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Sauternes wine is one of the most famous sweet wine of the world, deriving from the small village of Sauternes in Bordeaux of France. The appellation produces some of the most prestigious, sought after and expensive dessert wines ever. The United States president Thomas Jefferson on his visit to Paris from 1785 to 1789 described Sauternes as the best white wine in the country after Champagne. The famed wines are made from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle grape varietals that have been affected by Botrytis Cinerea, the noble rot. This small fungus causes the grapes to partially dehydrate/shrivel while still growing on the vine, resulting in very concentrated and distinctively sweet grapes. Because of its unique climate and geography, Sauternes is one of the several wine areas where noble rot happens naturally and regularly. To have the right to write on the label Sauternes, the wine must have a minimum 13% alcohol and pass a tasting exam, though there is no specific regulation on the definite level of residual sugar required in the finished wine. The production is very immaculate and labour consuming, starting from the careful harvest in small baskets, and after the extremely fragile grapes are treated very gently during pressing and fermentation which usually takes place in oak barrels with the house style managing the amount of new oak used. After that, the wines are matured from 18-36 months in French oak barrels and blended before bottling. The best expressions of the Sauternes can endure maturation for more than 60-70 years. The appellation is part of the Classification System developed in Médoc in 1855, where Château d'Yquem was the only one in Bordeaux to receive the exclusive Premier Cru Classé Supérieur staus. The other two levels are called Premiere Cru Classé (First Growth) with 11 Châteaux and Deuxième Cru Classé (Second Growth) with 15. Dry white wines are also made from the same grape varieties, usually in the vintages where the noble rot is not very present. The sad statistic is showing that the consumption of the sweet wines in the world is decreasing, and with that said the Sauternes wine as well.

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