This will probably be the last wine I post about for a while. I'm headed back to Ithaca this weekend, and I have a feeling my suite-mates will prefer spending their Saturday nights getting shit faced off of Bacardi to tasting Sauvignon Blancs.
Anyway, on to Sauternes. Before I tasted this stuff I didn't really know what I was getting into. I knew it was a "fortified wine", meaning it had a higher alcohol content that normal wines, and that it was sweeter and considered a "dessert wine."
This stuff is dangerous. It's as sweet as a syrup with the consistency of white wine and none of the bite or throat scratch of alcohol. It would be very, very easy to get drunk off Sauternes. (Apparently the hangovers are brutal, though). But I'm ahead of myself.
Sauternes is a French dessert wine from the (duh) Sauternes region of Bordeaux. It is made from a variety of grapes that are exposed to Botrytis cinerea (noble rot). The rot causes the grapes to become partially raisined, concentrating their sugar content.
The rot can easily overtake and destroy the vine though, so production from year to year is hit or miss, and vintages can vary wildly. Because of this, Sauternes are unusually expensive--half-bottles often retail for $20 or more.
Sauternes are the longest lived wines, sometimes aged one hundred years. They are extremely sweet and are described as tasting of apricots, honey, and peaches.
The Sauternes I tasted, a 2006 Chateau du Grand Carretey, was delicious. In fact, it was downright yummy. It had a hint of acidity, but mostly tasted of vanilla and honey. For anyone who wants a drink but doesn't like the taste of alcohol (or rather the throat feel), this is a drink for you.