Splinter-Cell TNs from MEOW--The 2001 Sauternes

I still have to try the La Tour Blanche and Guiraud—I will update this post when I do, probably tonight. This was the Sauternes table I put together from my big event on Saturday.

2001 Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey

From a full. Fine cardamom, vanilla and spices nose. Drenched pear on the tongue, guava and cantaloupe follow. A lot going on and I think I heard this smoothed out over the day and was a favourite for many.

2001 Chateau D’Yquem

What is there to say? My friend Dave filled a taste in my glass and brought it to me. Sniff. Taste. “D’Yquem”. I will say this–that, good as the first taste was last night, this was clearly better with the aeration today. I’ll also say that I think the power and intensity is currently a bit dormant. Instead, the star fruit, light pineapple, edge of vanilla and kiwi/melon just glow. I honestly do not know if I’ve ever had a more harmonious wine touch my tongue. My third privileged opportunity to have this. From half bottle, it is surely the WOTD and definitely not a fake. 99+

2001 Chateau De Fargues

From a full. Vanilla, honey, buttercream and marzipan all take hold. This is intensely sweet, pouring on the fruit, honey and light caramel. In its way, irresistible, it does have enough latent acidity to provide some balance. Really took my fancy.

2001 Chateau Climens

This is the Pizzarro to the D’Yquem’s (current) Renoir. This is my third try of this too (also from half) and it is, I think, the slowest-evolving of all of these great Sauternes. The bouquet is still very, very shy, with floral notes and wildflower honey and star fruit slowly coaxed out. It carries itself with an elevated sense of poise–and kimono-like reserve. Honey notes with maybe tinges of sweet rice and kiwi. It is still relatively tight, but the promise remains exceptional. I have no idea when the wine will actually be ready, but what a wine it will be when it is!

2001 Chateau De Malle

From a half, still a little closed aromatically. Dans la bouche, this is more on the soft almost-luscious side, with peach and pineapple. Sort of unexpected, though not in any way a bad wine.

2001 Chateau Rieussec

From a full, lightly spiced scents of vanilla, honey and pineapple. I have heard varied reports about Rieussec from this year, but I must have gotten a good bottle. Persistent and really lovely here–I think it is ready, with melon, citrus and vanilla bean. Its balance is exemplary and this is back to being nearly super wine. 95+ Bravo.

2001 Chateau Doisy-Daene

From a full, hints of white and yellow flowers, this is still near-lashing acidity. Some spicy caramel and nougat add to the palate intrigue.

2001 Chateau Coutet

Teasing lime and guava nuzzie. I wasn’t sure about the wine on a quick first sip 1.5 days ago, but today this is yummo. Has that Coutet lightness of being, good sweetness for all that, with lime and star fruit. Nice wine again. From half.

2001 Chateau Guiraud

From full. The crisp part of coffee crisp with apricot jam and mango. To taste, a little richer and a bit simpler than the top wines, there’s nothing wrong with the expressive replays, along with a unique lilac aftertaste which I’ve never seen. In an uneven year for this house, this is a good bottle.

2001 Chateau Suduiraut

From half. I get baked maple fudge with orange underneath. Sheez! The first mouthful takes your breath away with the focused intensity. Luscious and fresh at the same time, the orange, nougat and honey is intoxicating. Revelicious, just a smidge under the D’Yquem today. I should note that it does pull back the next day.

2001 Chateau Rabaud Promis

Very dark orange/amber. Creme brulee for sure, apricot buried underneath. This is excellent–sweet apricot and pineapple and a bit of raisin, yet lifted by the 01 acidity. Could sip at this all night and not get bored.

A bientot



Nice notes, Mike!! Love the idea of a 2001 sauternes tasting, maybe with 30 units of insulin for dessert. :slight_smile:

I haven’t had the Yquem (yet), but agree that the Suduiraut is a jaw-dropping beaut. Have had Climens twice, and also found it super young but with huge potential. For me Coutet is the killer bargain of the bunch - and definitely one to reach for when already maxed out on unctuousness and looking for something more elegant. Good luck with your La Tour Blanche - I’ve had it 3 times - once was exceptional, twice it was merely excellent.

I only tasted two of the Sauternes at the event, as I made my way to that table a bit late in the evening.
Both of the wines I tasted were wonderful:

The 2001 Rieussec was fantastic - such depth of flavor; sweet without being cloying; I found a touch of hazelnut in there that I liked along with some honeycomb. (One of the guests, when I was discussing one of the white burgundies, disliked my ‘honeycomb’ descriptor as he thought most people would have no reference point to honeycomb).

The 2001 Suduiraut was a lovely wine; it reminded me of a Ferrara orange torrone - honey, vanilla, egg whites and almonds (I guess similar to your nougat comment).

Glad you got to taste two of the good 'uns, Thomas. Vince, thanks. About 5 years ago, I was very lucky to be a part of this tasting:


That is pretty awesome. Hard to think of a 2001 that did not shine.

