Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Sauternes Premier Grand Cru Classé
Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Sauternes Premier Grand Cru Classé

Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Sauternes Premier Grand Cru Classé

Bordeaux, France 2001 (375mL)
Regular price$40.00
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Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Sauternes Premier Grand Cru Classé

Premier Grand Cru Classé. Yquem-adjacency. Excruciatingly low yields. Premium French oak. Twenty-two years of maturation. If all that causes you to envision a Sauternes with an insufferably high price tag, we have fantastic news: Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey’s incredibly voluptuous and pleasure-filled 2001 comes in at just $40. I repeat, $40. 

Although packaged in a 375ML bottle, for me, that provides the perfect amount of indulgence. A single ounce of this confoundingly rich and complex nectar will enthrall the palate for minutes on end. Decades-old Sauternes is one of those rare wine experiences that instantly transports you to a golden utopia; rarer still is getting there at such a low cost! Our small parcel spent its life in a cool Bordeaux cellar (ensuring it’s a prime candidate for additional cellaring) and we’re allowing up to a dozen half-bottle purchases, so we do not expect our limited inventory to survive long. Sometimes the stars just align, and when they do, you’d better be paying attention! Enjoy.

A lesser-known fact about the renowned 1855 Classification of Bordeaux is that the sweet-wine appellations of Sauternes and Barsac were also included. Twenty-six producers were named in the Grand Cru Classé promotion: Château d’Yquem earned its own Premier Cru Supérieur category, 11 châteaux were ranked as Premier Crus, and 14 more as Deuxièmes Cru. Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey is one of the 11 Premier Grand Crus, and their prestige is well-deserved and documented. The château recently celebrated its 400th anniversary, although the property itself contains some building material dating back to the 1200s! In fact, the land in which their vines are planted was once a place of respite for those traveling along the Roman-built route “Via Aquitania.” 

Sauternes is the most famous of a string of Bordeaux appellations devoted to sweet white wines from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle. The grapes are left to hang extra-long on the vine—into the cooler, wetter fall months—until they wither and become affected by a fungus called botrytis, referred to as “noble rot.” In these conditions, botrytis doesn’t simply rot and destroy the cluster but rather concentrates sugars by allowing the dehydration of each grape. The unctuous juice of these late-harvested grapes doesn’t ferment to dryness in the winery, leaving behind ample residual sugar (typically 120 grams/liter and beyond) while maintaining incredibly refreshing acidity levels. They’re the ultimate “meditation” wines, meant to be sipped and savored slowly and capable of decades of aging thanks to the preservative effects of sugar.

Lafaurie-Peyraguey owns 18 hectares of vines—some of which neighbor Yquem—that average 40 years of age. In 2001, their team made several passes to ensure only a ripe crop with noble botrytis was hand-harvested. That tiny selection was then heavily sorted, yielding just 13 hectoliters per hectare. For comparison, Château d’Yquem hovers around 10hl/ha, with one vine equating to about one glass of wine. In the winery, the crop was gently pressed into French barrels, 50%-70% new, for a temperature-controlled fermentation. It then aged in these same barrels for two years before blending and bottling. Although an educated guess, I’d wager this 2001 has somewhere around 130 grams of residual sugar per liter. 

This 2001 Sauternes pours a deep gold with amber hues that quickly fill the senses with bruised apricot, marmalade, white truffle, grilled pineapple, beeswax, acacia honey, quince paste, spiced pear, iodine, and sweet baking spices. It is rich and dense, but with enough acidity and savory “secondary” flavors to keep buoyant. Few, if any, 2001 Sauternes can compete with this stunner at $40. Serve a couple ounces in an all-purpose glass or a proper Sauternes stem and enjoy this small-in-stature, huge-in-flavor bottle over several days. If tightly re-corked and refrigerated, it’ll keep drinking beautifully for a week or more. Enjoy on its own or with a chunk of Roquefort—an all-time classic pairing—and the attached duck terrine recipe if you really want to go above and beyond. Cheers!

Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Sauternes Premier Grand Cru Classé




Enjoying the greatest wines of Beaujolais starts, as it usually does, with the lay of the land. In Beaujolais, 10 localities have been given their own AOC (Appellation of Controlled Origin) designation. They are: Saint Amour; Juliénas; Chénas; Moulin-à Vent; Fleurie; Chiroubles; Morgon; Régnié; Côte de Brouilly; and Brouilly.

Southwestern France


Bordeaux surrounds two rivers, the Dordogne and Garonne, which intersect north of the city of Bordeaux to form the Gironde Estuary, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The region is at the 45th parallel (California’s Napa Valley is at the38th), with a mild, Atlantic-influenced climate enabling the maturation of late-ripening varieties.

Central France

Loire Valley

The Loire is France’s longest river (634 miles), originating in the southerly Cévennes Mountains, flowing north towards Paris, then curving westward and emptying into the Atlantic Ocean near Nantes. The Loire and its tributaries cover a huge swath of central France, with most of the wine appellations on an east-west stretch at47 degrees north (the same latitude as Burgundy).

Northeastern France


Alsace, in Northeastern France, is one of the most geologically diverse wine regions in the world, with vineyards running from the foothills of theVosges Mountains down to the Rhine River Valley below.

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