Is Sauternes the best wine in Bordeaux?
It will come as no surprise to anyone that knows me that I think so – I have been championing the wines of Sauternes and Barsac within the wine trade ever since I discovered them in 1983. Some will also happily agree that Chateau d’Yquem is one of the best wines in the world, let alone just in Bordeaux.
What will come as a surprise is that I think I can prove it – and I am not just talking about Chateau d’Yquem! It may surprise you that you may have helped me, especially if you have ever used a piece of online software called Cellartarcker.
Created by Eric Le Vine, this very useful cellar management software encourages wine lovers to track their wines, value them and write tasting notes for the wider community use. There are around one and a half million tasting notes on the site covering wines from all around the world.
The really interesting bit is that users are encouraged to give scores for every wine they taste. The site effectively assesses exactly what people think about just about every fine wine and the wines from every wine region in the world! The consumer has become the critic!
What do the wine enthusiasts on Cellartracker think of Sauternes? They love it! More than any other Bordeaux wine including Pauillac, St Julien, Pessac-Leognan, Pomerol, St Emilion, Margaux and St Estephe. The figures for mis-May were as follows:
Sauternes – 8,014 notes with an average score of 91.5 points
Barsac – 987 notes, 91.5 points
Pauillac – 16,874 notes, 91.0 points
St Julien – 12,473 notes, 90.5 points
Pessac-Leognan – 9,087 notes, 90.4 points
Pomerol – 6,624 notes, 90.1 points
St Emilion Grand Cru – 15,054 notes, 90.1 points
Margaux – 9,748 notes, 89.9 points
St Estephe – 7,468 notes, 89.8 points
And Sauternes also outscores almost every other wine region in the world with only the Burgundy Grand Crus, Hermitage, Quarts de Chaume, the Barossa Range and a few small Italian regions faring better. All of these regions have a much greater concentration of top properties within the region and much fewer lesser wines.
These results are not a revelation to me. I have traveled the world for the last 30 years promoting both Sauternes and red Bordeaux wines at tastings and dinners and, almost without fail, it is the Sauternes or Barsac wines that bring the biggest smiles to taster’s faces.
It may seem a little old-fashioned to express a liking for sweet wine but I think this will change very soon – certainly when left to express our true opinions online we assess Sauternes and Barsac wines as amongst the very best in the world.