Wine Review: 2001 Château de Rayne-Vigneau, Sauternes

Château de Rayne-Vigneau is a sweet white wine that was ranked as Premier Cru Classé (French for “First Growth”) in the original Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855. Belonging to the Sauternes appellation in Gironde, in the region of Graves, the winery is located in the village of Bommes.

During its long history, Château de Rayne-Vigneau was not far behind that of only Château d’Yquem in quality, considered by many as best sweet white wine in the world, for its taste as well as longevity. Despite its prominent history, Château de Rayne-Vigneau fell into decades of neglect and is only now making what many consider a long awaited comeback.

The 2001 vintage of this Sauternes wine stuck this reviewer as being quite dark for its age (tasted 30 December 2009) in its amber color. On the nose, there was not a good balance as there was intense honeyed flavors with a bit of alcohol (not good). On the palate, the wine displayed an entirely different character than the harsh nose with honeysuckle and raisin sweet flavors. Out of the Sauternes I have tasted, this sweet white wine unfortunately does not stand out to me. A disappointment, although still tasty.

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