Sauternes and Chateau de Fargues

RIMG0007 If Champagne is the king of wines, Sauternes surely must be the Queen. An extremely long-lived white wine from the Bordeaux region, this is liquid gold.

Each grape is literally hand-picked and the process can repeat itself as much as 10-12 times. This is the reason for the high production cost.

Top of the line is Chateau d’Yquem who was given the singular title of "Premier Cru Supérieur", which means "You need to take out a second mortgage to afford this".

The other reason for the extremely high price is that wines from Chateau d’Yquem last typically for a century or two. The minimum is two decades before it is ready to drink. Think of the storage costs and the anxiety of waiting.

I was fortunate to be invited to a tasting at Crystal Wines (River Valley Point) and was even more surprised to see the Comte Alexandre de Lur Saluces whose family owned Chateau d’Yquem and Chateau de Fargues since 1785.


From all accounts, the Comte Alexandre de Lur Saluces is a very dedicated man who is responsible for the high quality that the vineyard is famous for. He would reject an entire crop if the randomized tastings do not please him.

Unfortunately, this means that soon he was put out of Chateau d’Yquem and now Chateau d’Yquem produces Sauternes the wine, every year.

This is ok as Comte Alexandre de Lur Saluces can now dedicate his time to the other Sauternes vineyard owned by him, Chateau de Fargues. Almost as good as a d’Yquem but at about a third the price. 😉

We were offered the 1990, 1996, 1999 and 2001. Of the 4, the 1990 and the 2001 stood out.


Pleasantly sweet counterbalanced by the high acidity, flavours of fresh lemon scent and honey with subtle dried apricots.

And a oh-my-God extremely long finish, almost never-ending. Seriously, after you’ve finally swallowed the wine and had some cheese, you can still taste the wine lingering in your mouth.

To call this a mere "dessert wine" shows a lack of imagination. Whole dinners have been served with this wine alone. This should not be compared with the Canadian sugar water commonly called "Ice Wine".

The 1990 vintage is a good buy but we think the 2001 is a steal as we feel that it will surpass the 1990. In a decade or so. Make that two decades.

If you have a loved one, by all means, buy a bottle of Sauternes and take her out to the finest restaurant in town for dinner. Keep the Sauternes at home.


Posted on 13th Jun 2006 in Drink, Food and Drink


There Are 2 Comments


Winedragon commented on January 9, 2007 at 8:07 pm

Check out the Wine for Asia 2006 – Sauternes that were available for tasting


Ivan commented on January 9, 2007 at 11:17 pm

@Winedragon: I didn’t attend as I was told it was a quiet and dismal affair unlike the previous years. Anyway, nice site; very serious about wines.

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