This is one of those offers that tends to get me in excessive hot water with the naysayers but, I’ve received so many inquiries regarding the affirmation of its existence that the best way to showcase the answer is to allow you taste it at home...
The inquires began with a round of BI offers a month ago (another appeared this morning for large formats), which is not uncommon as many of you read European retail offers and ask me if I can secure the wines instead (so they do not have to be shipped via DHL or FedEx from Europe - especially in the summer). This offer was particularly difficult to source as the wine is technically not commercially available nor is it even “technically” offered for sale by the Chateau in question. It is not tasted at the en-premier tastings and they do not even acknowledge its availability.
This Sauternes, from a memorable vintage in Bordeaux (2010) and a particularly memorable harvest in Sauternes (before the rains) is not only a curiosity satisfied but it is also darn great wine, even by the scrutiny of unforgiving critical standards. As this property does not produce a second wine (they do bottle a dry white but not a second sweet wine), it makes the collector take particular note as the first wine of the property is among the most admired and collected in the world (the 2010 trades for $300-400/375ml and $600-800/750ml with prices that rarely, if ever, decrease as the years tick away).
With the single most rigorous picking regimen in Bordeaux (each worker is assigned specific plants and tiny plots to watch over – yes, this is serious), the grapes are plucked one at a time from each cluster at the exact moment of their intended perfection. If a grape does not meet that standard, it is put into another basket to be discarded (or vinified dry) or it is placed into yet another basket to be vinified as the first wine but watched as the barrels progress. If the “watched” barrels do not age into their 100pt intent, the barrels are set aside.
The funny part?
Most of the grapes in the “set aside” barrels are only a touch below the others in standard (i.e., when you’re looking at prime steaks, they are all of a certain quality but a few my be just a notch above/below the others). To keep their reputation around the world and at auction the very highest in winedom, the Chateau does not want any of this wine in the hands of other bottlers, properties or even consumers (fear exists that consumers who become used to a high level of “second” quality will think twice about supporting the first wine – although, in my opinion, that would not occur as a market exists for both – See Carruades de Lafite/Forts de Latour).
So, instead of bottling it as a “Forts” or “Carruades” and offering it for $150-250/750ml (as 99% of every other estate would do), they give most of it away to their employees and friends as gifts. There's no name on the label and nothing to trace it...but those that have tasted it know of its quality.
This year, we were able to acquire a small amount of this ridiculously rare wine that really isn’t meant for trading at all. I'm not sure any has ever come to the US in a retail sense (except for the European retailers sending it directly to consumers) and I'm not sure if any will again. This is not about brand-building – this is about a one-off opportunity to sample something that NO ONE in your tasting group has ever seen or will (most likely) ever see again. We cannot show you photos of the labels but, I believe, BI has them on their site.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Garagiste makes no claim as to the origin of this wine, the Chateau in question or to the quality of said bottled contents except for the fact that it may or may not be excellent, live for several decades and may or may not be one of the finest Sauternes deals for the curious/”I have everything” collector we’ve ever come across (i.e., you may have cases of 1969 La Tache in your cellar but you do not have this. Can you imagine the look on your collector friend’s face when you give him/her one of these for their birthday? Even Bepin Desai would nod in approval).