Chateau Rieussec was acquired by Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) in 1984. The estate then consisted of 110 hectares, 68 hectares of which were vines. To enhance Chateau Rieussec’s potential, rigorous measures were implemented, including meticulous sorting of the grapes and fermenting in barrels, which provides a much finer selection for the blending of the Grand Vin.
A new cellar was built in 1989 to extend the ageing period in barrels. The quantities of the Grand Vin that were produced were much reduced in the 1990’s due to more meticulous selection, to the point that none at all was produced in 1993 (this was also the case in 1977 and again in 2012).
Prior to 1984 and Lafite Rotschild’s acquisition, Rieussec already had a fine reputation, being as it was and still is, classified as a first growth in the 1855 classification.
The Rieussec vineyard extends to the border of Fargues and Sauternes, and adjoins Chateau d’Yquem. Rieussec is one of the largest properties in Sauternes and Barsac, the vineyard covers 93 hectares of gravelly sandy-clay soil. The iconic grape variety of Sauternes, Sémillon, dominates (90%), followed by Sauvignon Blanc (7%) and Muscadelle (3%). Traditional Sauternes techniques are used and the harvests are carried out with selective pickings depending on the ripeness of the grapes and evolution of botrytis cinerea (noble rot). The harvest lasts for 6 to 8 weeks from September to November.
Production is low and firmly in the hands on Mother Nature. The traditional saying is that a single vine should produce a bottle of wine. Here, though, a single vine produces about a glass of wine! Rare. Highly concentrated. Opulent. Elegant. Very complex. Awash with an abundance of honey, nuts, cream, marmalade and tropical fruits. Sweet but not cloying, thankfully due to a balancing high acidity. Absolutely gorgeous.
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