Chateau Rieussec is a Premier Grand Cru Classé estate who has been under the ownership of Lafite’s Domaines Barons de Rothschild family since 1984. Their 85 hectares of vineyards are 90% planted with Semillon, complemented by Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle sit on the border of villages of Fargues and Sauternes and are bordered by Château d’Yquem to the West. In early 2018, Eric de Rothschild handed over the reins to his daughter, Saskia de Rothschild, who came to the conclusion that it was time to completely reshape the perception of Sauternes in the modern world. She explaines “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 included applying for organic certification for the vineyards, which has been a shared long-term sustainability strategy across all of the family estates. They also unveiled a brand-new bottle and capsule for both the dry R de Rieussec and the flagship sweet wine, the latter including a state-of-the-art custom designed olive-green bottle and re-usable cork.

The grapes for Rieussec are hand-harvested and immediately pressed in small pneumatic presses upon arrival at the winery. Each parcel is pressed and vinified separately. Alcoholic fermentation is stopped as soon as the desired balance between alcohol and sugar is reached. The wines are kept on their lees until mid-December before being put back into barrels to age for around 18 months. The plots designated for R de Rieussec are hand-harvested into small crates on the plots, taking care to pick the Sauvignon Blanc first in order to preserve its freshness and rich aromas. The Semillon is harvested once the grapes reach their optimum ripeness to give the wine its structure and body. The majority of the Semillon musts are vinified in new oak barrels while the Sauvignon musts are mainly vinified in stainless steel tanks at low temperature. The wine is aged for 5 to 7 months in barrel, with six months on the lees.

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