Château de Fargues, Sauternes par Lur-Saluces, 2001

It isn’t every day that I get to converse with a prince of Orleans, but it also isn’t every day that I get to sample as exceptional a wine as this one. Prince Eudes D’Orleans is the Directeur General of Chateau de Fargues, whom I was lucky enough to meet when he poured this wine at the end of an already impressive evening of wines by Jean-Luc Colombo (part of a dinner for the Maitres Cuisiners de France convention at Mix in Las Vegas). But he isn’t the most impressive person behind Fargues. That distinction belongs to Comte Alexandre de Lur Saluces, who famously ran Chateau D’Yquem, restoring it to its high esteem before family politics forced its sale from the family to LVMH in the 1990s, and now focuses his expertise here.

Although this property has been in the Lur-Saluces family even longer than D’Yquem, it only started producing white wine in the 1940s. Today, the vineyards take up only 15 hectares, of which 80% is Semillion, 20% Sauvignon, making production so tiny that only 15,000-20,000 bottles (that’s bottles, not cases) are produced IN THE YEARS THEY DECIDE ARE WORTHY. So, in many ways, it’s an even more exceptional wine than D’Yquem, though it doesn’t share the esteem…yet.

“For me, it’s not a dessert wine,” Eudes told me [remaining stoic about it’s pairing with an oversweet chocolate confection]. “It’s not a sweet wine. It’s a golden wine.”
True enough. Color aside, this wine on the palate was like a cascade of flavors–peach, golden raisin, honey, pear, grapefruit–but far from the cloying nectar you expect even from some of the nicest Sauternes.You could easily pair this with lighter seafood (particularly raw), nuts, salads or vegetable dishes. Dessert is the last thing I would serve this with.
Prices for this vintage range in the low $100s (worth it, if you have the money)–but more recent vintages are incredibly affordable. Remarkable and strongly recommended.

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