Pronounced: so-tairn or soh-tehrn
History: An appellation that produces outstanding sweet wines that have become famous throughout the world. The appellation lies within the Bordeaux region of France. The Sémillon varietal is the dominate grape found in the Sauternes blends. Final blends of Sauternes most often include Sauvignon Blanc and small amounts of the Muscadelle varietal. Chateau d'Yquemm are the highest quality and most expensive wines from the Sauternes district.
Description: Sauternes is made from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes that have been affected by Botrytis cinerea, also known as noble rot. This causes grapes to become partially raisined, resulting in concentrated and distinctively flavored wines, typically with an arresting golden color. Sauternes is one of the few wine regions where infection with noble rot is a frequent occurrence, due to its mesoclimate. Even so, production is a hit-or-miss proposition, with widely varying harvests from year to year.
Taste/Aromas: High quality sweet white wines that are full flavored, concentrated, smooth, and balanced.
Cellaring: Sweet Sauternes has good ageing potential.
Food: An excellent aperitif and dessert wine, it also pairs well with blue cheese, fish, shellfish, poultry, duck with light/medium sauces, ham, spicy sausage pasta, salads, brie and other semi-soft cheeses, mild-firm cheeses, vegetable/vegetarian dishes, and soups