Last night, dinner with my girlfriend and her family. I prepared dinner of Italian pasta with shrimp and vegetables accompanied by a lovely Clos Floridene Graves 2006. Nice smooth wine, with substantial Semillon body. The oak is well integrated, with some unobtrusive vanilla notes complementing the fruit like just the right amount of pepper in the pasta. But the real treat was the Tour Blanche 2002 Sauternes. While Edith puts up with my wine mania, her family are not wine geeks at all, but after the initial reaction of ‘that is sweet, like liqueur,’ they sat back and began to appreciate the mandarin orange and grapefruit aspects on the nose, and on the palate, complemented by some resin-like flavors bordering on licorice, and tea like notes coming from the botrytis. 2002 had good acidity, and this estate which is known for richness, did very well in 2002. A length - and smoothness on the finish - that was also very impressive. Heck we almost drank the entire bottle among four of us (the fifth was not drinking). I am now sipping the rest as I write this TN and recall Bill Blatch coming through Washington DC and presenting the 2002 vintage a couple of years ago. A real under the radar vintage coming between the great 2001 and the exceptional 2003, 2002 Sauternes is a great vintage as well.
It is fun to watch people experience Sauternes for the first time. Typically the reaction is less than positive at first, just thinking it is a sweet wine, and ‘I don’t like sweet wines’, but then all the complexities, as you pointed out, come through, and new converts are born…
I would urge people to crack open an apricot seed and enjoy the taste of the gem inside. It comes closest to what a Sauterne wine taste like.
You may want to take off the skin on that seed.