R de Rieussec

“Sauternes is such a wonderful wine that we wanted to have our own one and also the land is so exceptional” Baron Eric de Rothschild
Owned by Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) since 1984, Château Rieussec is located in the heart of the Sauternes vineyards. In the 18th century, Château Rieussec belonged to the Carmelite monks of Langon and in the 1855 classification; the quality of Rieussec's terroir was ranked as a first growth Sauternes and Barsac.
The vineyard extends to the border of Fargues and Sauternes, the vines cover 93 ha of gravelly soil layered with alluvial deposits. The vines consist predominantly of the classic Sauternes grape, Sémillon (90%), supplemented by Sauvignon (7%) and Muscadelle (3%). Traditional Sauternes techniques are used and the grapes are harvested in several selective pickings as the grapes ripen and botrytis cinerea ("noble rot") develops. The harvests are spread over six to eight weeks, from September to November.

The vintage
The autumn winter of 2019-2020 was one of the warmest for the last ten years in Bordeaux, resulting in an early bud break around 20 March. There was frequent rain from April to June, and we had to fight against a significant threat of downy mildew. The vines stayed ahead of their usual growth cycle, flowering around 19 May. There was then a fairly abrupt transition with 55 days without rain over the summer months. Véraison (colour change) started around 25 July. We detected quite severe water stress in some parts of our beautiful gravel terraces. The soil on the hillsides and at the base of the slopes, and the limestone marl fared much better in the hot, dry weather. As a result, the first Sauvignon Blanc grapes were harvested early this year, with picking starting on 18 August. The harvests continued in fine weather, finishing just before the first days of September, which is quite remarkable: we have not had such early harvests at Rieussec for at least a decade.
Varietals
Sauvignon blanc : 57%
Sémillon : 43%

Tasting notes
Very intense, complex nose.
There are lovely aromas of citrus and passion fruit from our Bois plots, full of young Sauvignon Blanc vines growing on limestone marl. More mineral, smoky notes recall the scent of hot, moist gravel after a magnificent summer storm on the plateau.
The palate is very smooth, underscored by an acidity that contributes to the wine’s length. There is excellent volume with a delicious touch of butter thanks to the ageing in barrels from our cooper, Tonnellerie des Domaines (Lafite). Notes of bergamot accompany the finish, which ends with a promising liveliness.