R de Rieussec, Blanc Sec, 2017

  Château Rieussec

Contains Sulphites.

About Château Rieussec

Once belonging to the Carmelite monks in Langon, Château Rieussec is now owned by Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite), since they purchased the estate in 1984. The vineyard of Rieussec borders Fargues and Sauternes, and adjoins Château d’Yquem. Rieussec is one of the largest properties in Sauternes and Barsac, covering 93 hectares of gravelly soil layered with alluvial deposits.

The iconic grape variety of Sauternes, Sémillon, dominates (90%), followed by Sauvignon (7%) and Muscadelle (3%). Traditional Sauternes techniques are used and the harvests are carried out with selective pickings depending on the ripeness of the grapes and evolution of botrytis. Harvest lasts for 6 to 8 weeks from September to November. Each vintage ages in oak barrels. The length of ageing in barrels varies from 16 to 26 months, during which the wines are periodically racked. The wines are bottled at the Château.

A new cellar was built in 1989 to extend the ageing period in barrels. The quantities of the Grand Vin that were produced were much reduced in the 1990’s due to more meticulous selection, to the point that none at all was produced in 1993 (this was also the case in 1977 and again in 2012).

The vineyard is managed by Eric Kohler, Technical Director of the Bordeaux Châteaux, with the help of Jean de Roquefeuil, Vineyard Manager, and Serge Lagardère, Cellar Master.

Appellation: Bordeaux

Although only separated by some thirty miles; the Medoc and the Right Bank are very different stylistically, historically and culturally. The left bank is dominated by Cabernet plantings, largely due to the fast draining gravel found close to the Garonne estuary. St Emilion and Pomerol are predominantly planted with Merlot and a small smattering of Cabertnet Franc. These varieties thrive on the limestone slopes and clay plateau found around St Emilion and Libourne. In the Medoc one encounters vast, fairytale Chateaux surrounded by vast, flat vineyards. The Right Bank is a little less grand with more modest Chateaux or sometimes no Chateau at all. The topography of St Emilion and Pomerol are quite varied too. The flat planes beneath St Emilion produce unexceptional wines on sandy soils. The Cote of St Emilion affords vineyards a steep southerly exposure. It is here where limestone dominates that St Emilion really shines. As one moves towards Libourne from St Emilion the vineyards gently slope up towards the plateau of Pomerol. By Bordeaux standards the vineyards on the plateau have to be considered quite high altitude... The Medoc was classified in 1855 creating a hierarchy which is still relevant today. The first growths are more sought after and command higher prices than even before. Today, one can drive the short distance from Bordeaux town to the vineyards of St Emilion in a mere 45 minutes. However, before the advent of the car, trade was reliant on the Garonne and Gironde. Therefore, although Belair and Ausone were considered to be of similar quality and shared a similar status to that of Latour, Lafite and Margaux, they were not recognised in the 1855 classification. Pomerol now enjoys a reputation as one of the most exclusive appellations in the world. Their wines are perfumed, seductive and exude breed. They boast many household names such as Petrus, Le Pin, Evangile, Conseillante, Lafleur, Eglise Clinet and Trotanoy, however, serious winemaking is relatively new to this region. Until the '40s, Sauvignon Blanc dominated plantings and the appellation was considered a rather poor neighbour to the more illustrious St Emilion. Generalisations are difficult to make in Bordeaux given the vast number of Chateaux, the multitude of microclimates, winemakers, soils, subsoils, grape varieties and winemaking techniques. However, given the dominance of Cabernet on the left bank, wines tend to be structured, cool and ageworthy, whereas the Merlot biased wines from the right bank demonstrate a fleshy, approachable character, which affords earlier drinking.

Grape Blend: Semillon | Sauvignon Blanc

Semillon is blended with Sauvignon Blanc to produce the great sweet botrytis-affected wines of Bordeaux in Sauternes and Barsac, the Sauvignon adds aroma, fruit and freshness to the rich fleshy Semillon. Semillon is at its most illustrious in the humid atmosphere of Sauternes and Barsac, where it is susceptible to Botrytis rot, which helps concentrate the fruit sugars, acids and flavours, producing some of the most luscious, sweet long-lived wines in the world. The most renowned example is Château d'Yquem, though there are a plethora of estates throughout the region whose wines come close in quality.