| Ah, but which Sauternes to bring home? Given all the choices, you all must wonder exactly how we come to any decisions as to what to bring home for our own consumption. This story pretty much epitomizes how a member of our staff makes that decision. We have a customer who really enjoys sweeter wines. The other day, she approached me with two different half bottles of Sauternes and asked me for my opinion of them. One was the 2005 d’Arche Lafaurie Cuvee Madame and the other was the 2005 Rabaud Promis. The answer was simple. I had tried the d’Arche Lafaurie (and loved it) and had not tried the Rabaud Promis. Knowing what I know about the 2005 Sauternes vintage (fish in a barrel, anyone?), I knew the Rabaud Promis would be very good as well. I encouraged her to try it and report back (how about that for a lame attempt to get free tasting notes?). She busted me, and chose the d’Arche Lafaurie. That left me exactly where I was, knowing nothing about the Rabaud Promis. Well not quite. My curiosity had been officially piqued. So I decided that it was time to not only know what it tasted like, but to treat myself to something special at the same time. So, without much fanfare, I grabbed a half bottle on my way out the door last night, and was I in for a treat.
I opened up my kitchen door, then the fridge, and popped the Sauternes in for a quick chill. I took care of a little business and got my dinner arranged. It’s funny, I flew through dinner quickly, which is something I never do. I very well may be the slowest eater around. My family is certainly aware of this, as at gatherings it is not uncommon for my mother to ask, “Who wants coffee, who wants tea?”, bringing out dessert; while I am in the middle of lunch. Sorry, I’m rambling again. I flew through dinner because, for me, it was always going to be about the Sauternes. I cleaned up, got a fresh glass and let the corkscrew work its magic. Pop. Out it came. Poured the first glass. It was a little too cold. So I cupped the bowl with my hands as I swirled. I am a pretty patient guy, so I waited 15 minutes or so before I got back involved. Wow, was I rewarded. Aromatically, I picked up tropical notes of pineapple, papaya, and mango … candied peaches, baked apple, and the quintessential botrytis of 2005. On the palate, that baked apple thing really came forth, as did the vanilla, which led me to think of apple pie a la mode straight away. I marveled at the brilliant, lively acidity that seemed to hold the whole thing together and make for a memorable finish of fruit and spice. Wow, talk about something special!
So, you see, you never know what is going to inspire you to taste a wine you’ve never tried before. I would like to thank our customer who inspired this particular tasting (she did come in today and reported the 2005 d’Arche Lafaurie Cuvee Madame to be something special indeed.) But one thing’s for sure, if I could make a list of all of the special things in my life, Sauternes would be on it! – Peter Zavialoff