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Sauternes 2009: ‘a great vintage’

Having tasted the wines of Sauternes and Barsac renowned French journalist Michel Bettane is as enthusiastic as his Left and Right Bank colleagues.

‘It’s quite evident that Sauternes is a great vintage,’ he said. ‘They are big wines, with a lot of everything – fruit and alcohol, and the acidity is excellent, even better than in 1997 and 2001.’

Sauternes and Barsac are remarkable this year for being excellent across the board. ‘Even second-class properties made very complete wines. This is a vintage for lovers of Sauternes.’

Bettane also remarked on a another unique feature of Sauternes this year: the speed with which the harvest was completed.

Botrytis – noble rot – came around 20 September, with the grapes at full ripeness, meaning they had to be picked as quickly as possible.

This led to some properties – Chateau Climens in particular – picking full bunches of grapes instead of selecting individual botrytised berries in three or four passes down the rows, as is more normal.

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Written by Adam Lechmere in Bordeaux

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