Château Rieussec, 1er Cru Classé, Sauternes, 2010

  Château Rieussec

Rieussec is undoubtedly one of the great names in Sauternes and their 2010 doesn’t disappoint. Under the stewardship of Charles Chevalier (he who runs Chateau Lafite) great strides have been made in quality with the estate now justly considered one of the finest in the appellation. To many it is second only to Yquem. A blend of 85% Semillon, 12% Sauvignon Blanc and 3% Muscadelle, the 2010 is characteristically rich and opulent with an intensely spiced, deep botrytis nose, waves of apricot, honey and pineapple, leading to spiced caramel, acacia honey and droplets of grapefruit. The beautiful seam of acidity running through it serves to elevate and refine the whole package.

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: Sauternes

Three grape varieties are planted: Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle. Sémillon is the principal grape, because it is especially susceptible to noble rot, Sauvignon is used for its naturally high acidity, whilst tiny proportions of the capricious Muscadelle are used for aromatic qualities. Sweet wine has been made here at least since the late 18th century. Its position is unique, close to two rivers, the broad Garonne and its small tributary, the Ciron. In autumn, the cool Ciron waters flow into the warmer tidal Garonne, evening mists develop that envelop the vineyards until late morning the following day, after the sun has burnt the mist away all that is left is moisture on trhe grapes that encourages noble rot or Botrytis cinerea. This fungus attacks grapes, causing them to shrivel, concentrating flavour sugars and acids. The wines were classified in 1855, the most prominent of which is Château Yquem, whose yields even in a vintage where noble rot is prominent, reach no more than 10 hl/ha.