About this WINE
Chateau Raymond Lafon is located in Sauternes, Bordeaux, next to the vineyards of Chateau d’Yquem and very close to Chateau Suduiraut. It was founded in 1850 by Raymond Lafon, and was inherited by Louis Pontallier, a nephew of Lafon’s, whose grandson, Paul Pontallier, is the director of Chateau Margaux.
Pontallier sold the chateau in 1952 to the Bourdier family, from which the current owners, the Meslier Family, (Pierre Meslier was the then managing director of Chateau d’Yquem) acquired it in 1972. The association and the proximity to Chateau d’Yquem explains why Raymond Lafon is produced in the exact fashion with the great sweet wine of Bordeaux.
The tiny 18 hectare vinayard is planted to 80% Semillon and 20% Sauvignon Blanc with vines that average 40 years of age. The wine spends 3 years in 100% new French oak barrels.
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
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.