Chateau Doisy-Daene, Barsac, Grand Vin de Sauternes, France, Denis Dubourdieu, France, 2009, 13.5% abv, C$50, 375 ml

Doisy-Daene is a Deuxieme Cru property from the Barsac-Sauternes region of Bordeaux, France. The 1855 Classification was completed by the Bordeaux Board of Trade for the Paris Exhibition held that year and was the way in which the properties of that era were ranked for the Exhibition’s attendees. Many argue that the rankings are no longer as relevant as they may have been 160 years ago.

Regardless, during that era, sweet wines were accorded far greater status than were dry wines. As a result, Chateau D’Yqem was accorded Premier Cru Superieur status which was even higher than that given to the best first growth vineyards of the Medoc and Graves. A further 11 properties were called Premier Cru in Barsac-Sauternes and there were 4 called Deuxieme Cru (Second Growth), Doisy-Daene being one of them.

The current owner of Doisy-Daene is Denis Dubordieu (b 1949) who together with his father Pierre (b 1923) are two of the most pivotal characters relevant to the white wines of Bordeaux. Pierre is responsible for having made the first dry white Bordeaux wines and helped improve the quality of the Vaslin pneumatic grape presses and Denis is both a scientist at the University of Bordeaux as well as owner and winemaker at Doisy-Daene as well as a host of other properties (Ch Chantegril/Barsac, Clos Floridene and Ch Haura/Graves and Ch Reynon in the Premier Cotes de Bordeaux).

Denis is most famous though for his research into botrytis cinerea (noble rot) as well as the intricacies of winemaking and viticulture for the whites of Bordeaux (ie: earlier picking to enhance aromas, selection of yeasts, fermenting temperatures and their influence, the importance of matching soils and vines, batonnage, etc).

Doisy-Daene is located east of Ch Climens (a Premier Cru property) in Barsac and just north of the Ciron River where it flows south of the Garonne. This is ‘botrytis central’; the noble rot thrives in climatic conditions created by the confluence of these two rivers. The cool foggy mornings followed by long, warm afternoons allow the fungus to infect the thin-skinned Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes (usually the Bordeaux blend is about 75-25% in that order).

This wine is clear and bright, medium gold and has heavy legs. The nose is clean and developing with medium plus intensity and aromas of lemon and orange marmalade, dried citrus peel, honeycomb, botrytis and orange blossom.

The palate is sweet (it has about 150g/l of residual sugar) with high acidity, medium body, medium alcohol with medium plus intensity and flavours of orange marmalade with ginger, blossom, honey, apricot and kumquat. The finish is long.

This wine is WSET ‘Outstanding’. Rich and sweet but not at all cloying due to the high acidity, it has intense flavours and aromas that are enhanced by Chef Parker’s Orange Marmalade cake and the exceedingly classic pairing with the Benton Brothers‘ Rocquefort Papillon Noire cheese.


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