Hello friends. We’re on the banks of the river Garonne in Bordeaux, in an appellation known for sweet, botrytis-affected white wines made from Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. If you’re thinking we’re in Sauternes, you’re probably not alone.
But that’s not where we are.
Instead, we’re across the river, on its right bank, in the much smaller, much lesser-known, much more-frequently-snapped-up-by-the-Brits, much more-rarely-exported-to-the-United-States appellation of Sainte-Croix-du-Mont (see Bordeaux map; we’re in region 32).
The region only has about 1000 acres under vine, and it is some of the craziest terroir in southwest France. Basically, the region sits on top of a giant plateau of fossilized oyster shells. Here’s a picture to get your head wrapped around what this “soil” looks like.
Because of its proximity to the river and its morning mists, it is also a perfect breeding ground for noble rot. Botrytis cinerea is a fungus that punctures small holes in grapeskins, through which much of the grape’s water content evaporates, leaving ultra-concentrated juice behind. It also imparts a flavor somewhere on a spectrum between caramel and mushroom, and if that sounds like a trip for the senses, you’re beginning to understand why reasonable people become unreasonably infatuated with these sticky wines.
I was thrilled to have a chance to taste this wine recently, because a) Sainte-Croix-du-Mont! Rare!; and b) it’s ten years past vintage. The wine did not disappoint. An 80/20 mix of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, clocking in at 13% alcohol, it dazzles the nose with botrytis-inflected complexity: smoke, tobacco leaf, damp earth, mushroom, marmalade. Glorious. On the palate, there is a lovely core of sweet fig and date fruit from the Semillon, tangerine, and a nutty almond finish. There’s also plenty of savory caramelized botrytis notes, and it drinks with plenty of energy, plenty of vibrant acid to balance the sugar.
You all know that I’m a total sucker for sticky wines, especially well-aged versions, so it likely won’t surprise that I went all-in and grabbed the entire remaining stock in Seattle. If we sell through that, there’s a parcel in Portland I can beg after, but no promises. Please note: this is a 500ml bottle, not a half- (375ml) bottle. Also, I didn’t even mention yet that we got a terrific deal since we took the whole parcel. A quick wine-searcher query shows $36.11 as the going price. Our tariff today competes well with that number.
Please limit order requests to 12 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wine is in the warehouse and ready for immediate pickup or shipping during the spring shipping window.