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2013 La Sémillante de Sigalas, Ch. Sigalas Rabaud
Château Sigalas-Rabaud was originally part of Château Rabaud until the latter was divided up in 1903 into Sigalas-Rabaud and Rabaud-Promis. The two properties were then reunited in 1929 before being partitioned again in 1952. Sigalas-Rabaud is located in the commune of Bommes and its 33 hectares of vineyards border those of Rabaud-Promis and Rayne-Vigneau.
Sigalas-Rabaud consists of 14 hectares of vineyards planted with 98% Sémillon and 2% Sauvignon Blanc. The grapes are harvested in "tries" and are then fermented in oak barrels (33% new) where they remain for 18-20 months.
Sigalas-Rabaud's wines were always of good quality but in the 1980s the proprietor, Comte Emmanuel de Lambert des Granges, sold a part share to Domaines Cordier, owners of Lafaurie-Peyraguey. Their input resulted in a string of superb wines at the end of the 1980s and through to the end of the century. The wines can be enjoyed in youth but really benefit from 8-10 years of cellaring.
Sigalas-Rabaud is classified as a 1er Cru Classé.
The main grape for Sauternes and particularly successfully grown in Australia's Hunter Valley. Hunter Valley Sémillon is one of Australia’s iconic and unique wines, totally unlike any wine produced elsewhere in the world from the same grape variety.
In youth the wines are quite citrusy and fresh, but are generally perceived to gain hugely in complexity as they age and are deemed to be best drunk when at least 5 years old, frequently lasting for 10 or more years. Unusually for Australia, the alcohol levels rarely exceed 11.5%.
In Bordeaux it is the most widely planted white grape and is blended with Sauvignon Blanc to produce the great long-lived dry whites of Graves as well as the great sweet wines of Sauternes. It is high in alcohol and extract and relatively low in aroma and acidity. Its thin skin makes it very susceptible to botrytis which is prerequisite for the making of Sauternes. It responds well to oak ageing and, while having a lightly lemony aroma when young develops lanolin flavours which some describe as "waxy", as well as a rich, creamy, intense, texture and a deep golden colour.
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.
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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