Château Coutet 2015
• Domaine: Château Coutet
• Appellation: Sauternes, Barsac
• Classification: First Growth, Premier Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Left Bank, Bordeaux, France
• Importer: Laguna Cellar
Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, arguably America's first French wine connoisseur, acknowledged Château Coutet as "the best Sauternes in Barsac."
Château Coutet prides itself on crafting some of the most luscious, elegant, and stunning Sauternes. This Barsac estate has a long history of excellence and critical acclaim that dates well before it was ranked as a Premiere Cru Classé property during the 1855 Classification of Sauternes and Barsac. The wine of this estate is undoubtably thrilling, and production here has been a family affair since 1977. For those who understand and appreciate the beautiful, honeyed nectar of a classic Sauternes, Château Coutet is a undoubtably a worthy producer.
Château Coutet has a long history of being an excellent producer of Sauternes. The property’s origins date back to the 13th Century when the estate was a fortress. One can tell by simply taking one look at the striking, formidable architecture at the estate there is a longstanding history here. The estate began producing wine in 1643, when Charles le Guérin, known as the Lord of Coutet, made it one of the first vineyards in the Sauternes Appellation. The property was a favorite among the American President and oenophile Thomas Jefferson when he visited France. He proudly declared Château Coutet as the best Sauternes in Barsac. Château Coutet remained in the hands of Charles le Guérin’s descendants until 1788. The property was acquired by Gabriel-Barthelemy-Romain de Filhot, the president of the Bordeaux parliament and a cousin of the former owner of the estate. During the French Revolution, the French Government seized the property, and unfortunately de Filhot was a casualty of the terror. The property changed hands many times until it was acquired by Marcel Baly and his two sons, Philippe and Dominique, in 1977. The Baly family enlisted the winemaking team over at Château Mouton Rothschild to assist with winemaking operations and the wine has never been better.
For those who understand Sauternes, they are very aware that the regions of Sauternes and Barsac are very special for a variety of reasons. The terroir is unique here, and due to a special variety of factors, the plantings of Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle are infected with the wonderful noble rot, or botrytis. Once botrytis infects these grapes, it removes the water from them and raisinates them. These raisinated grapes are then fermented when they have richly concentrated sugar levels. This results in a naturally sweet wine. And the case at Château Coutet is no different. Château Coutet is situated in a very special part of Barsac, which is a playground for botrytis. Their vines thrive in a mixture of clay and limestone soils, which lend a freshness to this rich honeyed beverage.
Though the wine of Château Coutet is a sweet wine, it is highly versatile and can dazzle when paired with the appropriate food. Though Sauternes is beautiful with desserts such as fruit tarts, it is worth thinking outside the box when pairing this delicious wine with food. Try pairing your bottle of Château Coutet with roast chicken, cheeses of all kinds, or any fois gras terrine with caramelized onions.
"The 2015 Coutet comes with 153 grams per liter of residual sugar at 13.8% alcohol. It has a fragrant bouquet with acacia honey, citrus scents and a touch of melted butter, all very well defined. The palate is medium-bodied with impressive purity, those limestone soils imparting the acidity that defined this Barsac, and lending great precision and tension on the live-wire finish. This is a wonderful Coutet that feels energetic - a compressed spring coil that will drink earlier than the likes of Climens or de Fargues, but has the DNA to age gracefully over 25-30 years." - Neal Martin, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (4/27/2016, Issue 224), Ratings: 94-96, Drink: 2019-2050
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