1998 Chateau Saint-Amand Sauternes (375ml)

Hello friends. Long-term list members know how I feel about sticky wines. Ardor probably captures it most closely. (Ardor: an often restless or transitory warmth of feeling)

In my mind, there is a holy trinity of sticky wines. The first is Trockenbeerenauslese from Germany. The second is Tokaji from Hungary. And the third is what we have today:

This blew up my offering schedule for the week. There are certain wines that dictate an immediate turnaround after tasting, and this is one of them.

Why?

First, tariff: Sauternes tends to be a high-end category (a split of 1998 D’Yquem goes for $150 at auction).

Second, age: it is rare indeed to access winery-aged, library Sauternes on these shores. Finding a Sauternes 15 years past vintage, at a price like this; it just doesn’t happen.

Third, availability: 600 bottles (that’s *bottles* not cases) were imported into Seattle. At last check, 25% have already sold. And that’s in like three days. No surprise, as I wasn’t the only person to taste these. If you don’t think every restaurant in Seattle isn’t angling to have a well-priced Sauternes on their dessert menu, you’ve been consuming too much of our product.

We do have a few advantages here. As I said, I’m turning this around quickly, so we can sneak in and grab our share before many folks know this has even hit Seattle.

Also, this is a Sauternes house that is not well-known in the United States, so the name recognition factor is low. Fine by me, because it doesn’t take much searching to find that this is wildly popular Sauternes in Europe. Oz Clarke, a wonderful British wine writer whose books and videos are well-worth seeking out, says this in his Oz Clarke’s Bordeaux: “[TEXT WITHHELD].” In his “best years” for Amand, the 1998 is one of eleven vintages mentioned.

Basically, the selfish French and fiendish Brits keep almost all the well-priced Sauternes for themselves. We’re lucky that our importer friends snuck any of this off the continent, because it’s an absolute beauty.

Revealed on first sniff are a series of maturing botrytis notes, complexities of tobacco and fungus that add musky sex-appeal to an already alluring bouquet. There is fig, and earth, and sweet spice, and toast, and burnt orange peel. Complex complex complex, such that it’s hard to pull your nose away and take a sip. When you do, you’re handsomely rewarded: a plump streak of caramel-drenched figs runs right down the middle of the palate, surrounded by notes of peach and plum and sappy grape. The acid-sugar balance is wonderful. The finish goes on and on. It’s honest, glorious Sauternes.

Please limit order requests to 6 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wine should arrive in about a week, at which point it will be available for pickup or shipping during the autumn shipping window.

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