Two old sweeties

This weekend saw the chance to taste two interesting but very contrasting sweet wines.  I am sorry that it was only after the event that I thought to take the photo. It was one of those evenings that sort of ‘developed’ as it went along But if are very sharp sighted and use a bit of imagination you can see the difference of colour: the Muscat on the left is a browner yellow, the Sauterne on the right a more classical gold. 

IMG_0149The difference of colour heralds greater contrasts in the wines.  Dom. Cazes, Muscat de Rivesaltes, 1993 is an excellent, long wood aged, Muscat. The wine starts out pale and ends this deep colour after many years in large casks – see my post on Cazes. The nose is dominated by caramel and wood notes, the orange blossom now very subdued; overall only medium in power. But the palate is remarkable for its intensity of those caramel notes, especially the way that it finishes with great concentration and tempered sweetness.  A remarkably good example.

By contrast Ch. Sigalas Rabaud, Sauternes Premier Cru, 2003 is a whole decade younger but more complex.  One of the best purchases I have ever made was a case of this Sauternes in half bottles – perfect for many occasions, easy enough to keep over the years and see how it develops.  I guess it is now at its peak: powerful and exquisite nose of marmalade and floral notes, outstanding palate in which the fruit, the sweetness and the acidity are beautifully balanced.  Great length. 

Two excellent examples in contrasting styles. 

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