Carmes 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 vintage began well with a mild, dry winter. The fine weather continued into early spring, resulting in an early start to the growth cycle. Day and night-time temperatures then cooled down and, between March and May, there were six occasions when we held our breath fearing a frost.
During this period, the colder and above all drier-than-usual weather slowed down the vines’ growth. After a relatively cold, rainy start, June suddenly changed, bringing an early summer heat wave the likes of which had not been seen since 2003. Fortunately, it was short-lived and the vines, which were catching up in terms of growth, seemed better equipped than in previous years to cope with the heat. Some miraculous rain arrived on 26 July, at just the right moment to trigger véraison (colour change).
This year, as in 2017, the rain in September was very helpful for the botrytis. But the harvests turned out to be more complex, with sour rot threatening the purity of the grapes. We had to sort through the fruit like gold diggers to remove the sour grapes, only keeping the nicely botrytized ones. A window of opportunity arrived on 8 October to pick perfectly balanced grapes with 20% potential alcohol for the Grand Vin, including some superb Muscadelle!
Varietals
Sémillon : 84%
Sauvignon blanc : 12%
Muscadelle : 4%

Tasting notes
Intense nose with beautiful aromatic complexity. Mellow, slightly minty notes promise good balance. On aeration, notes of rhubarb tart and a hint of dried apricots develop.
The palate is well balanced with the wine’s freshness underscored by a pleasant acidity. There are notes of dried fig accompanied again by dried apricot. Subtly toasted oaky notes contribute to the wine’s roundness and smoothness. A freshly-struck-match minerality accompanies the wine for its entire length.