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Top Vintages Produced:
1988, 1989, 1990, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2010
Château Rieussec – Premier Cru Classé Sauternes 1855 Classification
Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle
Carmes de Rieussec
"R" de Rieussec
The history of Rieussec dates back to the early 18th century when it was owned by Carmes de Langon monks – the
same monastic order which owned and gave their name to Château Carmes de Haut-Brion. Seized by the state
during the Revolution, the property underwent several ownership changes over the next 150 years. Having achieved
a modicum of success following the 1855 Classification – where it was given Premier Cru Classé status - the
estate struggled through the difficult years of the early 20th century, the victim of phylloxera, the global
depression and damage during WWII.
Finally, in 1984, relief came in the form of Domaines Barons de Rothschild (holding company for Château
Lafite-Rothschild) which purchased the property and begin a serious campaign of investment and property improvement.
Today, Rieussec is considered to be one of the greatest properties in Sauternes, surpassed only by Château d’Yquem.
Where the name Rieussec derives from is unknown. However, Clive Coates, MW, postulates that it may be related to the
name of the stream, Ruisseau, which borders the property (it divides Rieussec from neighbouring d’Yquem) and the
fact that the brook dries out each autumn (it becomes dry, or sec). Rieussec may therefore be a contraction of these two words.
Viticulture and Vinification
Situated on one of the most elevated points in the appellation, Rieussec’s vineyards cover approximately 90 hectares,
the soils of which are predominantly gravel and limestone. The plantings are comprised of Semillon (90%), Sauvignon
Blanc (7%) and Muscadelle (3%). Yields are naturally low because of the dependence on the occurrence of noble rot,
which concentrates the sugars, acids and flavours in the grapes. The affected grapes are hand harvested in
several tries (pickings) and depending on how quickly the noble rot passes through the vineyard, harvest can
last as long as 6-8 weeks. This selection process is so strict, such that if it is determined that the year’s
crop is sub-par, the Château will not produce wine in that particular vintage.
All of the fermentation is carried out in oak barrels which are separated by individual vineyard parcel. Each of these
parcels is then tasted individually before the decision is made as to whether or not they will be included in the
Grand Vin. The wine is then matured in barrel (of which up to 50% are new each year) for up to 26 months. The wine
is racked periodically during this time and it is lightly filtered prior to bottling.
Carmes de Rieussec (named after the monks who once owned the estate) is the property’s second wine and it is aged
for 18 months in barrels.
“R” de Rieussec is a dry white produced from the Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes that did not reach the level
of botrytis required for either the Grand Vin or second wine.
Château de Cosse is a more youthful style of Sauternes that undergoes a shorter period of ageing in barrels and is
meant for drinking earlier. Maturation is 16-18 months in two year old barrels.
- Château Rieussec – Premier Cru Classé 1855 Classification
Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle.
- Château Rieussec - Grand Vin
- La Dame de Rieussec - Second Wine
- Château de Cosse - Third Wine
- "R" de Rieussec - Dry White
Order top vintages of Château Rieussec
- Château Rieussec 2009: (95-97 RP)
"The minerality and stoniness really comes through on the nose of this Rieussec, more than the 2007. The palate
is very well balanced with superb acidity, real tension, steely with great precision with notes of apricot,
and honey on the beautifully defined finish. Probably the best Rieussec since the astounding 2001."
– Robert Parker,
The Wine Advocate
- Château Rieussec 2001: (99 RP)
"A monumental effort, the 2001 Rieussec boasts a light to medium gold color in addition to a fabulous
perfume of honeysuckle, smoky oak, caramelized tropical fruits, creme brulee, and Grand Marnier.
The wine is massive and full-bodied yet neither over the top nor heavy because of good acidity. With
intense botrytis as well as a 70-75-second finish, this amazing Sauternes will be its apogee between 2010-2035."
- Robert Parker,
The Wine Advocate
- Château Rieussec 1992: (92 RP)
"Light golden with just the slightest tint of green, the 1983 Rieussec, from an excellent year for
Sauternes, is certainly one of this property's greatest wines. Well structured with excellent acidity,
and a deep, long, rich, full-bodied, viscous texture, this wine, despite the richness and power, is
neither heavy nor cloying. It has gorgeous balance and a very long, lingering, spectacular finish.
One of the great successes of the vintage...." – Robert Parker,
The Wine Advocate