Chateau Bastor-Lamontagne : Seven Sauternes

15 Jun 2023

(January 2023) … A tasting held in honor of an Ontario Vintage release of the current 2020 vintage of Sauternes. Six other vintages saw the bottom of a glass: 2016 / 2011 / 2009 / 2006 / 1988 / 1986... But first some notes on the winery itself.

The Bastor domain was a property of the French king, sold to Vincent de la Montaigne in 1711.

The property has passed through many hands: 1838 to Joseph Eugene Larrieu, owner of Chateau Haut Brion; and two others in 1936, 2014 and then finally to the Helfrich family in 2018. The property sits in the municipality of Preignac, in the Gironde area. The vineyard makeup is 88.2% Semillon and 8.8% Sauvignon Blanc, though there is also some Sauvignon Gris (2.6%) interspersed.

It covers 50 hectares in a single block with the average age of the vines being 45 years. The vineyard is subdivided into 30 plots.

The blend of the wine is roughly 90% Semillon and 10% Sauvignon Blanc - it is age 16 months in oak barrels, 20% of which are new. Approximately 60,000 to 80,000 bottles are produced annually.

The Wines...

2020 Sauternes
Subtly sweet without going overboard, there is also a subtle leanness to this vintage. Flowers are poached pear, honey, tangerine and pineapple.

2016 Sauternes
There's a thick, unctuousness to this wine with good acid backbone; there's also a lovely spicy component on the mid-palate. Tangerine-esque with honeyed/ candied, orange peel and a long finish.

Bastor2011 Sauternes
Here spiced-honeyed-orange-peel and pear show up along with notes of roasted almonds ... honey-dipped of course.

2009 SauternesBastor
Showing more age than the previous versions: figs and dates play with honeyed-walnuts, leading to a long luscious finish complete with sweet clementine linger.

2006 Sauternes
This wine was served with trout and it proved to be an excellent pairing (shrug, who da thought) - but on its own it seemed a little disjointed.

Bastor1988 Sauternes and 1986 Sauternes
This is when Sauternes loses me, or at least at the tasting of Bastor-Lemontagne. These wines turned more mushroomy version of sweet wine, and lacked any kind of appeal I was looking for.


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