The vineyards of Sauternes extend to slightly more than 1,600 hectares. The soil is very varied but predominantly chalk, calciferous clay, and gravel-bearing clay.
To make this nectar of the gods 70-80% Semillon is used with 20-30 Sauvignon Blanc and sometimes a little Muscadelle. Semillon provides the wine with its charm, luxuriousness, comforting nature, and wonderful scents of honey, apricot, peach, quince, oranges, mandarin, pineapple etc. Sauvignon provides freshness and balance. A good French wine Sauternes is comforting, fatty, and velvet smooth but also fresh, refined, and elegant. Sauternes can be drunk while young (only the cheaper types) provided it is well chilled (6-8°C/42.8-46.4°F) as an original and refined aperitif with canapes with duck and goose liver. Young Sauternes also combines superbly with Salmon for example.
A great Sauternes (Yquem, Rieussec, SigalasRabaud, Clos Haut-Peyraguey, Doisy-Daene, DoisyVedrines, Pargues, Guiraud, Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Lagnet La Carriere, Les Justices, Malle, RayneVigneau, Roumieu, Suduiraut) is not drunk as an aperitif and certainly not young. The combination of dew and honey should be allowed to mature for a few years. Top quality Sauternes can be kept for 20-30 years. A fascinating and luxuriant bouquet develops in the bottle as the wine matures, containing honey, quince, preserved fruit, orange marmalade, and hazelnut as the upper notes. Drink this French wine at temperature: 8-9°C (46.4-48.2°F).
This French wine produced in the commune of Barsac has an ideal dilemma. This French wine is permitted to be sold as either its own name of Barsac but also as Sauternes. The difference between Barsac and Sauternes is perhaps that the Barsac is somewhat lighter and less liquorous than the other wines of Sauternes. Apart from this they are like two peas in a pod. Barsac is often more attractively priced though. Drinking temperature for Barsac French wine: 8-9°C (46.4-48.2°F).
Cerons are perhaps slightly lighter than both Barsac and Sauternes. They form a golden middle path between the better liquorous wines and the best sweet wines of Graves Superieures. Cerons is an extremely fine French wine in its own right though with a bouquet of flowers, honey, and fruit such as peach and apricot. The taste is full, rounded, harmonious, and juicy. This French wine is attractively priced for it quality and ability to please. Drinking temperature for Cerons French wine: 9-10°C (48.2-50°F).