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2022 Sauternes “Esquisse”

Domaine de l'Alliance
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Daniel Alibrand is among few producers still making Sauternes the old-fashioned way, making multiple passes through his vineyards to pick only the best grapes—sometimes berry by berry—most affected by botrytis. However, nature doesn’t allow this every year, as very specific conditions are conducive to the noble rot development required to make the most intense, concentrated wines.
      In this sense, Esquisse is like a lightweight Sauternes: balanced, complex, and certainly sweet, but without the viscosity and distinctive smoky, earthy aromatics of grapes strongly impacted by botrytis. This refreshing dessert wine is therefore much more versatile at table—it works wonders as an apéritif or with cheeses—and can still be cellared for several years. This is a real treat from one of Sauternes’ last true artisans.

Anthony Lynch

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Technical Information
Wine Type: white
Vintage: 2022
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Sémillon
Appellation: IGP Atlantique
Country: France
Region: Bordeaux
Producer: Domaine de l'Alliance
Winemaker: Valérie & Daniel Alibrand
Vineyard: Average 50 years, 7 ha
Soil: Gravel, Clay, Sand
Farming: Organic (practicing)
Alcohol: 13%

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About The Region

Bordeaux

map of Bordeaux

Often considered the wine capital of the world, Bordeaux and its wines have captured the minds, hearts, and wallets of wine drinkers for centuries. For many, the wines provide an inalienable benchmark against which all other wines are measured.

Bordeaux is divided into three winegrowing regions with the city that gives the region its name in the near geographical center. The “right bank,” or the area located east of the Dordogne River, produces wines that are predominantly Merlot with small amounts of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. The “left bank” is located to the west of the Garonne River and produces wines dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, with Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot.

The third region, Entre-Deux-Mers, lies between both rivers and produces white wines from Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, and Muscadelle. Though technically in the left bank, it is worth noting the appellation of Sauternes, which produces arguably the world’s most famous sweet wines from Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, and Muscadelle as well.

Though many top Bordeaux wines are sold en primeur (in advance of their bottling) and often through a middleman known as a negoçiant, Kermit has always preferred to purchase directly from the winemaker. For more than three decades he has sought out small producers, who make classic Bordeaux wines and are willing to play outside the negoçiant system. This ethic has led to longstanding relationships, excellent prices, and perhaps most important—wines of great value and longevity.

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Terroirs

Great winemakers, great terroirs, there is never any hurry. And I no longer buy into this idea of “peak” maturity. Great winemakers, great terroirs, their wines offer different pleasures at different ages.

Inspiring Thirst, page 312

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