Château 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 Château Lafite Rothschild, in partnership with Albert Frére of LVMH. Château 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.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate | 91 Tasted at an off-line lunch at La Trompette. The Rieussec 1999 has a lovely, vibrant nose with notes of grapefruit, Japanese yuzu and wild honey all with fine delineation and that vanilla-tinged patina one often finds with this estate. The palate is well balanced with a vibrant entry: attractive notes of white peach and honeycomb, leading to a very harmonious, waxy texture finish. This is an impressive off-vintage Rieussec drinking perfectly now, although it has the weight to keep. Tasted June 2011. (May2011)