de Climens 2005 90p

More botrytised flavours here than in Cypres 2006 – apricot, peach and acacia honey. Beautifully balanced and with a creamy texture. Really intense for a second wine. Terrific effort. 4-6 years horizontally.

Cypres de Climens 2004 88p

Tastes like a twin sister of Cypres 2006.

Climens 2007 (still in barrel) 97-100p

Offers fabulous showing of breathtaking elegance, purity and wonderful balance. When you add striking depth and intensity of botrytised flavours, and perfectly placed acidity to support sweetness, then this wine can't be more exceptional than it already is. Will without any doubt go in history books! C'est magnifique!

Climens 2006 96p

It has impressed me a lot since first tasting from the barrel. Hits your nose and palate immediately with stunning depth, concentration and great balance. Strong botrytised aromas of orange peel, fresh-cut and candied. Impressive length on the palate and very honeyed aftertaste. Will keep for another 15-20 years.

Climens 2005 99p

Whole 80% of the harvest went into Grand Vin. This wine is so, so perfect! It's sublime all over with marvelous intensity, depth, richness and harmony between acidity and sweetness. Sophisticated en large. Strong botrytised flavours of acacia honey, apricot, peach and oranges. So stylish and elegant than you scream. This wine has an incredible potential and will last for at least half a century.

Climens 2004 93p

Significantly lighter than 2005 and showing less botrytised flavours than 2005. It is understandable since noble rot's journey through vines of Climens in 2004 was long, uneven and interrupted by outbreaks of rain. Nevertheless, it doesn't lack the usual Climens goodies, like pure elegance and finesse. Fine showing of botrytised flavours of apple cake with vanilla cream on top and candied apple/pear. Very seductive wine indeed. 10-15 years horizontally.

Climens 2003 100p

87% of the harvest went into Grand Vin – there were very few grapes to discard. It possesses the highest level of residual sugar (9.6%) in the modern time vintages for Climens. This is a pure extravaganza. Not really classic wine from Climens but what an exotic, concentrated and special one. By the first sniff, you feel the extreme concentration of tropical aromas on the nose – red sweet grapefruit, mango, sweet pineapple, honey melon, watermelon, guava and candied apricot. Everything in this wine is extraordinary – richness, elegance, balance, subtlety and aftertaste. Acidity sits perfectly as the fundament of this wine. Pure heaven! 40-50 years in the cellar.

Climens 2002 92p

Candied mandarine peel, sugar melasse, mango and candied apricot. It's great depth, fine balance and caressing aftertaste. Sensual and sublime. Lighter in texture than normal, but what an elegance and finesse. Terrific to taste already and will stay like that for additional 10 years.

Climens 2001 100p

Low yield – only 6 hl! The richness, subtlety and sophisticated touch of this wine is simply phenomenal! When you add the wonderful complexity, depth, mega long aftertaste and perfect match between acidity and botrytised/reduced flavours, you simply have one of the best sweet wines in the world. 50-60 years' life or even longer!

Climens 2000 91p

Microscopic yield due to persistent rain in the second half of October – barely 4 hl/ha! All the botrytised grapes harvested before the rain provided fine sweetness and acidity, roundness and a lot of charm. Quite forward. Drinks incredibly well already now.

Climens 1999 90p

Very well-structured wine and quite intense on the nose. Acacia flower, pear and touch of oranges. Light texture, smooth on the palate and very harmonious finish. It's splendid wine to drink now and in the next 12-18 years.

Climens 1998 93p

This wine has finally opened for all the good things. Great depth and intense botrytised aromas of pear and acacia flower. It possesses terrific elegance and finesse, long and caressing aftertaste. Eminent wine with subtlety and charisma. 15-20 years in the cellar.

Climens 1997 98p

In this vintage Climens has been in a backward stage for several years. In April 2009 however, it opened up with really impressive stuff. Candied orange peel/mandarine peel, excellent depth and sophisticated touch. It's quite similar to Climens 2001 with all its richness, supporting acidity and wonderful balance. Pure class! This jewel is to be kept for a long time – 25-30 years.

Climens 1996 95p

Incredibly classy and sublime wine – a lot of finesse and refinement. Acacia flower and honey intermixed with peach and apricot. Perfectly balanced and well-structured. Long and beautiful finish with flower honey flavour. Will last for another 15-20 years.

Climens 1995 94p

Mango, pineapple and orange peel, perfectly constructed wine with extremely fine acidity and corresponding fruit. Big, long and creamy honeyed aftertaste. Stupendous quality here. 15-20 years horizontally.

Climens 1994 91p

Baked apple cake with some brown sugar on top, nice botrytised aromas, nice acidity but not that much sweetness here. Drinkable now and in the next 6-8 years.

Climens 1991 90p

Only 5 ha/hl due to frost in April. Soft and light texture, elegant, round and with a nice intensity of pear and apricot. Finishes smoothly. Success for this difficult vintage and great effort of the winemaker. To be consumed in the next 4-5 years.

