Friday, 18 September 2015

Harvest time in Sauternes and the weather is glorious


There can be no better time to visit a wine region than in the early days of harvest.

We are blessed to find ourselves at Chateau Guiraud, a 1er Grand Cru Classe Sauternes property in the 1855 classification, in the early days of harvest.

Guiraud, which dates back to the 15th century, is one of the largest estates in Sauternes, with over 100 hectares under vine to semillon, sauvignon blanc and a tiny amount of sauvignon gris.


The car park is full of rough and ready vehicles owned by the itinerant workers starting to pick the grapes; fruit for the estate's dry table wine now and for the luscious dessert wines for which Guiraud is famous later.

Guiraud is rare in being one of only a handful of Bordeaux chateaux to be certified organic (since 2011) and it is one of a growing number to welcome visitors.

Bordeaux may have been late to embrace wine tourism but Guiraud makes tourists welcome in English, including a group from our river cruise on the Scenic Diamond.


Even though fruit is being processed in the winery we are able to look around, visit the cellars, stroll through the vines and enjoy a tasting of both the second wine, the lighter-style 2012 Petit Guiraud and the 2008 estate wine.

Wines from Guiraud, owned by a high-flying consortium, generally need several years to reach their peak and generally see 50% new oak. The 08, at €60 a bottle, is luscious but finely boned and drinking magnificently.


Chateau Guiraud, 33210, Sauternes, France. +33 5 56 76 61 01. www.chateauguiraud.com. Visits with tastings €10 from 9am-noon and 2pm-5pm.




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