Though Sauternes, Bordeaux’s signature sweet white wine, is often described as a dessert wine, it is in fact a perfect complement to certain savory and spicy dishes. For instance, the French regularly pair this golden, sweet wine with distinct ingredients such as foie gras and sharp cheese. Sauternes also makes for a fantastic aperitif and a great way to set the mood for a special occasion.
Kick off your Thanksgiving dinner with a surprising little twist and blow your dinner guests away. Below, find a few tips on how to serve Sauternes as an aperitif. If you don’t already have aperitif size stemware in your collection, this might be a nice excuse to do so.
If you don’t already have aperitif size stemware in your collection, this might be a nice excuse to do so.
Chill the Sauternes in advance. It’s best served around 45-50 degrees Farenheit which is about 10 to 15 degrees warmer than your fridge.
Sauternes is a sipping wine. You don’t need to pour a lot of it, which is why you can often find it in a half bottle size. Consider pouring about half a regular glass worth.
If you really want to tickle the palette, serve a spread of sharp cheese like Roquefort for guests to nibble on as they sip!
We recommend two Sauternes from this year’s Today’s Bordeaux selection. Find them at your local retailer or simply ask your wine clerk for Sauternes!
Sauternes is a French sweet wine from the namesake appellation within the Graves section of Bordeaux. Championed by Dutch master traders during the 17th century, Sauternes is made from a blend of Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle grapes. Its rich golden color and signature sweetness is achieved by an infestation of Botrytis or more commonly referred to as, noble rot.
During the process of noble rot, wine grapes are left to ripen and then rot. Ideally, the grapes are dried out to an almost raisin like state and have retained high concentrations of sugar before they are harvested for sweet wine production.
The wines of Sauternes attained the pinnacle of the Bordeaux hierarchy in the 19th century, as attested by their inclusion in the famous 1855 classification – the only region in Bordeaux other than the Médoc to receive this special honor. That said, you don’t need to have Château d’Yquem‘s First Growth wines to experience the unique taste and quality of Bordeaux’s signature sweet wine. You can find two affordable Sauternes options here or simply ask your local wine store professional if they carry sweet Bordeaux.
Contrary to popular misconception, sweet white wines are not meant to be served with desserts only. In fact, they are delicious as an apertif and can compliment many different types of flavors. However, it’s probably best to avoid too sweet or too spicy. We suggest pairing with blue or Roquefort cheeses, Duck á l’orange, a poultry tagine or the Bordelais favorite Sauternes pairing, Foie gras. For more Sauternes pairing ideas, check out this article from Food & Wine.
Wine Enthusiast Magazine recently released their Top 100 Best Buys of 2013 and we’re thrilled to announce that one of our own claimed the top spot! The editors of the magazine write:
“All of the wines included here have suggested retail prices of $15 or less and are all awarded our Best Buy qualification, meaning they possess an excellent quality–to-price ratio. Of the thousands of wines reviewed over the past 12 months, only 922 (or roughly 5%) were awarded the Best Buy designation.
From there, we select the top wines that exhibit the best relationship between score and price while also considering other factors like availability and buzz. We also examine the list’s overall balance, so we can ultimately offer a selection that spans a wide array of styles, varieties and regions.”
This year’s number one spot goes to a Merlot/Cab blend from Château Mayne-Guyon, Côtes de Bordeaux which was also included in our Today’s Bordeaux selections. Not to be forgotten, two white Bordeaux wines also ranked, along with several other value reds from the region!
Click the thumbnails for more details or download the full list from Wine Enthusiast here.
In honor of Friday the 13th (the first of two in 2013), we put together a list of 13 affordable Bordeaux wines all under $13. Enjoy!
2012 Château La Moulinière, White / Dry, Fresh & Fruity / $10.99
2012 Château Mezain,White / Dry, Fresh & Fruity / $13.00
2010 Château de Beauregard-Ducourt, White / Dry, Fresh & Fruity / $11.99
2010 Château Beauséjour, Fronsac, Red / Robust & Fresh / $12.99
2012 Château Ballan-Larquette, White / Dry, Fresh & Fruity / $11.99
2012 Armand Roux, Verdillac, Rosé / Lively & Fruity / $10.00
2011 Château Mayne Guyon, Red / Delicate & Fruity / $10.99
2012 Château Sainte Marie, White / Dry, Fresh & Fruity / $11.00
2010 Château Millet, Red / Robust & Fresh / $11.99
2012 Château Fonfroide, White / Dry, Fresh & Fruity / $12.99
2011 Château Chaubinet, White / Dry, Fresh & Fruity / $12.00
2010 Château Brassac, Red / Robust & Fresh / $12.00
2011 Mouton Cadet, Red / Robust & Fresh / $10.00
With only two weekends left until the unofficial end of summer, we’re scrambling to fit in our favorite seasonal activity…drinking chilled Bordeaux white!
For those of you planning to head outdoors for a picnic or barbecue, we enlisted our Bordeaux wine gurus to narrow down some fabulous and affordable Bordeaux perfect for any outdoor occasion. The collection also includes quality ‘$12 & under’ whites and rosé from:
Château La Maroutine
Château La Moulinière
Château Sainte Marie
Check out our Summer Picnic Tasting playlist here or head to the Today’s Bordeaux section of our website to discover wines for all occasions.