Climens 1990 98p

A big wine with much remaining sugar. Sweet mandarin peel, fresh-cut and candied, crème brulée, big concentration, enormous on the palate. Excellent support of acidity to the fruit. Not that much elegance and finesse associated with Climens is apparent here, but the quality of this wine is exceptional. A long-term runner – 25-30 years.

Climens 1989 99p

Not that big and alcoholic like 1990. More elegance, finesse and refinement here. Astonishingly fine wine. Will keep for at least 20 more years.

Climens 1988 97p

This wine is extremely long on the palate, extremely elegant and sophisticated. Not as big-headed as 1990 and 1989, and not the same intensity of botrytised flavours (candied fruit), but the depth, structure and length are impressive. Acidity and fruit are perfect marriage and finish is smooth and honeyed. Awesome stuff. 25-30 years horisontally.

Climens 1986 98p

Reminds a lot of Climens 1988, but seems more refined and more intense. Botrytised flavours of peach, apricot and pear are simply staggeringly intense. Magnificent wine. Same keeping prospectives as for Climens 1988.

Climens 1985 90p

It's quite fresh on the acidity side, which is nicely matched by fruit. Raisiny flavours and caramel. Noble rot hasn't had an important role in 1985 and the flavours were the result of grapes being dried by wind. Round, nicely balanced and with a soft finish. Drinks very well now.

Climens 1983 100p

Direct hit in bull's eye here ! Simply fabulous on the nose with extraordinary intensity and depth. Fabulous acidity matching botrytised flavours of acacia flower, pear, peach and apricot, and reduced flavours (nuts). Stunningly rich and sophisticated. Still very young, fresh and vivid. What a class act! At age of almost 26 years it's apparent, that this wine can keep for at least a quarter of century more.

Climens 1982 88p

Not that sweet and botrytised, light, charming and round. This wine has short but smooth finish. Should be consumed within the next 2-4 years.

Climens 1981 91p

More depth, bigger intensity of botrytised flavours and better structure than in Climens 1982. The length and aftertaste are also significantly longer here. Splendid wine. 5-7 more years in the cellar.

Climens 1980 95p

This wine is a revelation when you think of weather conditions during harvest. Very creme brulee and vanilla pudding on the nose, intense, very elegant, stylish and fresh. The balance, structure and honeyed finish here complete this wonderful wine. 10-15 more years.

Climens 1979 93p

It's a extremely well-made wine, which offers a blend of botrytised flavours like candied orange peel with reduced flavour of nuts and aromas of dried apricot and prune. Very elegant and splendidly concentrated on the palate, excellent acidity, sophisticated, long and with caressing aftertaste. Delightful to drink now and in the next 6-8 years.

Climens 1978 94p

It's great intensity of different aromas of botrytised and dried fruit like orange and mandarin. Fabulous on the palate with big support of the acidity. Great balance and long honeyed aftertaste. Slightly better than Climens 1979.

Climens 1977 90p

Small yields at Climens in this vintage, due to frost in the spring. In the context of the vintage, it's successful wine on the light side, extremely charming, round and seductive. Acacia honey on the finish. Drinks nicely now.

Climens 1976 100p

This is heaven. Incredibly rich, incredibly structured, incredible balance. Yep – everything is incredible in this wine. Big crop but severe selection (only 32% went into Grand Vin) ensured fantastic quality here. Dream wine. Will stay like that for another 10-15 years.

Climens 1975 100p

This wine oozes pure class and style! It's a wonderful balance and fantastic length. We are hitting the roof. A legend. Same keeping possibilities as for Climens 1976.

Climens 1974 88p

Together with 1969 and 1982 the least entertaining wine. This said, it is a round, charming and very drinkable wine, which has reasonable sweetness. To be consumed now.

Climens 1973 92p

Wonderful balance between acidity and botrytised flavours of acacia honey, mandarines, orange/apricot peel plus a touch of raisins in rum. Surprisingly deep, refined and with an entertaining aftertaste. This is stupendous wine, even if it lacks the great intensity of botrytised flavours. 3-5 more years in the cellar.

Climens 1972 93p

This wine is even better, deeper and with more botrytised flavours than Climens 1973. Acidity is fresh and makes sure that the wine in question is alive and vivid. Great work of the winemaker here! Will entertain for 3-5 more years.

Climens 1971 100p

Acacia flower/honey simply explodes on the nose. Angels sing and sing and sing. I'm blown away by this wine. It's angelic length and finish, Shows extraordinary complexity. The balance between candied fruit and acidity is simply phenomenal. Finesse, elegance and sophisticated touch here is exceptional. What a wine! Will certainly turn the age of 50 years!

Climens 1970 96p

Again and again the nose erupts of orange peel, heather honey, crème brulee and candied pineapple aromas. Fabulous balance, structure and richness. Aftertaste simply won't let you go – goes on and on and on. Simply magnificent wine. Will stay like that until it's 45 years old.

Climens 1969 88p

Darkest color of all 37 Climens vintages – dark amber. Brown sugar, acidity is apparent and puts sweetness in the background. Nice concentration and round aftertaste. Keeps well at the moment but this won't last for more than a few years.