The only one I’ve been disappointed by is doisy-vedrines… a bit lacking in acid and cloying.

Rieussec is hit or miss. When it’s on it gives Yquem a run for its money.

Neat tasting!
Love the 2001’s. Had our first Sauterne on our first anniversary in 1998 when our waiter talked us into a split of Rieussec with dessert raving it was the best Sauterne he’d ever had. Was fabulous! Based on that experience, I started buying Rieussec whenever I could and by sheer luck purchased 12 half bottles of 2001 before WS rated it. Still have a couple of those left.
Also had the 2001 Climens, Suduiraut, Guiraud & Doisy. Love all of these except the Doisy, which is still nice but doesn’t do it for me like the others.

Maybe another that’s uneven? We had a stunningly good bottle a year ago.

Quite possible!

While it would be fun trying, I don’t think I could drink that many Sauternes in one sitting. I’ve loved the ‘01 suduiraut for some time. I was able to pick up an OWC for a song last year, as well as a six pack of 375, my preferred size for stickies.
I like the Reuissac too, but not as much as the Suduiraut. The 2001 Climens was one of my first futures orders, and was definitely my first futures order that was canceled and not honored after critical reviews were released.
Thanks for the great notes.

I don’t drink a huge amount of Sauternes but if the 01 Yquem gets 99+ points then the 09 must get 130 or so, really incomparably finer in my experience!

OK, Mike. I love 2001 Sauternes. The Yquem and Climens are two of the greatest Sauternes/Barsacs I have ever had. Got your notes so far and think all your notes are great (I could never write coherent notes on over 100 wines so [worship.gif] [worship.gif] [worship.gif] ). But, Pissarro vs. (current) Renoir? Is it likely that Pizzaro’s paintings are going to mature further while on canvass or what? I realize that miracles do happen and that Pissarro was a Member of the Tribe but still, what are we expecting? Help?

Thanks for posting these notes. I’ve got most all of these in 375 and 750 resting comfortably and haven’t opened one in many years. Might be time to start-

Like Tran, I made a beeline for this table right at the beginning, so I could taste them all with a fresh palate. I did not take detailed notes but was among those impressed by the Lafaurie-Peyraguey. It was floral and interesting and fun without any sense of heaviness. Like falling into effortless conversation with a stranger at a packed cocktail party. Certainly the Yquem showed it was the better wine, but so what? I was more than content with this

My benchmark experience with the vintage continues to be a highly incorrect bottle of Rieussec that was mahogany brown and full of mushrooms and furniture polish and hence tasted nothing like regular Sauternes. This one was correct, which means it was good with hopefully greatness ahead of it (at least I hope, as I have cellared a few). I did prefer the Suduiraut a bit more on this day, finding it more ready and open

The Doisy Daene was another one of my favorites for its brightness and verve, but less interesting than the Lafaurie-Peyraguey

Climens has somehow never moved me, and goodness knows I’ve tried all different vintages from the '80s and up from the beginning of my wine drinking career. I have always found it a bit thin and a bit shy. Perhaps one day my luck with the producer will improve

LOL, thanks Howard. I was thinking more of style as it presented to me–shimmery in the case of Yquem, more precise and defined in the case of Climens. At least I think that’s what I was thinking!

Yao, I have had a number of fabulous Climens—88, 07, 09 and 11 all spring to mind right away. Also, some of the wines at the “Insulin Shot Dinner” that I posted the link to above.

Tom–I haven’t had that one yet! Quest commenced!


Interesting that you like Lafaurie-Peyraguey so much. I have always thought of this as a very interesting blend of Sauternes like Rieussec, etc., that can be very rich and complex but somewhat less elegant, and a Barsac, which may be less rich but has better acidity and is fresher and more elegant. LP to me has come of the elegance of the Barsacs with some of the richness of the Sauternes. You may be liking this balance of attributes, which I do as well.

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Climens is my favorite Sauternes/Barsac other than Yquem. I have loved vintages like 86, 88, 2014, etc., but I think the best I have had is 2001.

Thanks everyone for all the notes!

I’ve had a few 2001 horizontals over the past decade or two. They are all enjoyable, but certainly there are some consistent highlights like the 2001 Suduiraut. I need to try the 2001 Rieussec again soon… it has been too young whenever I’ve had it before but it’s been a few years. The 2001 Coutet is atypically light and elegant but I love it. I’ve not been moved by the 2001 Climens but have only had it once. The Yquem has been really young and it has also been a few years. Everything else is ready to drink, in my opinion. The 2001 Fargues is one of my absolute favorites but is evolving more quickly than the 2001 Suduiraut, for example.

Apologies for thread drift: I sent a message to Warren Taranow, but it’s showing as still in my outbox.

Warren, if you see this, please confirm that you got my reply.

Dan Kravitz