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These are the grapes that made it far enough to make a “sweet wine,” but not close to the level of concentration one would need for a Sauternes. The grapes were “saved from the water,” as another deluge right after they were picked would have made them practically unusable. Don’t get the wrong idea—Daniel, perfectionist that he is, still eliminated a ton of grapes and even a few barrels before arriving at a wine that he was comfortable releasing under his own label. This wine has a profile closer to a Vouvray Moelleux. You’ll find the aromas very Sauternes-like but without the same concentration or level of residual sugar. The result is a wine with the character of Sauternes that is much more versatile at table. These could both be firsts and lasts, so don’t miss the opportunity to taste them!
Trust the great winemakers, trust the great vineyards. Your wine merchant might even be trustworthy. In the long run, that vintage strip may be the least important guide to quality on your bottle of wine.—Kermit Lynch