Definition - What does Sauternes mean?
Sauternes is a type of sweet, complex white dessert wine that originates in the Bordeaux winemaking region of France. Sauternes wines are full-flavored, and once bottled, they take on a deep golden/amber color. They are a more expensive variety of wine, as Sauternes age very well and have varied in popularity over the past 50 years.
WineFrog explains Sauternes
This wine is made at several different chateaus and vineyards around the town of Sauternais in the Bordeaux region of France. What makes this dessert wine unique, is the Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes used to make it; they have been purposely infected with the noble rot fungus. This fungus, which develops after exposure to humid conditions after maturity, cause the grapes to dry out and produce deliciously complex aromas and flavors.
Some of the flavor descriptors used to describe this wine include caramel, honeysuckle, pineapple, almond and other fresh fruitiness mixed with dry acidity. This delicate, but complex, balance of flavors make this wine valued by collectors and some bottles can cost between $30-$2800.
Sauternes pair well with salty foods like latkes and lobster. Even though it is classified as a dessert wine, most prefer to balance out its sweetness and drink a glass with a meal instead of with dessert. They are served best slightly chilled, which exposes the different layers of flavor as it warms naturally in the glass. This wine has the ability to age and outlast other bottled dessert wines – it has varied in popularity among the consumer market since the 1970’s but continues to be an investment for wine collectors.