(2021) This English dessert wine is made from the sweetest grape must ever recorded in the UK, with 325g/l of sugar. That was thanks to the long, hot summer of 2018 when the Barnes family, now in its third generation, decided conditions were right in late October to harvest the grapes which were beginning to raisin on the vine. Once fermented, 122/gl of residual remained. The wine rested in American Oak Barrels for six weeks. Pale gold in colour, the nose is exotic and honeyed, some chamomile and distinctly floral notes playing against both Acacia blossom honey and sweet nectarine, with a little ginger in the mix too. On the palate is has medium weight and beautifully judged sweetness. It's a lighter style than some botrytis-affected sweet wines, the nectarine and apricot juiciness of the palate sweet without being cloying, the orange acidity balancing very nicely into a long finish. A limited edition, it is available in 37.5cl bottles from the Biddenden web site.
(2021) A 'Sélection de Grains Nobles', made from Botrytis-affected grapes which were hand-picked from vines averaging 40 years of age. A medium- to deep, lightly-burnished gold, the nose has mint and a little honey and glycerine note, lemony but quite subtle. The palate has a delicious hint of tobacco and saffron, lots of apricot and peach fruit and terrific acidity, a streaking and fresh lime juice finish, giving this great balance into a long finish as the sweetness persists. Price for a 50cl bottle.
(2021) This lightly fortified sweet Muscat, much in the style of a Muscat de Beaumes de Venise for example, comes from the Torres family of Spain. It's a delightful wine, overflowing with aroma and flavour, the colour a burnished gold. On the nose, honeycomb, saffron and sweet confit fruit, florals and lemon all in the mix. Thick and unctuous on the palate, there is masses of honeyed flavour and intense golden sultana sweetness, but the alcohol and the acidity give a bit of backbone and welcome freshness. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas.
(2021) Over 150 grams of residual sugar in this half bottle of sweet wine, composed of 64% Muscat de Frontignan and 36% Chenin Banc affected by Botrytis. Gorgeoud nose, where the barley sugar and leaf tea notes of the Botrytis merge with the floral and leafy green herbs of the Muscat. Unctuous and medium- to full-bodied, that beautiful fruit sweetness moves through nectarine to orange, but at all times the acidity if finely and exqusitely balanced. A lovely wine this. Price for the half bottle.
(2021) A wine I have been lucky enough to enjoy regularly since first tasting it 'en primeur' in 2003, this was from a half bottle and was absolutely glorious. The nose of this has always fascinated, not only heaving with a depth of marmalade, honey and toast, but the exoticism of saffron and candied fruits, and a wonderful suggestion of truffle and dry, Botrytis-rich curry-leaf. In the mouth it is so concentrated, so vital, the intensity of the dried apricot and Seville orange, mouth-filling sweetness, beeswax weight and richness, then the clarity of confit lemon, mineral salts and again, that truffle character adding soulful depth. Quite majestic. Price quoted is for a half bottle.
(2021) From a vintage that was poor for Bordeaux's red wines, but very good for Sauternes. This was a vintage where the first trie was not promising, with more grey rot than Botrytis, but luckly the weather changed in October and successive tries produced very good Botrytis and fruit. The blend is 90% Semillon with Sauvignon Blanc, 15% made in new barrels, 85% in older barrels for 18 moths. 148g/l of residual sugar. Lots of orange blossom, honey and a little leaf tea and bergamot, the palate luscious and very creamy, with masses of sweetness of apricot and golden sultana, but the acidity dazzling and fresh. Very long and concentrated, it finishes on the dry Botrytis flavours that make these wines so appealing. Half bottle price given.
(2021) Pierre says the development of Botrytis was excellent in 2010, comparing it to 1990, and that the proportion of 10% Sauvignon is unusually high, because the Sauvignon was so good in this year. It spent 20 months in barrels, 50% new and 50% one year old, and has 145g/l of residual sugar. This was a big crop, with over 80,000 bottles produced from a yield that is always between 15 and 20 hectolitres per hectare. I've enjoyed several tastings of this vintage over the years, and it's a wine with realy charm and elegance, but a fabulously approachable sweetness and easy-drinking appeal. There is honey and quite exotic apricot and mango on the nose, more delicate floral notes flit in and out, as well as the light earthy character of Botrytis. Beautiful fruit and texture on the palate, mouth-filling and glycerine-rich, but that orange and tangerine character of the acidity, that persistent touch of leafiness, gives this real freshness even although the concentration and Botrytis character persists in the long finish. Price for a half bottle.
(2021) This outstanding wine is expensive, but I have to say, is worth the price if you can afford it. Made from the oldest plots of Gewurz on high slopes, picked late, it is aged for six years in an abandoned silver mine, 6,500 feet up, and four kilometres deep into the mountainside. It pours a pale gold colour, and the bouquet is immediately arresting, with classic rose petal and lychee perfume, a touch of honey, and a touch of something lightly leafy and herbal. In the mouth there is glycerine richness and weight, but the punch of the vibrant and still very pretty fruit comes through, tropical and candied, but with a core of shimmering acidity that never loses focus. 1,200 bottles produced. Note that price and stockist is for the previous vintage at time of review.
(2020) Tasted several times, most recently in 2014 (and scored 96) this is probably my favourite of the more recent Suduiraut vintages along with 2001, 2009 and 2010. The colour is a gorgeous burnished gold, and the nose a wonderously deep, smoke, Seville orange and barley sugar confection, notes of fig jam and walnut adding to the warmth of the appeal. On the palate so thick and luscious, the 165g/l of residual sugar meaning it is sweetly mouth-filling, glycerine and honey-rich, with such wonderfully poised acidity giving perfect balance. Just brilliant Sauternes this, undoubtedly with the capacity to cellar further, but utterly delicious now.
(2020) A late picked wine, Botrytis-affected, made from the uniquely Australian variety, Taminga, bred to retain acidity in hot conditions, and found to be very susceptible to Botrytis, thus suitable for making such inexpensive sweet wines. Honey, glycerine and a wisp of barely sugar on the nose, bold citrus and some floral aromas, are all very inviting. In the mouth it has some weight and lusciousness, the fruit between juicy nectarine and orange, more honey, and while it doesn't have the complexity or finesse of something like the Disznókő Tokaji also reviewed, it is balanced by good lemony acidity and delivers a helluva lot for the modest price. Price for 37.5cl