Chateau Rieussec, Chateau d'Yquem's next door neighbor, is a wine producer located in Fargues, in the Sauternes appellation in Bordeaux. It makes sweet wines from a classic Bordeaux blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, and was classified as a first growth in the 1855 Classification of Sauternes and Barsac, alongside the finest sweet white wines the region.
In the 18th Century, the estate was tended to by Carmelite monks before being confiscated in the French Revolution. After passing hands several times, it has now come under the ownership of Barons de Rothschild, which owns Chateau Lafite Rothschild, in partnership with Albert Frere of LVMH. Chateau Rieussec's 2001 vintage was #1 in Wine Spectator's Top 100 in 2004.
The 93 hectares (230 acres) of vineyards are planted mostly with Semillon, alongside plots of Sauvignon Blanc and a small amount of Muscadelle. The terroir in Sauternes helps the spread of Botrytis cinerea, and Rieussec's grapes are hand-harvested as they are affected by noble rot. The best bunches are used to make the grand vin, which after fermentation spends 26 months in oak, about half new. All other juice is used to make the second wine, Carmes de Rieussec, which is only aged for 18 months. A dry white wine, R de Rieussec, is made from a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc and is partially barrel-fermented.
VINOUS | 94 bottled shortly before my tasting) Explosive aromas of apricot,peach, minerals, creme caramel, grilled nuts and spices, along with cooler hints of licorice and menthol. Thick, sweet and chewy with extract; an impressively mouthfilling wine with lovely framing acidity. Characteristically big and peachy. Finishes spicy, shapely and very long. The class of the tasting.