There’s way more to Sauternes than sweet

on 09/07/12 at 11:21 am

Wine

Which wine makes you happiest? Not the wine that’s most interesting or profound or that makes you feel the hippest — the one that gives you nothing but joy?

For me, the answer is Sauternes. The recent tastings I put together of the famed sweet wine of Bordeaux made me so happy that every time I took a sip and a swallow, something like an inner glow happened.

Of course, until recently, my thoughts on Sauternes were like that of many others, namely: Who the heck drinks them, anyway?

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Joe Riley, manager at Ace Beverage in Northwest Washington, said he has seen demand for Sauternes and other sweet wines drop off like a cliff.

“I think some people like the idea of dessert wines, but have second thoughts when they see the prices,” Riley told me via e-mail.

Even Sauternes makers will tell you that their wine has been a tough sell of late. “Nobody comes into a store to buy Sauternes,” says Xavier Planty, general manager at Chateau Guiraud, a producer ranked as premier cru since the original Bordeaux classification of 1855.

As I’ve seen with numerous other wines and spirits over the years, however, if you wait long enough, things will change. Old will become new. Uncool will become trendy.

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