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Are sweet white wines the most technically precise to make?
- Yes. Picking the grape at the right moment is paramount. Also financially challenging; 50% sold in futures.
- Dry whites: several hours for skin contact (if any)
- Red: several weeks for vatting, fermentation, maceration. 80-95% sold in futures.
What is the sign of a good sweet white wine?
- High levels of sweetness
- Commensurately high levels of acidity
What are the only 2 sensations all white wines have?
Dry, sweet, and sparkling white wines only have sweetness and acidity
Name the 5 communes of AOC Sauternes
What is the permitted yield and RS for Sauternais sweet whites in Bordeaux?
- Sauternes and Barsac: 25 hl/ha and 221 g/l
- Cerons: 40 hl/ha and 212 g/l
Name the 6 AOC for Bordeaux sweet white wines
- Sainte-Croix du-Mont
Name the 2 AOC for Bordeaux semi-sweet white wines
- AOC Graves Superieur: 947 hl, 29 ha, = 33 hl/ha
- AOC Premiers Cotes de Bordeaux: 5,602 hl, 207 ha, = 27 hl/ha
- These AOC wines are rare but of high quality
How much residual sugar is allowed in dry, semi-sweet, and sweet white wines in Bordeaux?
- Sec: < 4 g/l
- Moelleux: 4-45 g/l
- Liquoreux: > 45 g/l
What rivers join around Barsac/Loupiac/Sainte-Croix du-Mont?
- La Garonne: a large warm river
- Le Ciron: a cool stream (flows through pine forest)
Is Cadillac within the Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux appellation?
Is the altitude of the left bank AOCs (Sauternes/Barsac/Cerons) lower or higher than on Garonne's right bank AOCs(Cadillac/Loupiac/Sainte-Croix du-Mont)?
How is the progress of grapes affected by Botrytis Cinerea measured?
Name three levels of potential alcohol
- Ripe (No botrytis): 14%
- Pink ("pourri plein" -- fully rotten): 18%
- Shrivelled ("cuit" -- cooked): 20-23%
Compare yields of red vs sweet white wine
- Bordeaux: 50 hl/ha (1 vine = 1 bottle)
- Sauternes: 25 hl/ha (1 vine = 3 glasses)
- Yquem: 8-9 hl/ha (1 vine = 1 glass)
What does Botrytis give to a wine?
Spicy, Apricot, Honeysuckle, Canned corn, Shoe polish
Who is the winemaker at Chateau Raymond-Lafon?
Pierre Meslier (was winemaker at d'Yquem... adjacent property)
What sensory affect does Botrytis itself have on sweet wine?
- None according to Denis Dubourdieu, Bordeaux oenology school
- Rather, it stimulates the grape to overproduce aromatic precursors
Can over-ripe grapes not affected by Botrytis produce sweet wine?
Yes, e.g., Alsace Late Harvest
Describe sweet wine made without botrytis
- evaporation and concentration impact taste but lack aromatic richness of botrytis
- increases precursors by a factor of 2 (vs 10 with botrytis)
When must botrytis occur for desired results?
- Right after ripeness is achieved
- Too early - unsatisfactory results
- Too late - grapes not stimulated
What is the main white grape for dry whites?
What is the main white grape for sweet whites?
- Pineapple, mango, passion fruit
- Thinner skin takes well to botrytis
- Increases aging potential
- Chateau d'Yquem - 80%
What does Sauvignon contribute to sweet whites?
- Should be < 50% (because it reduces aging potential)
What does Muscadelle contribute to sweet whites?
- Little - reduce the appeal of the wine
- Inappropriate Muscat aromas
Compare Barsac and Sauternes soils and wine
- Barsac: red sand above limestone (lively)
- Sauternes: gravel and sand (richer)
Name 3 other appellations that make sweet whites, but NOT exclusively
- Cotes de Bordeaux-Saint-Macaire
- Most producers in these appellations DON'T make sweet whites
- Sweetness due to over-ripeness, not botrytis
Do Bordeaux producers refer to their sweet whites as dessert wines?
- No - they HATE that term
- Has financial implication since fewer people drink at end of meal due to DUI laws
What do you eat with Bordeaux sweet whites?
- Aperitif: doesn't impact wine served next since enough time
- First course: foie gras
- Main course: roast chicken (salt, pepper, tarragon)
- Cheese course: blue cheeses like Roquefort
- Dessert course: lemon/apple tart
What percent of 2009 Bordeaux production was in St-Emilion, Pomerol, and Fronsac?
- Bordeaux and Bordeaux Superieur: 50%
- The Cotes: 13%
- Graves/Medoc: 17%
- Saint-Emilion/Pomerol/Fronsac: 10%
- Dry White: 8%
- Sweet White: 2%
Name Dewey Markham Jr.'s favorite good value Bordeaux wines
- Cote de Castillon
- Chateau Raymond-Lafon (Sauternes)