ALINE BALY - Great vintages

Thanks for joining us Aline!

Last week I was lucky enough to try the '75 Coutet which I believe is the first Sauterne I have had from that heralded vintage. It was excellent BTW. Drinking light and clean, almost like a dry wine. Elegant and very tasty.

I was wondering about what you think makes for a great vintage for wines of your region and aging curves. Is it just a matter of acidity? Is the level of botrytis important for those that go long for aging? What are some great vintages for Coutet and do you think there are some where Coutet tops the heavy weights of Sauternes?

Hi Chris,

Lots of '75 on this forum! I may have to talk my uncle into opening up a bottle this weekend!

What makes a great vintage? Ripeness of the fruit when the botrytis attacks the vineyard, and how fast the vineyard is attacked by the fungus (see the “Barsac/Sauternes: Unheralded Vintages Deserving of Another Look” discussion)

Check out the discussion tread entitled “Necessary components of an ageable Barsac/Sauternes gold wine” in regard to ageing. I’ll just add that the level of botrytis only determines how concentrate your juice will be and your aromatic complexity. The balance between the residual sugar, alcohol and acidity is the indicator of ageability.

Here are some of Coutet’s great recent vintages (according to me and my uncle):
88, 89, 90, 97, 01, 03, 05, 07, 09 (see some fun notes on this check out the “Special cuvee” discussion thread)

As for your question related to the vintages that we consider on par (or above) our most famous/revered neighbors… We are much too humble to answer this question. Each of the estate is so different with very distinct styles. I discussed this at lunch with everyone and we propose instead a list of vintages that we are most proud of for excellence: 89, 01, 07 and 09.


There are 6 bottles of 2001 Coutet still available @ HDH for $55/btl, there were 12 a few minutes ago!

And they’ve got one bottle of the 88 at $55:" onclick=";return false;

What a steal!