Climens 1967 100p

Da bomb! Viscous texture. Very deep, rich and spicy with plenty of botrytised flavours. Fantastic length, structure and intensity. Candied mandarin peel, candied apricots and crème brulee. Fantastic acidity to balance the sweetness. A wine at its peak. This is heaven! Will certainly celebrate its 50 years birthday!

Climens 1964 95p

Magnificent showing here! Great sweetness, crème brulee, great acidity, finesse and beautiful balance. Strikingly rich and sophisticated. The finish is gracious, smooth and very honeyed. Extraordinary stuff. 4-6 more years in the cellar.


Following wines (except Raymond Lafon) were tasted BLIND at Château de Myrat on the 8th April 2010. Doisy Dubroca, Lafaurie Peuraguey and Suduiraut didn't wish to participate in this tasting and Rieussec wasn't bottled at that time. Wines from this tasting are listed according to obtained score.

2007 showed a normal growing season without extremes and the physiological maturity of white grapes was achieved by the middle of September. Harvest lasted for two months and the result was grapes with pure botrytised flavours and freshness. This vintage is characterized by purity, elegance and very refined style, and it succeeded all over the district. Time will tell if it exceeds the 2005 vintage in terms of richness and longevity. Anyway, it's yet another great vintage in the collection!

Tasting room at Château de Myrat


Sublime and aristocratic on the nose, honeyed on the palate with pear, refined and complex. Fantastic harmony between sweetness and acidity. Astonishing length and depth. A pure beauty. 20-30 years horizontally.


This property has become an example of great stability and great quality since vintage 2001. Very distinguished nose here of pear, peach and acacia flower, excellent intensity, very complex and long on the palate. Awesome treat. Keep it for 15-20 years.


I'm very, very impressed with this property, as it is always placed in the top five in my tastings during primeur tasting and already bottled vintage(s). It never disappoints! Great intensity of botrytised flavours and big depth on both nose and palate with citrus, acacia, and lemon peel. Sweetness is perfectly supported by discrete acidity, long honeyed aftertaste, finesse and sophisticated touch.


Very much like Barsac wine with an intense aroma of acacia flower, pineapple and peach, incredibly elegant and gracious touch, splendid sweetness and acidity, refined and delicate on the palate and smooth finish. It is well-suited for 12-18 years of additional cellaring.


This property has been on a fine run since 1997 and its 2007 will imho compete with the 2005 vintage. It's pure aromas of acacia flower, mango and orange peel, splendid structure, the splendid intensity of fruit and fine cooperation between sweetness and acidity. Great wine with a sophisticated touch. To lay down for 15-20 years.


Very stylish and complete wine. Well-integrated botrytised flavours and catching sweetness of the fruit. Cracking combination of power and sublime character in this wine. Will provide plenty of enjoyment for Sauternes fans in the next 12-15 years


As de Malle, this property had fine run from 1997 to 2005. I doubt 2007 will reach the heights of 2001 of 2005, but it's a stunning effort anyway. A true delicacy for Sauternes fans to enjoy for 15-20 years.


It's a long time ago since I've tasted so splendid effort from this property. Great intensity and depth on both nose and palate with citrus, acacia, and lemon peel. Finesse and sophisticated touch. Great balance and length. Will make you happy for 12-18 years.


Pineapple and peach, long on the palate with a lingering aftertaste, a fine balance between fruit and acidity. A fine effort from this property. Will provide pleasure for 10-15 years.


Sugary and spicy, crème brulee and mango, splendid acidity and length. Very tasty and attractive. To keep for 12-18 years.


Same style as de Myrat with less intensity and length. Well-made wine with a delicate balance between sweetness and acidity.


The surprisingly splendid effort from this underperforming property - the best wine I've ever tasted from it. You can't complain! Very intense botrytised flavours of peach, candied orange peel and pear. Very concentrated with great complexity and length. 12-15 years.


A more concentrated version of Lamothe Guignard. Same keeping time.


Petrol flavours, apricot and pineapple on the nose, delicious fruit sweetness on the palate, fine structure and elegance. Well-knitted, harmonious, delicate and tasty. One of the best wines I've ever tasted from this property. Will keep for 10-15 years.


Much lighter than vintage 2005, but you can't ignore the sheer elegance, finesse and charm this wine has. Seductive and very enjoyable. Maybe it will take on weight after a long time in the bottle. 10-15 years in the cellar.


Very much in the same style as Coutet. I've, however, expected a bit more from this heartbreaker wine.


On the light side, pretty elegant with very nice flavours of acacia, peach and apricot. 10-15 years horizontally.


Round, smooth and well-balanced. One to enjoy now and in the next 10-15 years.


Elegant nose of peach, pear and acacia, soft and fruity on the palate with good acidity. Nice, faultless wine.

And one more wine tasted blind, which wasn't included at the de Myrat tasting.

RAYMOND LAFON 95-96p (still in barrel)

Intense botrytised aromas of lemon, grapefruit, orange peel and citrus, strong on the palate, mineral, beautiful acidity and honeyed aftertaste. Impressive wine for the vintage.