Located on the left bank of the Garonne about 40 minutes south of Bordeaux, the less-travelled wine area of Sauternes produces some of the most elegant, complex, fruity, round, and powerful sweet white wines, so different from any other region of Bordeaux. The Sauternes, or the 'Vin d’ Or', are complex golden wines that melt on the palate. These grapes are picked by hand at different stages, sometimes 6 times from October through to November to ensure that all picked grapes have the right degree of ripeness. They can only be gathered in dry weather. Château d’Yquem, probably the most famous vineyards of the Sauternes, sometimes has their pickers retrace their steps 10 times.
A good Sauternes is a treasure and one grapevine may produce just a single glass of this nectar which explains in part the much higher production costs and why they command a higher average price. They are one of the best accompaniments to the Bordeaux region’s fois gras and oysters. Restaurants of the area will happily prove that the right Sauterne can go with any course! These wines have recently found favour with Asian and spicy foods as well.
Some countries have tried to imitate and indeed call their wines Sauternes, but only a wine from Sauternes can be called a Sauternes. These pretenders are merely sweet white wines lacking the history or painstaking process demanded before a true Sauternes is created. Taste the genuine thing and you’ll taste something completely different - truly golden and exotic. These sweet whites from Sauternes and Barsac are the only classified whites in the whole region of Bordeaux.
The communes of this appelation include Barsac, Bommes, Fargus, Preignac and Sauternes.