The big news in 2012 in the village of Sauternes was that the leading Premier Cru Classe Rieussec, owned by Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) along with Chateau d’Yquem would not be making their first wines. The reason for this was that due to a dry August and September many vineyards struggled to produce normal levels of botrytis required to make significant quantities of the first wines. However, while these leading Sauternes chateaux have a long track record in declassifying their first wines in troubled vintages, they continue to make their second wines. The result is that the second wines benefit greatly as they include the very best parcels in the vineyard. As such the 2012 declassification of Rieussec greatly benefits their second wine Carmes de Rieussec, which in 2012, has been made from a combination of the first wine’s juice and therefore embodies the greatest aspects of the vineyard.
Situated directly next to Ch. d’Yquem, Rieussec is geographically blessed both with the perfect aspect to encourage botrytis and with the ideal blend of gravel, sand, clay and limestone soils.To produce the wines of Chateau Rieussec, vinification takes place in a combination of new and used French oak barrels. The used barrels come from Chateau Lafite Rothschild. Carmes de Rieussec – named in tribute to the former Carmelite owners – is selected according to the same standards as the first wine. It is made from 80% Semllion and 20% Sauvignon and Muscadelle, aged for 18 months and they produce approximately 6,000 cases a year. Its character consistently reveals a beautiful aromatic range dominated by citrus flavours.
Carmes de Rieussec 2012 offers a unique opportunity to secure the quality of Rieussec yet priced as a Carmes de Riuessec. For example, the 91-93 scoring 2011 Rieussec costs £360 for a 12x75cl case, while the 89-91 scoring Carmes de Rieussec 2012 is offered today for £145. This offers extraordinary value for money and an outstanding Price Over Points ratio of 14.5. This means a bottle of a wine of outstanding Sauternes is available for £16.96 including VAT.
Founded by the Carmelite monks in the 18th Century, Chateau Rieussec was awarded the status of Premier Cru Classe in the 1855 Classification of Sauternes. After the Classification of 1855, the Estate passed through several successive proprietors until in 1984 when it was purchased by the owners of Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Domaines Barons de Rothschild. With the investment from the Rothschilds, Chateau Rieussec has once again blossomed to the full potential of its terroir; in 2004, the Wine Spectator named the 2001 vintage the magazine’s Wine of the Year.
Rieussec Carmes de Rieussec 2012 - 12×75 - £145 IB or £203.52 incl duty and VAT
James Molesworth, Wine Spectator – 89-91 Points
Château Rieussec’s second wine is selected according to the same standards as the first wine. Its character consistently reveals a beautiful aromatic range dominated by citrus flavours. Carmes de Rieussec’s name is a reference to the Carmelite monks in Langon, who owned the Rieussec estate in the 18th century.
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