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Dessert Wines – France
Vin Doux Naturel, Muscat de Rivesaltes 2014, Château de Corneilla, Roussillon
The Jonquères family can trace its history at Château de Corneilla back to 1485 and now 30-year-old William is making exciting wines at this estate situated just South of Perpignan. There are 40 Hectares of mainly Grenache, together with small amounts of Carignan, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Muscat which is harvested at night, ensuring that the wine delicate, bright, floral and sweet.
Monbazillac 2010, Domaine de Grange Neuve, Dordogne
This elegantly luscious, marmalade scented wine is produced close to the town of Pomport near Bergerac. On the slopes of the valley of the Dordogne you’ll find the vineyards that this wine originates from – specifically at altitudes between 50 and 180 metres. Lots of acidity ending up in a very fresh and clean style of dessert wine.
Château La Garenne 2010, Sauternes, Bordeaux Organic
Nicole Ferbos is in charge of this delightful 7 hectare organically farmed vineyard in the heart of France’s finest and best known ‘sticky’ wine producing region. Semillon, Sauvignon and Mascadelle grapes are selected and picked by hand then gently pressed and cold fermented. The wine spends 6 months in barrel sufficient to mature and soften it and preserving the natural tropical fruit flavours and orange blossom aroma.
Cypres de Climens 2011, Barsac
Cypres is the second wine of the famous Chateau Climens, which is owned by the famous Bordeaux Lurton wine family. Made from 100% Semillion, Very nice yellow amber luminous color. Aromatic nose, with vanilla hints, slight aromas of candied yellow fruits, apricot, honey. Mellow, very fleshy and fresh in the palate.
Château Yquem 1998/9, Sauternes, Bordeaux (13.5% abv)
Possibly the most famous dessert wine? The vineyard (of 80% Sémillon and 20% Sauvignon Blanc) is situated between the villages of Sauternes and Fargues, and is about 113 hectares in size, although only around 100 hectares are in production at any one time. The site is particularly susceptible to Botrytis, “Noble Rot”*, which makes Bordeaux’s famous sweet wines what they are. The 1998 vintage is described as ‘Pale yellow. Nose was very elegant with well-shaped noble rot, and had a lot of sweetness on the palate with mango, apricot and acacia honey. This was a wine with pure style, much finesse and long aftertaste, but at same time also “light-footed”’.
*Noble rot is the kinder form of the fungus, Botrytis cinerea, which affects wine grapes. It requires moist conditions and if the weather remains damp then the bad form, known as “grey rot,” can destroy whole crops of grapes. Infected when they are ripe, if drier conditions then prevail they become slightly raisined and if picked at the prime time can produce elegant wines such as Yquem.