White, Ready, but will improve

2007 Ch. Guiraud, Sauternes

2007 Ch. Guiraud, Sauternes

White | Ready, but will improve | Chateau Guiraud | Code:  1513 | 2007 | France > Bordeaux > Sauternes | Sauv.Blanc & Sémillon | Medium-Full Bodied, Sweet | 13.5 % alcohol

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Scores and Reviews

BBR

16.5/20

Jancis

16.5/20

Decanter

17.5/100

Jancis - Honeyed gold. Hint of veg on the nose. Big and round and molten. A burnt edge. A bit hot. All mass rather than finesse.
(Jancis Robinson – www.jancisrobinson.com – Apr 08)

Decanter - Last year this property produced an outstanding wine. This year, the instability of the sample made assessment difficult. Certainly, there is enormous concentration and fine acidity, but it is impossible to be precise as to how good it will become, so the mark is only an approximation and could well go up. The sample was cloudy and dark.
(David Peppercorn MW - Decanter - Apr 08)

The Producer

Chateau Guiraud

Chateau Guiraud

Château Guiraud is a large Sauternes property that is the only 1er Cru Classé, with the exception of its illustrious neighbour Château d`Yquem, that is located within the commune of Sauternes itself.

Guiraud was owned for a short period by the Maxwell family, who invested heavily in the property, although the wines remained fairly pedestrian. In 1981 it was acquired by a Canadian, Hamilton Narby, and he has transformed Guiraud into one of the very finest Sauternes properties.

Guiraud's 85 hectares of vineyards are located on one of the hills above the village of Sauternes. They are planted with 65% Sémillon and 35% Sauvignon Blanc. The grapes are harvested in "tries" and the juice is then fermented in oak barrels. The wine is then aged in oak casks (50% new) for 2 years.

Guiraud is a very ambitious property with aspirations to produce a wine that will one day rival d`Yquem. The wines are astonishingly rich, especially in light of the high proportion of Sauvignon Blanc in the blend, and are undoubtedly amongst the finest wines being produced in Sauternes today.
 

The Grape

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.

The Region

Sauternes

Sauternes

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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