The Sauternes and Barsac wines are from 2 neighbouring designations (PDO) located on the left bank of the Garonne just 40 km south-east of Bordeaux. The 5 cities whose territory makes up these 2 designations are: Barsac, Bommes, Fargues, Preignac and Sauternes. The Sauternes and Barsac PDOs covers approximately 1620 Ha for Sauternes wines and 625 Ha for Barsac wines (which may also mention the Sauternes PDO on the bottle). The designations are benefiting from a classification of their Crus, established in 1855 like the one of Medoc, including 26 classified Crus: 1 superior Premier Cru (the Chateau Yquem), 11 Premiers Crus (including 2 in Barsac), and 14 Seconds Crus (including 8 in Barsac) This classification notably distinguishes the most prestigious chateaux such as: Chateau d'Yquem, Climens, Coutet, Doisy Daene, Guiraud, Rieussec, Suduiraut, La Tour Blanche… The territory of Sauternes and Barsac is bounded to the north-east by the Garonne and to the south by the Landes forest, and is crossed on both sides by a small tributary of the Garonne called the Ciron river, whose importance is paramount as it cause the morning mists necessary for the development of the Botrytis Cinerea fungus - the key point of those unique and luscious wines. The soils composed of sand, clay and gravel are flat in Barsac area (10/15 m) and rise up to 80m in Sauternes. Sauternes and Barsac wines are blended wines made from the three emblematic grape varieties of sweet wines: Semillon (around 70% on this appellation), Sauvignon blanc (20%), and Muscadelle (5%). The grapes are harvested by successive harvest when there are over-ripe because of by the Botrytis Cinerea fungus, which develops in the form of noble rot on the berries skin. The berries shrivelled and dry out to give very high sugar concentrations (350 to 400g/l), and create this unique aromas. In great vintages such as 1988, 1989, 1990, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009… the Sauternes Barsac PDOs have produced exceptional Bordeaux white wines judged by international critics to be among the best sweet white wines in the world. Combining power and smoothness with a particularly complex character, these are very long-lasting white wines, that should be cellared because they can last for decades. The sweet profile of these exceptional white wines will also go very well with roquefort feuilletes, lobster with mango sauce, duck breast with peaches, tajines, and in Roquefort cheese, fourme d ' Ambert or even Stilton. There are perfect dessert wines with: a pear and Fourme d'Ambert tarte, or even a beautiful caramelized Tatin tart ... Yquem, the mythical wine, has already obtained 8 times the highest score of 100/100 Parker!
The price of Sauternes and Barsac wines is sometimes high, but the magnificence of these wines has led amateurs to seek for them, because these superb bottles can give great emotions on old vintages. Drinking a great white wine that is 20 years old or more is not frequent, except in Sauternes and Barsac!
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