The Wine Idiot Reviews: G. Chevalier Sauternes, 2011 ($12.99)
This beautiful bottle kept catching my eye at TJ's, but I kept passing it by because I couldn't bring myself to spend more on a half-bottle than I normally spend on a full-sized bottle. But it just looked so special, and I'd never had Sauternes before, so I waited for just the right special-occasion excuse to purchase it.
I chose Election Night 2016.
I have rotten luck. Not as bad as HRC's? But pretty bad.
So that night obviously sucked. But this wine does not.
I knew nothing about Sauternes other than it was a sweet wine, and as soon as I popped the cork I knew I was in for a treat. It smells very sweet and fruity, like overripe peaches drizzled with honey. From the first sip, it is rich and syrupy, but not tooth-rottingly sweet. It reminds me of the baked honey apples with caramel sauce my mom makes at Christmas. There's no tangy-ness that comes with apples--it is soooooooo smooth.
I was eating it with cheese and crackers and I wasn't delighted, except for--oddly--when I tasted it after eating garlic and herbs Boursin cheese. For some reason, that was a weirdly tasty combination. But I wouldn't recommend this to drink with any food, even dessert. It's fabulous on its own, and would make a great dessert in its own right.
What the bottle says: "This naturally sweet wine has been specially made for Trader Joe's by Château Guiraud, First Growth Sauternes, by the estate's co-owner and manager Xavier Planty."
What the Wine Idiot says: That's neat. I really mean that. I bet Xavier is a fun dude to hang out with.
Who's responsible for this? Latitude Wines in Danville, CA. Of course. Literally all the best imported wines at Trader Joe's come courtesy of the fine folks at Latitude. They're doing something right.
Do I need a corkscrew? Yes.
What do smarter people say about it? Well, y'all, I just learned so much about Sauternes. So apparently, according to no less than the New York Times, 2011 was a standout year for Bordeaux wine: "One chateau after another displayed wines with perfect botrytis — that is, the “noble rot” that gives these nectars their rich, complex textures and flavors. 'Such a vigorous burst of noble rot is rare,' Denis Dubourdieu, a winemaker and oenologist, wrote in a report on the 2011 vintage. 'In 40 years of making wine in the region, I have only seen this phenomenon twice, in 2009 and 2011.' There is also something nimble about the sweet 2011s, thanks to relatively high acidities. Although white Bordeaux — sweet and dry — is made primarily from the sauvignon blanc and semillon varieties, the 2011 Sauternes and Barsacs reminded me a bit of the great rieslings of Germany. Despite their ample sugar content, they were so fresh and racy — yes, so seemingly dry — that I sometimes almost forgot I was tasting sweet wines." The Kitchn even suggests this very bottle as an affordable dessert wine for Thanksgiving! Oh, and apparently you're supposed to use a 2 oz. "dessert wine" glass for this. I definitely drank the whole bottle out of my classy goblet. Boom.
Should I bring it to a friend's house? Yeah, if you were supposed to bring dessert but you secretly just want to keep drinking after dinner. Awwww, your friend doesn't have dessert wine glasses? TOO BAD!