2011 Chateau Raymond-Lafon Sauternes

  • 97 Point Vintage, Wine Spectator
  • "One of the Truly Great Years for Bordeaux’s Sweet Wines" ~Vinous
  • "Very Refined Version of Raymond-Lafon" ~95+ Vinous
  • Château D'Yquem's Neigbor
  • Property of Former D'Yquem's Manager
  • Extremely Limited Production
  • Free Shipping on 6 or More Bottles

About the Wine

Sauternes is the iconic sweet wine of Bordeaux. This region is a paradise for lovers of sweetness, finesse, and elegant wines. These wines are adored by wine experts, pundits, and sommeliers alike. Wines from this region can fetch up to $1,000 a bottle or more!

Sauternes wines are made primarily from Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes that have been naturally effected by noble rot, Botrytis fungus. In this case, it’s a desirable fungus, allowing the perfect growing conditions for sweet wine. The fungus causes small holes in the skin of the grapes, and the grapes dehydrate on the vine, concentrating the sugar in the grapes. They look like raisins at harvest. The result is a wine with deep and complex flavors and aromas. 

Just to give you an idea of the epic terroir and location of Raymond-Lafon, a 10-minute walk will take you directly to the world’s most recognized sweet wine producer in the world, Château d’Yquem.

Château Raymond-Lafon has been around for so long, but it was in 1972, that it became property of Yquem’s former manager, Pierre Meslier. Pierre has managed to reborn this legendary Château, turning it into a worthy competitor of its emblematic neighbor. Raymond-Lafon’s viticultural practices are extremely careful. The vineyard has minuscule yield of 9hl/hectare (even less than in Dyquem.) Pierre shares the same winemaking techniques, selection process, and varietals with Dyquem. But what they don’t share, is the price. A bottle of the 2011 Château D’Yquem is selling at almost $700. This outstanding 2011 Chateau Raymond-Lafon is about 10x less.

Raymond-Lafon has a big reputation, and critics agree that is one of the great classic Sauternes wines. However, this wine is extremely difficult to find, due to its diminutive production, which is mainly sold in Europe. BHW was lucky enough to get some bottles of this gem.

2011 was an outstanding year for Sauternes. Wine Spectator blessed this vintage with a 97 point review, saying that "Wines are racy, detailed, pure and driven." Vinous Media said that 2011 "will go down in history as one of the truly great years for Bordeaux’s sweet wines."

Sauternes is often called a dessert wine and it is the perfect accompaniment to blue cheese, cheesecake, fruit tart, and cheese platter. However, that shouldn’t stop you from pairing it with scallops or lobster, foie gras, or Thai food. It’s a very versatile wine.

Tasting Notes: 80% Semillon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc. 
See Critical Reviews for detailed tasting notes.

Reviews

Bright golden yellow. Captivating aromas of fresh white flowers, acacia honey, guava and marmaladey botrytis. Smooth and seamless in the mouth, displaying knockout flavors of pineapple, pomelo (rather than grapefruit, which has an element of bitterness that is absent in this wine), English custard and honeyed mango. The finish is extremely long, very sweet and dense, but this come across as a politely styled, very refined version of Raymond-Lafon owing to its harmonious acidity. This outstanding wine is the result of six different tries occurring between September 19 and October 5, but only the middle four went into the grand yin, with the first and last pickings used for the estate's second wine. ~95+ Vinous Media.

Deliciously plump in feel, with toasted coconut, piecrust, and warm brioche notes caressing a core of apricot, fig, and creamed pear. The long, flattering finish picks up an orange blossom hint to offset the fruit. Best from 2016 through 2030. 2,165 cases made. ~94 Wine Spectator.

From one of the many recent exceptional years in Sauternes, this ripe, unctuous wine has balanced the rich honeyed fruit and the drier edge of botrytis. It's full in the mouth, with Seville orange and a light touch of ginger. Drink from 2019. ~93 Wine Enthusiast. 

Unclassified Sauternes & Barsac 2011s Château Raymond-Lafon, Sauternes. Toasty, elegant, apricot nose. Creamy, full-bodied and concentrated. Velvety but not heavy, with fine balancing acidity. Fresh and persistent. ~93 Decanter

The nose is fine, fruity, and offers a concentration as well as a slight freshness. It reveals notes of candied lemon and a hint of quince associated with discreet hints of dried mango as well as a subtle hint of dried peach and a subtle roasted hint. The palate is fruity, well-balanced, mineral, and fresh and offers a slight mineral frame, a slight tension, fat, roundness as well as a slight unctuosity. In the mouth, this wine expresses notes of candied lemon and quince associated with slight notes of dry apricot, crushed dried mango as well as a subtle roasted hint, fruits in syrup, honey, and an imperceptible hint of muesli. Good length. ~93 VertdeVin.

Tasted blind at the Sauternes 2011 horizontal tasting. The Château Raymond-Lafon 2011 is very backward on the nose with muted scents of wax resin, undergrowth, dried honey and a slight petrol note that lends it a Germanic personality. The palate is viscous on the entry with thickly layered honeyed fruit. It does not quite have the panache of sophistication of its peers and it feels just a little earnest on the finish, but I suspect that bottle age will bestow great complexity. ~90+ Robert Parker.

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