UGC Sauternes Tasting at Ch. Desmirail

The UGC Sauternes and Barsac tasting was held at Ch. Desmirail this year.  The Chateaux is located right on the D-2 in the village of Margaux making it convenient for anyone driving around the Medoc because you almost always have to drive by it.   I dropped by the tasting on my last day on the way to the airport to go to Italy.

Before I attended this tasting, I had heard rumblings that these wines resembled the fabled 2007 wines and were better than the Sauternes wines from last year in 2009.  I don’t agree with those assessments.  In 2007 everyone made good wines.  In 2009, there was a lot of variability but some chateau made stellar wines.  This year there were a couple of excellent wines and then the rest were surprisingly homogeneous in the “just ok” range. I felt as a whole that they were either lacking acidity or the acidity was awkward or out of balance.  I also felt that the Botrytis level on these wines was low or if it was prominent it was prominent in a bad way – resembling the odd chemical or ammonia aromas that some Sauternes have developed over the last 10 years.    I would rank these wines behind 2007 and 2009 and I would be very careful when purchasing Sauternes in this vintage and purchase only the best.

Wine of the Tasting:   Ch. de Fargues was excellent again this year. It had an intense nose of beautiful aromatic botrytis with tropical fruit and vanilla.  On the palette it had refreshing acidity with with sweet fruit that was in almost perfect balance.  I love this wine.  I tasted it twice.

Very Good Wines (in order of preference):  Ch. Suduiraut was just a notch below de Fargues with intense tropical fruit and the longest finish of the wines, Ch. Rieussec had a little less concentration and a more elegant style with a long coconut finish, Ch. Guiraud was like luscious buttery pineapple coating your moth – classic Guiraud, Ch. Nairac was a deeper and more concentrated colour than the other wines and had a mix of white fruit and tropical fruit on the palette, Ch. Myrat was a concentrated and balanced wine of pineapples and honey,

Bulk Group (in order of preference):  Ch. La Tour Blanche was very good but was a touch too syrupy, Ch. Rabaud-Promis was super-concentrated and over the top – but it had the acidity to balance it and was very enjoyable – I worry about its capacity to age though with the odd balance, Ch. Rayne Vigenau, Ch.Lamothe, Ch. de Malle, Ch. Doisy-Daene, Ch. Coutet, and Ch. Sigilas-Rabaud.

Disappointing: The most disappointing wine was the Ch. Lafaurie Peyraguey which had a very odd aggressive acidity that ruined the wine. The rest of the wines all had a significant drawback to them: Ch. Bastor-Lamontagne,  Ch. Calliou, and Ch. Broustet did not have enough acidity and were cloying and sweet,  Ch. Romer is a simple wine for drinking now,  Ch. Lamothe Guignard, Ch. Doisy-Vedrines and Ch. Filhot were dominated by odd chemical or animal aromas that were unpleasant.