AOC Sauternes in the Graves region of Bordeaux is famous for the production of sweet wine using the “noble rot” technique, popularized in the 18th century. The historical Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey estate produces a Sauternes ranked as a Premier Grand Cru in the prestigious classification of 1855. To enjoy in the heat of summertime the chateau proposes a brand new method of tasting their exquisite Sauternes, on the rocks with citrus peel. A refreshing treat perfect for a weekend aperitif.
AOC Sauternes: A Brief History
Although wine-making in the Bordeaux region is believed to date back to the Roman Empire, sweet wine is a more recent invention, introduced to the region in the 17th century. And while the English are historically credited with providing the greatest market for claret (Bordeaux-style red wine of the time), it was the Dutch merchants who first developed an interest in white wine, taking German techniques and applying them to white varieties planted in Bordeaux. As the Dutch searched for areas favourable for the production of white wine, they discovered Sauternes.
Initially the practice of using nobly rotted grapes, infested with Botrytis cinerea, to produce sweet wines was kept a secret. Winemakers weren’t sure how the market would react to drinking wine elaborated from fungus-infested grapes. In the 18th century the secret got out as the sweet wines of Germany and the Tokajis of Hungary became known for the same technique. And as these wines were gradually accepted, those of Sauternes also became famous. By the end of the 18th century Sauternes wines even caught the attention of United States President Thomas Jefferson, at that time the Ambassador to France, who placed a large order of Château d’Yquem after trying it during his time in Bordeaux.
The appellation d’origine controlee (AOC) Sauternes is made up of 5 communes (Barsac, Bommes, Fargues, Preignac and Sauternes) and is located within Graves on the Left Bank of the Garonne, south of Bordeaux. The wine produced in this region is comprised of Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle grapes and is infected with “noble rot,” which gives the wine a very unique sweet flavour.
Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey: 8 Centuries of History in Sauternes
Located in the heart of the Sauternes region, just outside the village of Bommes, is Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey. The Maisons Rouges, part of the property, is believed to have been a stageing post during the Roman Empire, with some of the stones around the entrance wall dating back to the 13th century. In the prestigious 1855 classification, Lafaurie-Peyraguey was ranked a Premiers Grand Crus Classes, in second place. The historic estate boasts 36 hectares planted with 93% Semillon, 6% Sauvignon and 1% Muscadelle in Sauternes gravel from the Quaternary era on subsoils of Aquitania limestone. Since 2014 the chateau is owned by passionate wine enthusiast Silvio Denz, owner also of Chateau Peby Faugeres and Chateau Faugeres, two Grand Crus Classes in Saint Emilion, along with Chateau Cap de Faugeres and Chateau Rocheyron.
Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey currently produces a 1er Grand Cru Classe Sauternes, as well as a Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey Grand Vin Blanc Sec made with Semillon and Sauvignon and referred to by James Suckling as “the best dry white from Sauternes” (2015 vintage).
A Brand New Way to Enjoy the Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey 1er Grand Cru Classe
In honor of its 1er Grand Cru Classe Sauternes, Chateau Lafaurie- Peyraguey proposes a brand new way to enjoy its timeless product: on the rocks. Simply pour some of the Sauternes over ice (in a suitable wine glass or long glass) or finish the drink with citrus zest, which complement the natural fruit flavours in the wine. This refreshing alternative is especially well suited to the warm summer months and is perfect for a Sunday afternoon aperitif or a sweet finish to a light summer lunch.
2 Recipes for Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey 1er Grand Cru Classe on the Rocks
Ingredients: Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey 1er Grand Cru Classe Sauternes, 3 ice cubes, 2 curls of lemon peel.
- Rub lemon peel around the edge of a glass of Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey 1er Grand Cru Classe Sauternes.
- Add lemon peel into the glass.
- Add ice cubes.
Ingredients: Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey 1er Grand Cru Classe Sauternes, 3 ice cubes, 2 curls of orange peel.
- Rub orange peel around the edge of a glass of Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey 1er Grand Cru Classe Sauternes.
- Add orange peel into the glass.
- Add ice cubes.