Robert Parker / The Wine Advocate: The second wine of Rieussec, the 2013 Carmes de Rieussec is a blend of 83% Semillon, 9% Muscadelle and 8% Sauvignon Blanc. It has a lovely lemon curd, apricot and vanilla-scented nose with modest vigor. The palate has an edgy entry, with touches of citrus peel infusing the viscous fruit, and a dash of spice toward the finish.
Monks have founded for us a great number of wonderful wine-crus; this leading Sauternes chateau is no exception. Confiscation of the property from the Carmelites during the Revolution and the subsequent public sale in 1790 started a two-century era of continuous changes in ownership, which finally came to an end in 1984 when it was purchased by the Rothschilds. Baron Eric explains the addition of the gem to the family domains very simply: “Sauternes wines are so good that we wanted to have one of our own”.
Potential of the exceptional terroir was immensely supported by the owners’ investments into the facilities and methods. Chateau Rieussec switched to fermentation in barrels (before 1996, it had been partially done in tanks); maturation was prolonged thanks to the construction of a new cellar; renovation of the reception area and production shops was conducted; quality of sorting was increased.
All these measures tremendously raised quality since 1996; starting from 2009 the estate exhibits remarkable continuity of superb vintages: only 2012 was left without the highest evaluation of the critics because no wine was produced that year.
The 2nd wine is Carmes de Rieussec; the chateau also crafts a dry white ‘R de Rieussec’.
Vineyard area: 93 hectares
Soil: Gravelly sandy-clay
Barrel-aging: 18-26 months (50% in new French oak)