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Wine Spectator:

2016 Bordeaux Barrel Tasting: Top Dessert Wines

Tasting notes and scores for 16 Bordeaux dessert wine barrel samples


April 4, 2017

by James Molesworth (Senior Editor)


While spending a few weeks in the region, Molesworth visits numerous châteaus, interviews many vintners and evaluates hundreds of wines. These visits are crucial to understanding the character and quality of the vintage. However, all official wine ratings come from our own independent blind tastings. Châteaus that decline to submit samples to these blind tastings are not reviewed for this report. This list contains his scores and tasting notes for 16 Bordeaux barrel samples from Sauternes and Barsac.

As these are unfinished wines, they are scored in 4-point ranges (e.g., 92–95 points) to indicate that the ratings are still preliminary. When the wines are released in bottle, they will be reviewed with their peers in blind tastings and given a final score.

Top 2016 Bordeaux Sweet Whites


CHÂTEAU DE FARGUES Sauternes 2016 Score: 94-97
A very rich style, with broad apricot, ginger cream, heather honey and glazed peach flavors. White ginger notes give the finish needed tension, while a green plum edge add cut and lift. Impressive range and energy for the vintage.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU DOISY DAËNE Barsac L’Extravagant 2016 Score: 93-96
An enticing mix of plump pineapple, ginger, white peach and tangerine flavors, with a viscous edge to the finish. Shows the plumper, more forward style of the vintage but has admirable length and cut as well.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU SUDUIRAUT Sauternes 2016 Score: 93-96
This has a juicy mix of glazed peach, mango and papaya flavors, with flashes of green tea and ginger enlivening the finish. Good energy for this generally forward vintage.—J.M.

CLOS HAUT-PEYRAGUEY Sauternes 2016 Score: 92-95
This is ripe, with enticing mango, papaya and peach notes carried by a creamy texture through a hazelnut cream–accented finish. Showy.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU COUTET Barsac 2016 Score: 92-95
Plump, with a mouthful of tangerine, peach and clementine notes laced with a ginger thread. A twinge of bitter orange adds cut on the finish.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU DOISY DAËNE Barsac 2016 Score: 92-95
This has a wide range of white peach, yellow apple and green fig flavors that show good zip and brightness for the vintage, with a long honeysuckle note lifting the finish.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU DOISY-VÉDRINES Barsac 2016 Score: 92-95
This has good energy for the vintage, with a range of tangerine, clementine, peach and pineapple flavors showing nice definition through the finish. —J.M.

CHÂTEAU GUIRAUD Sauternes 2016 Score: 92-95
This offers pineapple, ginger, apricot and peach chutney flavors, with good energy thanks to a singed hazelnut note weaving around.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU LA TOUR BLANCHE Sauternes 2016 Score: 92-95
Lively, with a mix of almond, ginger, peach and apricot notes that have good energy throughout, backed by a honeyed edge on the finish. Nice effort for the vintage.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU FILHOT Sauternes 2016 Score: 91-94
Ripe, offering apricot, peach and ginger notes, this is focused and streamlined in feel, ending with a piecrust edge.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU LAFAURIE-PEYRAGUEY Sauternes 2016 Score: 91-94
This has a good, direct core of apricot, peach and mango notes, with a warm crust backdrop through the rounded finish. Still showing a bit of turbidity, so could move up as it continues to settle in.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU DE MYRAT Barsac 2016 Score: 91-94
Alluring ginger cream, glazed peach and honey notes glide through, with nice weight and length on the piecrust-infused finish.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU RAYMOND-LAFON Sauternes 2016 Score: 90-93
Tasty tangerine and apricot notes form the core, with flashes of peach and melon on the finish.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU SIGALAS RABAUD Sauternes 2016 Score: 90-93
A fresh style, with white peach, green plum and pineapple notes that set it apart from its more typical brethren, with verbena and honeysuckle through the bright and less obviously sweet finish.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU CANTEGRIL Barsac 2016 Score: 89-92
This has a lively ginger note adding energy to the mix of singed almond, creamed peach and warm piecrust flavors. Solid.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU BASTOR-LAMONTAGNE Sauternes 2016 Score: 88-91
Rather forward, with a fruity mix of tinned pineapple, glazed peach and apricot juice notes. Open-knit feel through the finish.—J.M.