Chateau Coutet (Futures Pre-Sale) 2020
This is an extremely delicate vintage. The first tastings reveal a particularly fresh wine, marked by floral notes of lily of the valley and grapefruit flowers. The liveliness on the palate is typical of Barsac terroir.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Barrel Sample: 95-97
The 2020 Coutet has a pale lemon-gold color, waltzing out of the glass with energetic notes of lemon tart, pink grapefruit, green mango and lime blossoms, with hints of chopped almonds, clover honey, candle wax and straw, plus a waft of sea spray. The palate is all class, featuring ethereal intensity and amazing poise, enveloped in a satiny texture and seamless acidity, finishing long and mineral laced. Currently, while it is just a tick or so down on the impressive 2019, I love the restraint and energy of this 2020 and wouldn't be surprised if it eventually spreads its wings and surpasses its showier sibling over time.
Barrel Sample: (94 - 96)+
Barrel Sample: 94
Pineapple, mangoes, honeysuckle and yellow flowers here, with acacia honey too. Sweet yet fresh, with pretty tropical fruit and floral notes and a bright finish.
Thomas Jefferson celebrated Chateau Coutet as the best Sauternes from Barsac during his ambassadorship to France. In 1855, recognized for its continued excellence, the estate was classified as a first growth. Today, Chateau Coutet stays true to its tradition of distinction and quality by producing the finest Barsac year after year. With an average age of 35 years, the vines of Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle have developed a network of deep roots to extract elements from the limestone and clay-based terroir, giving the grapes freshness, richness and strength. For this reason, the wine carries the name "Coutet," derived from the Gascon's word for knife, to signify the fresh, lively and crisp palate taht is the estate's signature style.
Characterized by dried tropical fruit, candied apricot, citrus and honey, the sweet wines of Barsac are always balanced by a bright beam of acidity. While technically also part of the Sauternes region, Barsac’s sandy and limestone soils produce a lighter version in comparison. Its main grapes are the same: Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris and Muscadelle.
Apart from the classics, we find many regional gems of different styles.
Late harvest wines are probably the easiest to understand. Grapes are picked so late that the sugars build up and residual sugar remains after the fermentation process. Ice wine, a style founded in Germany and there referred to as eiswein, is an extreme late harvest wine, produced from grapes frozen on the vine, and pressed while still frozen, resulting in a higher concentration of sugar. It is becoming a specialty of Canada as well, where it takes on the English name of ice wine.
Vin Santo, literally “holy wine,” is a Tuscan sweet wine made from drying the local white grapes Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia in the winery and not pressing until somewhere between November and March.