2003 Ch. Rieussec, Sauternes

2003 Ch. Rieussec, Sauternes

White, Ready, but will keep   White | Ready, but will keep | Chateau Rieussec | Code: 1461 | 2003 | France > Bordeaux > Sauternes | Sauv.Blanc & Sémillon | Medium-Full Bodied, Sweet | 14.0 % alcohol



Bottle 12 x 75cl



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Scores and Reviews



PARKER - Wines of the Year - Highly Recommended 4/5 Stars- Decanter Nov 08
This majestic Rieussec provides further proof, if any were needed, of the fantastic quality of the sumptuous 2003 Sauternes. This also restores this noble estate to its position behind Ch. d'Yquem in the Sauternes hierarchy. Tingling aromas of pineapple, honey and lemon are replicated on the phenomenally concentrated and powerful palate, lifted by fresh acidity, and enhanced by a cornucopia of flavours: dried apricots, dates and tangerines and hints of ginger. A monstrously impressive wine in every sense.
Robert Parker - Wine Advocate - Apr 04

The Story

Chateau Rieussec


Chateau Rieussec

Château Rieussec is one of the richest and most exotic of all Sauternes, producing particularly good wines in the late 1980s and the mid 1990s. Rieussec has been owned by Domaines Barons de Rothschild since 1985 and is located at one of the highest points of Sauternes in the village of Fargues where its vineyards border those of Château d`Yquem.

Rieussec's 75 hectares of vineyards are planted with 89% Sémillon, 8% Sauvignon Blanc and 3% Muscadelle. Yields are low and the grapes are fermented in stainless steel tanks and oak casks before being matured in oak barriques (70% new) for 18-24 months.

Rieussec produces a classic full-bodied Sauternes that is deep golden-yellow in colour and packed with lusciously sweet, honeyed fruits. Classsfied as a 1er Cru Classé, its best vintages rival those from d`Yquem.


Sauv.Blanc & Sémillon

Sauv.Blanc & Sémillon

The blend used for White Graves and Sauternes and rarely encountered outside France. In the great dry whites of Graves, Sauvignon Blanc tends to predominate in the blend, although properties such as Smith Haut Lafite use 100% Sauvignon Blanc while others such as Laville Haut Brion have as much as 60% Sémillon in their final blends. Sauvignon Blanc wines can lose their freshness and fruit after a couple of years in bottle - if blended with Sémillon, then the latter bolsters the wine when the initial fruit from the Sauvignon fades. Ultimately Sauvignon Blanc gives the wine its aroma and raciness while Sémillon gives it backbone and longevity.

In Sauternes, Sémillon is dominant, with Sauvignon Blanc playing a supporting role - it is generally harvested about 10 days before Sémillon and the botrytis concentrates its sweetness and dampens Sauvignon Blanc`s naturally pungent aroma. It contributes acidity, zip and freshness to Sauternes and is an important component of the blend.



Sauternes is where arguably the world's finest sweet white wines are produced. The Sauternes appellation actually consists of five communes: Barsac, Preignac, Bommes, Fargues and Sauternes itself. Barsac is also an appellation in its own right.

Sauternes literally has an atmosphere different from any of the other major communes. At the southern tip of the Graves,close to the Garonne, not only is the land hillier and decidedly more bucolic but it also enjoys a specific mesoclimate of evening autumn mists which linger until well into the following day, unless burnt off by warm sunshine.

The mists are caused by the cool, spring-fed waters of the Ciron River meeting the warmer tidal Garonne, and the result is an ideal environment for the growth of the mould botrytis cinerea. When its arrival is felicitous, it feeds on the water in the ripe grapes, dehydrating them and leaving sweet, shriveled fruit.

Other regions in Bordeaux (ie Cadillac, Loupiac) produce wines in a similar style from the same method, but none achieve the profundity and complexity of Sauternes.

Recommended Châteaux : Ch. D'Yquem, Ch. Climens (Barsac), Ch. Suduiraut, Ch. Rieussec,  Sigalas- Rabaud, Ch. Coutet (Barsac), Ch. de Fargues, Ch. Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Ch. Doisy-Védrines (Barsac), Chateau Partarrieu, La Tour Blanche

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