Yellow Road ? Chateau Coutet, Premier Cru Classé, Barsac, Bordeaux …

7 October 2018

Château Coutet is the famous winery from Bordeaux. And first of all, it is famous for its sweet wine Sauternes.
And the Bordeaux region is famous for its sweet dessert wines, which are produced in the communes of Bomm, Sauternes, Farg-de-Langon, Barsac and Pregnac. Wines from Sauternes and Barsac are considered to be reference and are especially loved by gourmets from all over the world due to the perfect balance of acidity and sugar.
There is a special classification of wines from the Bordeaux region, which has been in operation since 1885. (Classed Growths of Médoc)

In the highest category (Premiers Crus) there are only five wineries:
Lafite Rothschild, Latour, Margaux, Haut-Brion (Graves), Mouton Rothschild (1973)

Bordeaux sweet wines are included in a separate group:
Classed Growths of Sauternes and Barsac.

Her “Premiers Crus”, and this is the most elite wines of the region, is twice as big and consists of eleven wineries:
La Tour Blanche, Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Clos Haut-Peyraguey, Rayne-Vigneau, Suduiraut, Coutet, Climens, Guiraud, Rieussec, Rabaud-Promis, Sigalas-Rabaud.

And one sweet wine from the winery d’Yquem and is included in the group, but rather makes this very group Premier Cru Supérieur
So, the photos of the courtyard Château Coutet open a new page of our “Yellow Road”.
Château Coutet is a sweet wine Premier Cru Classé (First Growth) wine from Sauternes-Barsac, located in Barsac, in the southern part of the Bordeaux vineyards.
Of course, on the Internet you will almost immediately find some common descriptions of sweet wines from Bordeaux: “Fruit notes dominate the exquisite bouquet, complemented by aromas of honey, wild flowers and nuts. Subtle shades of dried apricots and oriental spices leave a pleasant aftertaste. Golden color of the drink flickering bright sparks. ” While the site “Yellow Road” can not offer a tasting of sweet wines from Bordeaux in the Baltic States, but we are already thinking about this issue.

Yes, the region’s sweet wines are not made from added sugar. It is all about the geography of the region: the cool waters of the River Siron are encountered with the warm river Garonne. And in November – December (November, December – in our latitudes it is almost winter), the temperature difference causes fog in the morning, which then evaporates under the influence of the hot afternoon sun.
In such conditions, an unusual fungus develops on the skin of grapes. Because of it, the berries shrivel, the concentration of sugar and aromatic substances increases (the “excess” moisture evaporates through the skin of the berries damaged by fungus). Fans of exact names and dates can learn the name of the fungus-magician in an interview with Aline Baly.
And one more small note … Wines are made from 3 grape varieties:
Semillon is the basis of blending. Its share is from 70 to 80%. It defines the nature of the wine and sweetness.
Sauvignon Blanc brings to the drink a recognizable “fruitiness” and light sourness.
Muscadel is contained in small quantities and is responsible for the delicate flavor.
There is no big difference between Sauternes and Barsaks. But the wines from Barsak slightly surpass the rest of the wines of this region in freshness and have a richer bouquet due to limestone soil. Only an experienced sommelier can notice the difference. We, I want to note, have never been a sommelier, therefore, I think that our taste buds will not react to this difference in taste.

Questions from Yellow Road are answered by a representative of the Baly family, who owns Château Coutet, marketing director Aline Baly

1 – Château Coutet, 33720 Barsac – France, your address… Can we look at your favorite places in Barsac?

Château Coutet in summer…

2- Wines of the brand Sauternes will be presented for the first time on the “Yellow Road”. Can you please tell us what is “Sauternes wine” and “Premier Cru Classé”?..
Sauternes refers to the town called Sauternes, but more extensively, to the other 4 villages that together constitute the Sauternes appellation. Nestled between the Garonne and the Ciron river, the small region is often the theater of misty mornings, creating a unique microclimate of humid mornings, followed by sunny, dry afternoons. With this specific, almost miraculous, climatic condition, wines of Sauternes are born from the famous Noble Rot (botrytis cinerea) that develops on ripe berries, concentrating their sugar and aromas.

The 1855 Classification was established for the Universal Exhibition of Paris and requested by Emperor Napoleon III. Its mission was to make an official classification based on many years of experience, aligned with the terroir’s quality and the reputation of each Château. For Sauternes and Barsac, there was one estate classified “Premier Grand Cru Classé Supérieur”, eleven “Premier grand Cru Classé” among which Château Coutet, and fifteen “Deuxième Grand Cru Classé”.

3 – Why wine Château Coutet (AOC Barsac) will be more expensive than La Chartreuse de Coutet (AOC Sauternes)?
Château Coutet is the result of a wise and meticulous blend of the highest quality juices pressed out of the most concentrated berries on the estate’s vineyard. La Chartreuse is also made out of these vines yet, the lots selected will make a wine more aprochable in its youth,a blend that is perfect to drink for all occasions.

4 – “Located between the Garonne and Ciron rivers, Château Coutet benefits from a microclimate whose autumn mists necessary for the spread of the Botrytis cinerea”? What is “Botrytis cinerea”?
Botrytis cinerea, also know as “Noble rot”, is a fungus. It develops onto ripe berries, concentrating their sugars and enhancing their aromas. It is thanks to Botrytis that Sauternes and Barsac wines were born.

5 – To qualify for the Sauternes label, the wines must have a minimum 13% alcohol level. What is the maximum level of alcohol for the Sauternes label?..
Actually, the minimum alcohol level is 12%. There is no maximum level of alcohol. Chaptalisation (sugar addition) is, however, prohibited.

6 – So, your wine is Cuvée Madame de Château Coutet. This wine, in our opinion, corresponds to the color of the wines “Yellow Road”. It is interesting, but does it correspond to the price? What is the cost of one bottle of 0,75 liters of Cuvée Madame best harvest (your best sales)?
The Cuvee Madame is one of 4 wines that we produce at the estate. It is a tradition started by the previous owners — only produced occassionally and in limited quantities (1200 bottles maximum) when the perfect conditions are aligned. Cuvée Madame de Château Coutet 1997 * 289€ at the estate

7 – Coutet is also home to the longest Sauternes winery with a 110 metres long cellar… Two words about your famous cellar, please.
Château Coutet’s cellar used to be the home of Château d’Yquem horse stables, hence the long and narrow construction. At the time, Château Coutet was vinified at Château d’Yquem under the label “Vin de Barsac du marquis de Luc Saluces, Château Coutet”

8 – Your Choice for the Yellow Road of white wine?
I have a particular fondness for a Chardonnay from the Limoux appellation in the South of France from the property Domaine de Baronarques — it’s a beautiful wine — perfect for pairing with seafood or drinking as an aperitif.

9 – What cultural event would you like to see at home: an exhibition, an opera, a ballet or something else?
An exhibit on food pairings, showcasing the flexibility of gold wines with both savory and sweet dishes.

10- You can offer the most spectacular view (favorite point) on vineyards or the surrounding landscape.

Round Tower of Château Coutet

11 – If it’s not a secret, what are your plans for the future?
The team and I are working on a new website… stay tuned!

12 – I almost forgot! You have recipes on the site. Can they be tested in your winery?
Unfortunately, the dishes that we propose in our recipe section of the website are not available to taste at the estate…When hosting guests we personalize menus based on season and our guests preferences…

Sergey Evtuhov, author of the project “Yellow Road”