Bordeaux 2009: Sauternes and Dry Whites

2009 is an excellent vintage for the sweet wines of Sauternes but I don’t subscribe to the commonly held view that it’s a ‘best ever’ vintage there.

dsc_08991The wines are delicious but very sweet (high in residual sugar) and a bit one-dimensional, with the exception of d’Yquem (right), Climens and Rieussec. Prices for most Sauternes have been released and many have been put up, so much so that it seems daft to pay 50% more for a 2009 in barrel than an equally good 2007 in bottle from the same property. It’s noticeable that most 2009 wines are still available after a month on the market. Some producers, however, deserve credit for showing more restraint.

Some very good dry whites too, not truly outstanding – actually, not unlike 2005, a brilliant red vintage and very good for both sweet and dry white – but it’s not a vintage of the decade for dry whites. The list comprises mostly the top wines of Pessac-Léognan – not included here are the dry whites of Entre Deux Mers, Graves or Bordeaux Blancs.

Below are my scores out of 100 compared to Jancis Robinson’s, out of 20, and prices that have been released. SW = sweet, DR = dry white

Chateau Appellation Type GQ pts JR Price
Sauternes and Barsac
d’Yquem Sauternes SW 96-100 19+ NA
Rieussec Sauternes SW 94-96 18 £640
Climens Barsac SW 94-96 18.5+ NA
Suduiraut Sauternes SW 92-94 18.5 £640
Guiraud Sauternes SW 92-94 18 £380
Doisy Daëne Barsac SW 92-94 18 £310
Coutet Barsac SW 92-93 16 £550
Clos Haut-Peyraguey Sauternes SW 92-93 17.5 NA
La Tour Blanche Sauternes SW 92-3 18 £450
de Fargues Sauternes SW 91-93 17.5 £1000
Rayne Vigneau Sauternes SW 91-93 16 £320
Doisy-Védrines Barsac SW 91-93 15.5 £245
Lafaurie-Peyraguey Sauternes SW 90-92 17.5 £350
d’Arche Sauternes SW 90-92 17 £210
Nairac Barsac SW 90-92 18 £490
de Myrat Barsac SW 90-91 17.5 £215
Rabaud-Promis Sauternes SW 90-91 16 £310
Sigalas Rabaud Sauternes SW 89-91 17.5 £350
de Malle Sauternes SW 89-91 17.5 £240
Suau Barsac SW 89-91 16.5 NA
Lamothe-Guignard Sauternes SW 88-90 17 £165
Lamothe Sauternes SW 88-90 17.5 £175
Bastor-Lamontagne Sauternes SW 88-89 15.5 £170
Caillou Barsac SW 88-89 16.5+ £210
Broustet Barsac SW 87-89 16 £180
Romer du Hayot Sauternes SW 87-88 17 NA
Filhot Sauternes SW 86-87 16.5 £170
Not tasted Raymond Lafon SW 19 £265
Dry whites
Haut Brion Blanc Pessac-Léognan DW 93-95 17 NA
La Mission Haut Brion blanc Pessac-Leognan DW 92-94 17.5 NA
Domaine de Chevalier Pessac-Léognan DW 90-92 17.5 NA
Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac-Léognan DW 90-92 17 NA
Pavillon Blanc du Margaux Bordeaux Blanc DW 90-92 17 NA
La Clarté de Haut-Brion Pessac-Léognan DW 90-92 17 NA
Pape Clément Pessac-Léognan DW 90-92 16 NA
Malartic Lagraviere Pessac-Léognan DW 89-91 15.5 NA
Haut Bergey Pessac-Léognan DW 88-90 17 £250
Larrivet Haut Brion Pessac-Léognan DW 88-90 16 £250
de Fieuzal Pessac-Léognan DW 88-90 17+ NA
Olivier Pessac-Léognan DW 88-90 17 NA
Latour-Martillac Pessac-Léognan DW 88-90 15.5 NA
Chantegrive cuvee Caroline Graves DW 88-90 15.5 £128
Carbonnieux Pessac-Léognan DW 87-89 16+ NA
Bouscaut Pessac-Léognan DW 87-88 17 NA
France, de Pessac-Léognan DW 87-88 16 NA
La Louvière Pessac-Léognan DW 86-88 16+ NA
Ferrande Graves DW 86-87 16 NA
Rahoul Graves DW 86-87 NT NA
Picque Caillou Pessac-Léognan DW 85-87 16.5 NA

2 thoughts on “Bordeaux 2009: Sauternes and Dry Whites

  1. Steve Webb

    I agree that the style of the 2009s is very different to the 2007s but having tasted all the main chateaux against each other from both vintages I can confirm that the 2009s are truly magnificent across the board. As Francis Mayeur and Sandrine Garbay put it at d'Yquem – in 2007 we had great botrytis on good grapes but in 2009 we had great botrytis on great grapes. Time will tell but I expect the 2009s to set the standard for the 21st century.

    1. Gavin

      Thanks, Steve, for the informed comments. I agree that d'Yquem is one of the wines of the vintage, and I liked many others very much indeed. I look forward to re-assessing them in bottle, if not before, hopefully alongside the 2007s – or maybe even the 2001s. Best regards, Gavin