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  • Country ranking ?

    1 199
  • Producer ranking ?

    23
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    now to 2030
  • Food Pairing

    foie gras & aged Comté cheese

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The Story

The Château Coutet vines' deep roots extract elements from its terroir to give the grapes freshness, richness and strength. For this reason the estate carries the name "Coutet,” derived from the Gascon's word for knife, to signify the fresh, lively and crisp palate that is the wine's signature style. In its youth, the wines display generous notes of white flowers, citrus fruits, honey and vanilla. Ginger and pineapple are very typical aromas in a young Château Coutet. Time brings out deeper, warmer notes in which spices combine with exotic nectars and candied fruits, such as gingerbread mingled with marmalade. Age also enhances the harmony of its roasted Botrytis character and its distinct aromas to give Château Coutet a delicate and unique bouquet that is unsurpassed.

Area under vines: 38.5 hectares (95 acres)

Planted grape varieties: 75% Sémillon, 23% Sauvignon Blanc, 2% Muscadelle

Soil: Clay with a limestone sub-soil

Average age of the vines: 38 years

Planting density: 7,500 plants per hectare (3,000 plants per acre)

Vineyard management: "Taille à Cot" (traditional Sauternes pruning) and rational cultivation

Harvest: By hands (successive passes, called tries)

Average yield: 9 hl/ha (0.9 ton per acre)

Ageing: 18 months in French oak barrels, 70 to 100% new 

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Wine Information

As for the last thirty years, the winter in Barsac was sunny, dry and cold. These conditions were favorable to ensure a good dormancy of the vine. The vegetation cycle began eight days in advance and bud burst was observed on April 5th. April was cold and rainy but May brought temperatures greater than 30°C between the 17th and 25th of the month. This resulted in an early flowering- one of the earliest ones in the century. Semi-flowering occurred on May 30th, about fifteen days ahead of schedule. July, June and August were hot and sunny with, fortunately, some rainfalls in the form of thunderstorms that provided a good water supply. Semi-ripening was reached on August 4th, 16 days ahead of a normal season. September was comparable with the three previous months. The number of sunny days during the summer was only slightly lower than the record year of 1961. The harvest took place over the course of four weeks (this short harvesting period is very rare for the Sauternes region) requiring only four passages (with an additional two for cleaning) under very favorable conditions that allowed the development of the Botrytis cinerea on ripe grapes, thus rich in sugar.

Harvest dates: September 26 to October 24
Tries: 6 manual successive passes
Number of days of harvest: 28
Grape varieties: Sémillon 75%, Sauvignon Blanc 23%, Muscadelle 2%
Fermentation: 100% barrel fermented, 100% new French oak
Ageing: 18 month in new French oak barrels
Estate bottled: May 1991

Tasting notes:

The wine is of a mahogany color with orange glints. Its nose, ample and intense, opens up rapidly on notes of nuts, pineapple and candied mango, mixed with more typical notes of a very qualitative botrytisation (honey, vanilla and gingerbread). On the palate, and with the retro-olfaction, all the richness of the vintage is revealed along with a well-mastered balance, the blending of aromatic notes (exotic fruits, honey, black tea and cherry plum liqueur) and the freshness of small, lemony zests. The finish is full of charm and savory, adding small, very fine notes of vanilla, to a beautiful, complex ensemble. 
This was one of the few wines where the 1989 was the superior offering. The richest, sweetest, and fattest of the 1988, 1989 and 1990 vintages, it offers a pure nose of pineapples, full body, and excellent concentration. Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, April 1995, 90/100

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Written Notes

Looked at a couple of older sweeties recently. One, this Coutet, came from a bottle where the label was almost off – we could still tell it as a Coutet though not the vintage till the cork was removed (fortunately, we saved enough of it to identify the wine but the last bit crumbled back into the bottle). Anyone who recalls the very dark colours that Rieussec would quickly develop – wines from back in the 70's and 80's – would have assumed this to be one of theirs. It was extremely dark brown, teak. To be honest, I didn't hold out much hope for it but when opened, it amazed us all. Still with freshness and bags of life. Richly honeyed, lots of caramel, some complexity. Certainly one for drinking now – though bottles that have presumably been better stored may have a more inspired future awaiting them. This was a real surprise, given its appearance, but a delightful one.
  • 92p

Golden, orange tints. Apricots and burnt caramel on the nose. Fresh acidity, fruity and lively, refreshing and elegant, caramelized apricots finish, long. Directly from the estate. 92

  • 92p
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Information

Origin

Barsac, Sauternes

Glass time

2h
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