I don’t drink a lot of dessert wine, so I’ll admit this is the first time I’ve tried Sauternes, a very sweet blend from the Graves region of Bordeaux. I learnt a bit about it on my WSET wine course though: chiefly that it’s made from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes and that its sweetness comes from deliberate infestation by the mould Botrytis cinerea, aka noble rot.
What I didn’t know was how it tastes. First impression: “is it supposed to be this oaky?” Yes, oak is BY FAR the dominant aroma here, mowing down everything in its path like a power-crazed panzer tank. It took quite a bit of effort to coax out the inhibited notes of lemon meringue and toffee that lay cowering underneath the oak’s leather-bound fist.
“A complex palate of peaches, apricot and honey,” is how the Co-op describes it. Well… maybe. But I think the public also deserve to know if they’re in danger of succumbing to an oak-verdose.
Sauternes can be an expensive wine, and this one’s priced very competitively compared to some of its rivals. It certainly looks the part, with its warm, honey-yellow bottle and attractive art-deco logo. But its taste left me somewhat underwhelmed. Next year I reckon I’ll play it safe and have my Christmas pud with a Pedro Ximénez Spanish sherry instead.
3 NINJA STARS
Chateau Roumieu Sauternes 2013: £11.99 for 37.5ml. 13.5% vol.