Part of the Graves region of Bordeaux, this wine is made using mainly Sémillion grapes, with some Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle to produce a sweet, rich wine which often has a spicy flavour. It is golden-honey in colour, becoming darker as it ages.
The area has a specific microclimate which encourages the growth of the mould botrytis cinerea (also known as noble rot) that creates the sweet wine. It feeds off the moisture rich ripe grapes which leaves them dehydrated and more concentrated in sugar.
Because the production of noble rot is weather dependant, yields can be low and hence the wine is often expensive. Sauternes wine is often at its best after 10 or 20 years. The most acclaimed wine château producing Sauternes is the Château d'Yquem and it can be incredibly difficult to visit if you're not in the wine industry. The sweet wines from nearby Barsac fell within the Sauternes appellation during the 1855 Bordeaux Classification though they also have the right to use their own appellation name.
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