Sweet wines are one of the great hedonistic pleasures of the wine world and while iconic examples may be found throughout the world, it is Bordeaux’s Sauternes which continues to set the global benchmark for their unparalleled richness and complexity. Although Sauternes once was a common mainstay of any celebratory meal or event, its popularity and consumption has waned in recent years. Enter Premier Grand Cru Classé Chateau Rieussec, an estate under the same ownership of Lafite’s Barons de Rothschild family whose team arrived at the conclusion that it was time to completely reshape the perception of Sauternes in the modern world. As explained by Saskia de Rothschild, the sixth generation at the helm of the legendary family wines, “The time had come for Rieussec to reinvent itself, so that the vineyard, wine and bottle all share the same commitment to sustainable development, from agriculture that is more respectful of the environment through to the preservation of natural resources provided by our new packaging, devising an original bottle, one that you want to keep when it’s finished, is part of this same philosophy.”
Part of this transformation has been to apply for organic certification for the vineyards, which has been a shared long-term sustainability strategy across all of the family estates. However, after conducting a great deal of research, the team of Rieussec also concluded that a greater innovation could be possible and this week they have unveiled a brand-new bottle and capsule unlike any ever seen in the Bordeaux region. Thanks to the natural stability of sweet wine, it has the capability to remain remarkably fresh once opened, to be enjoyed a glass at a time in the weeks that follow, provided that it is sufficiently sealed with a state-of-the-art custom designed re-usable cork. Today we are able to offer the inaugural vintage of this revolutionary new project of 2019 Chateau Rieussec for the price of £340 per case of 4 IB.
Putting all of these ground-breaking innovations aside, the 2019 vintage was a superb one for Chateau Rieussec with Jane Anson awarding it 96 Points, “Expertly constructed, with luxuriously intense pineapple, mango and apricot pit flavours matched step for step by bitter orange peel, lime juice and tingling grated ginger. Sauternes doesn’t always manage to deliver such a mouth-watering mix of satin texture set against pinpoint acidity, but the late harvest 2019 – botrytis arrived when the nights were cool – made for some exceptionally successful wines in the appellation, even if yields were tiny. This is a delicious Rieussec, full of personality.” Lisa Perrotti-Brown of The Wine Advocate has awarded it a similarly stellar mark of 94-96 Points, admiring how it, “flaunts a delicately scented nose of fresh grapefruit, lemon curd, lime leaves and clover honey with wafts of jasmine, white truffles and nutmeg. The palate slowly builds, revealing layers of apple and citrus fruits with loads of savory accents, framed by refreshing acidity and a seductively oily texture, finishing on a lingering honey-nut note.” This is a truly exceptional vintage to usher in this electrifying new era for the luscious jewel in the Rothschild family portfolio, Chateau Rieussec.