Color: medium deep gold; thick, viscous, looking more mature than its relatively young 12 years of age. Classic, massive bouquet of apricot, peach syrup, coconut, apple pie baking spice and vanilla. Palate is thickly extracted -- reminiscent of Vuillier vintage Rieussec when botrytis and concentration sometimes got out of hand (think '76 and '83). Fat, round and needing more acidity, this is pretty blowsy and while I'm enjoying it very cold, it becomes pretty cloying as it comes up to room temp. Peaches, brown sugar, creme brulee with a long, very, very sweet finish, this Rieussec is more a statement of the vintage than the estate.
Rieussec mini-vertical (Home): From a 375. Golden-orange color, advanced for its age but appropriate for 2003; nose has orange caramel, slight "hot" orange like Quady's orange essensia, some underlying baking spice; palate is full bodied, ripe orange fruit, moderate sweetness, slight oxidation, some orange, some caramel, not plodding but also lacks vibrant acidity of the 2006 next to it, fruit is very ripe but the alcohol isn't out of place, lacks depth but pleasant; finish is medium length. Overall this is ripe, fruit-based, balanced alcohol but low acid, well-integrated Sauternes drinking well now. Not bad, but not a top Rieussec and I actually prefer the more balanced, more complex, higher acid 2006 consumed side-by-side.
375ml PnP sharing with a group - Apricot, almonds, some minerality, caramel, acidity that's present but hidden within the sweetness - which is nice. Zesty, slight spice, only a hint of smokiness (that was more pronounce 2 yrs ago). Finish was a little short but I did enjoyed it. Regret not able to drink it slowly over a few hours while oxygen do its thing.
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(Chateau Rieussec (Sauternes)) The nose here is just as immediately enticing as the other 2003s poured here, all richness and exuberance, but with a certain definition of aroma. There is crunchy, fresh barley sugar along with elements of marmalade, honey and apricot, although there is also a somewhat high-toned suggestion of volatility which presents itself before these other characteristics appear. Coconut macaroon too. The palate carries this volatility through into something of a medicinal feel, the wine showing a burnt-coffee edge alongside the obviously intense fruit. The acidity is on the lower side, especially compared to the Barsacs but there is still great character here. Grippy and substantial finish, although somewhat tempered by some harsh and spiky structural elements on the finish this time. A bit of a rough patch here I think. After 24 hours in the fridge it showed much better, still slightly sweet-confected, but with lots of lovely depth and character.
I've had a propensity toward sweet wines lately (maybe it's the dank Parisian spring (winter?) that has me huddled by the fire in need of dessert wine) but this wine simply cannot be topped for quality and value. You can downplay 2003 all you want but I'm not sure why? If you are into Sauternes and are looking for something to enjoy over the next decade (to avoid the sacrifice of your precious 2001s), I cannot think of a better price/value star than this. It delivers all the secondary quality that this estate has become synonymous with (plus an extra layer of exotic fruit) for a fraction of the 2001's price.
Chateau Rieussec has elevated their status to just below that of Yquem and their 2001 is evidence of how far they've come since the 1970s. The 2003 is nearly the equal of Yquem - if you taste both wines blind, my guess is that half of you will prefer the Rieussec and it's price cannot be topped (Parker actually rated the Rieussec higher).
This parcel has arrived directly from Bordeaux with the finest provenance available (it is not a pre-arrival) - it will be available for local pick up in a few weeks (early May due to posting laws).
(Chateau Rieussec Sauternes) From a half bottle. This vintage has a vibrant, yellow-golden hue which has some promise. It certainly has plenty of youthful character on the nose, which has a floral edge to the honey and pepper-spiced fruit. Deliciously fresh and creamy on the palate, rich, deeply concentrated, with a forceful structure beneath it all. Hugely characterful flavour too. Lots of creamy-oily botrytis in evidence too. Quite grippy. Slightly low acidity, but this still has an adequate structure and backbone. This is impressive wine indeed.
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