Sauternes wine making and tasting

Sauternes
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Sauternes wine making ...
The Gironde is a paradise for lovers of good wines . It is home to some of the most prestigious wine appellations in France : Pauillac, Margaux, Saint-Emilion, Pomerol ... Today, I would like to tell you about one of my favorites: Sauternes . I went to meet the winegrowers who make it to reveal its history and its development . I will also reveal the tips for a good tasting.

A prestigious appellation from a wonderful region

Sauternes wine

The forest and the vines as far as the eye can see

In this region conducive to growing vines , quality grapes have been harvested since Roman times to make delicious beverages . At Sauternes , the planets have aligned to produce exceptional clusters . Indeed, the region benefits from a very particular ecosystem thanks to the composition of the soil, the humidity and ideal air temperature due to the proximity of the Garonne and the cooler Ciron river which flows through the undergrowth. This microclimate favors mists and helps the development of the fungus which will give all its letters of nobility to Sauternes .

Did you know that Sauternes is made from grapes whose ripening is advanced? It is a fungus, Botrytis Cinerea which, by developing on the bunch, will bring this particular touch. This is called " noble rot" . Not to be confused with mold, which would not give the same taste at all ... History tells us that an owner arrived late on his estate to harvest, but still used very ripe grapes to make wine. It was the start of a grand cru, the sweet wine of Sauternes.

Sauternes wine

Superb guided tour of the Château de la Tour Blanche

The development of Sauternes

To make Sauternes, you need grapes but above all a lot of patience and a great deal of know-how ! First of all, you have to know the ideal time to harvest. The whole bunch must be ripe but not too much at the risk of losing taste. The grape will successively reach 3 stages: golden, candied golden and candied rot (the best of the best). To extract the best, the harvesters sometimes harvest part of the bunch and leave the rest so that it still ripens. Thus, they can return 6 times on the same vine to extract the grapes at the right time! Patience I told you ... You can imagine, impossible to use machines for this type of harvest and the pickers must imperatively make the difference between " noble rot" and musty ... A real work of precision.

Sauternes wine

The superb color of Sauternes

Harvesting is therefore a key moment and the bunches must be handled with great care . They are then passed on a sorting table to be rechecked and then to the press. The extracted juice is then placed in settling tanks to be naturally filtered and then it is placed in stainless steel tanks or in barrels.

The process has been refined for centuries and follows very precise rules. The fermentation cellars are kept at 20 ° C to help the yeast come into action . Then, the temperature is lowered to 1 ° C to stop this process in order to keep the sugar present in the juice. It will still take 1 or 2 years before you can taste this delicious Sauternes.

Sauternes wine

The beautiful cellars of the Château de la Tour Blanche

Visit of the castles in Sauternes

To learn more about Sauternes and to be able to judge for myself, I pushed the door of the Château de la Tour Blanche to Bommes . Their production has been classified grand cru since 1855 ! A real institution in the field. It is possible to visit it and I had a real crush on the cellars , its superb wooden barrels and the dim light. Astonishing and breathtaking in its history, this 70 hectare estate is as unusual as it has housed a high school since 1911!

Sauternes wine

The castles of this region are incredible

After visiting this incredible place , I pass to the tasting of 3 wines: Château La Tour Blanche, Les Charmilles de La Tour Blanche and Brumes de La Tour Blanche . It is the explosion of flavors. The three are really distinct but difficult to elect the best! It's sweet, sweet, fruity .... A delight.

Sauternes wine

Make way for tasting!

Sauternes wine

3 tastings, 3 totally different sensations

I have another address to advise you to taste Sauternes in the best conditions: the Château de Raynes Vigneau . In addition to the exceptional view of the vineyards and the region, you can take part in blending and tasting workshops that have won international competitions ! The establishment also offers an Escape Game on the theme of wine of course.

With what to accompany a good Sauternes?

Honestly, it is so succulent that Sauternes is enough on its own. It is tasty and ideal for an aperitif. This drink is quite sweet and goes wonderfully with foie gras, white meat or fish, but also with Roquefort, dried fruit or unsweetened desserts . You can also enjoy it at the end of a meal as a good digestif.

The Bordeaux wine route

The region is magnificent . It is hilly , each hill is clad in rows of vines and often topped by impressive castles . I invite you to explore the wine route of Grave and Sauterne . We tested it for you, and it is worth the detour!

Sauterne

Go hop, direction another castle!

I hope I made you want to discover this succulent specialty , to be enjoyed in moderation. To appreciate it for its true value , it is better to taste it on its native land and thus, to benefit from its beautiful soil ...


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Article written by Mélanie Oliva for the Bordeaux Gironde Guide


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