I’ve been chomping at the bit to tell you about a fabulous dry Sauternes from Château Guiraud (pronounced Ghee-ro). This is a solid return to the U.S. kosher market for this estate. It produced fabulous kosher editions of its sweet Sauternes in 1999, 2000 and 2001. The new offering is made for and imported by Herzog’s Bayonne, N.J.-based Royal Wine Corp.
This is also the first kosher dry Sauterne to hit the U.S. market, possibly the first ever produced. While Sauternes is most famous for its lusciously sweet dessert wines, for many years now some of the best estates have also been producing small quantities of dry white wines.
The logic is clear: Sauternes has some of the best terroir in the world for growing sémillon and sauvignon blanc grapes. Sweet Sauternes is expensive to produce. And because expensive dry wines nearly always sell better than expensive sweet wine, making dry Sauternes is a worthy endeavor.
For evidence, look no further than the kosher edition (nearly identical to the non-kosher edition) of Château Guiraud, Le G de Guiraud, Bordeaux Blanc Sec, 2017 ($37): A 50/50 blend of organic certified sémillon and sauvignon blanc, this is medium-bodied, intense, bone dry and fabulously balanced with terrific tension from the vibrant acidity.
The robust, complex nose is full of cedar, ripe passion fruit, wax, orange blossom, honeysuckle, grapefruit, eucalyptus, stone fruit, lime and gooseberry. The comparatively restrained, but no less delicious palate offers lime, pear, citrus zest, lychee, stone fruit, gooseberry and, in the backdrop, a lovely, subtle and restrained slightly sweet honeyed note from the sémillon.
Here are four more wines to seek out and find:
Baron Herzog, Chenin Blanc, California, 2017 ($10; mevushal): This is mild, light, ripe, fruity, slightly sweet and makes for very easy-drinking.
Golan Heights Winery, Hermon White, Galilee, 2016 ($12.99): This breezy and enjoyable everyday white blend is dry, tasty, fresh and fruity, with a hint of sweetness and with notes of orange blossom, stone fruit and apple, and a hit of citrusy acidity throughout.
Dalton, Estate, Petite Sirah, Shimshon, Israel, 2016 ($18-19.99): As with past vintages, this is an aromatic, rich and velvety beauty with sweet, raspberry, dark berry fruit, orange zest and spice notes, some earthiness and a lovely finish with additional notes of black pepper, sage, lavender, perhaps a touch of menthol and vanilla. With pleasant though very present tannins, and a nice, satisfying, long finish offering additional notes of espresso.
Château Clarke, Listrac-Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2016 ($50): Though this estate has been producing kosher wines since 1986 under the “Barons Edmond & Benjamin de Rothschild Haut-Médoc” label for the Herzog’s Royal Wine Corp., this is their first kosher effort under their own brand.
It is fabulous, with an appealing red and dark berry fruit nose with a whisper of smoke and just a hint of green tobacco. The palate has additional notes of plum, graphite and dark chocolate. Medium bodied, with medium acidity, fine tannins and exceptional balance. This superb wine is elegant and refined. It’ll reward real ageing, but can be properly enjoyed starting in 2022 or so. L’chaim! n
Send your wine and spirits questions to Joshua E. London at [email protected]