A fungus is the jewel of Bordeaux sweet wines

The first thought that comes to mind when we say Bordeaux is geared towards red wines more than white or rosé wines but part of the great prestige this region has to offer is due to its white sweet wines.

Ranked is this order, Sauternes, Barsac, and Cerons are among the most recognized protected zones in this region. In these zones, the most important grape type is Semillon which is said to be able to extract and contribute up to 20 different characteristics in aroma, flavor, and color.

On my visit to Château Piada, one of many Sauternes vineyards, I was fortunate to have had revealed the secrets behind this special gem. Who's to blame for this goodness, "botrytis" or "noble rot", a fungus that attacks the grape and one that the bordelais have known to take good advantage of. Let me explain you!

In this zone, the proximity of the Garonne river creates a microclimate that favors the growth of "botrytis". This fungus attacks the grape when it has reached its most mature stage. The fungus has to attack the grape before it can be picked. That is why the harvest of this grape is generally 2-3 months after other types of the grapes are picked. Since not all Semillon grapes are ready at the same time, they are harvested in shifts, manually one by one only to select the perfectly mature fungus affected ones. The effect of this fungus causes the grape to dehydrate forming sugar and flavor concentrates giving this wine a unique complexity and flavor.

The result of this natural process is a deep golden wine color which contributes acidity, floral and fruit aromas and above all, a high sugar content. All the pampering and patience gives this wine an unbeatable balance between sweet and acid which allows barrel aging for up to 15 years.

Although there are 100% Semillon grape wine bottles, these wines also preserve the Bordeaux tradition of assembling a combination of stumps in the same bottle. It is common to use no more than 10% Sauvignon Blanc and/or Muscadelle. The first one contributes fresh and citric mineral hints while Muscadelle provides floral tones.

This delightful delicacy should be drank cold, at a temperature between 45-50 F or after being refrigerated for two to three hours. You should pour half the amount you would a red wine and enjoy in small sips. It preserves well in the fridge for about two weeks after opening.

In general, they are perfect for pairing with desserts, cheeses, and fruits. If it happens to be a less sweeter wine, it can also be enjoyed as a cordial. However you choose to enjoy this elegant, creamy, sweet wine, remember that each bottle is unique and deserves a variety of tastings in order to discover you flavor preference. There will always be the ones with more mineral, fruit, and floral hints, more or less sweet as well as with a great range of cinnamon, fig, orange, nectarine, nut, coconut, pineapple and apple notes. Balance is the key, not too sweet and with citrus and mineral touches like the ones produced by Lalande family in Piada. Thanks for having me in your Chateau! Besos & Cheers!

 

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Doreen's Editor of:

 

Doreen is Celebrity Chef of:

Novo Nordisk

 

Doreen supports:

Baptist Health Foundation

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