Producer Guide: Chateau Sigalas Rabaud (Bordeaux, France)
Chateau Sigalas Rabaud is one of the great names of Sauternes. It produces luxurious sweet wines that rival the very best in the world.
Situated in the South West of France, just to the south of Bordeaux, Chateau Sigalas Rabaud takes advantage of the natural humidity that gathers in this part of the region and allows for the production of naturally sweet wines from botrytis.
The chateau itself was created in the 17th century and like many other estates at the time, went about its business making good wine. It was with the advent of the 1855 classification though that Sigalas Rabaud came to prominence. Along with 10 other properties, Sigalas Rabaud was rated as a first growth.
In 1863 Henry de Sigalas acquired the estate. Forty years later is son Pierre Gaston de Sigalas acquired the property, which came with a small chateau and on the south facing hill, a small farm. Decisions were made and it was decided that the the chateau and some of the north facing vineyards would be sold off, while he would keep just 14 hectares which included the farm building.
Time would ultimately proved that it was a shrewd move. The feeling was that he had kept the most important element of the estate, the south facing hill comprised of mainly gravel but also clay soils just below the stones. This really is key to the freshness that symbolises Sigalas Rambuad.
Today this same hill covers 14 hectares of vineyard planted with Semillon and Sauvignon.
The philosophy of Sigalas Rambaud stars in the vineyard. The soils are ploughed and although the estate isn't organic only a small amount of spraying takes place. Yields too are tightly controlled. The law in Sauternes permits nothing more than 25hl per hectare but here around 18 is the norm. The intension is to ensure that the good quality soils are handed down to the next owners.
It's important for estates in Sauternes to offer a white wine, either to help importers make up orders or to provide a more attractive offering at the cellar door. Sigalas Rabaud are no differ. They produce two dry whites (bottled as AOC Bordeaux) that feature but Sauvignon and Semillon kissed with a touch of oak.
The Grand Vin is aged in French barrique for at least 18 months under the guidance of winemaker Eric Boissenot.
Sauternes AOC 2016 by Chateau Siglas Rabaud
Sauternes AOC 2013 by Chateau Siglas Rabaud Glorious freshness, delightful, uplifting notes of white peach, subtle, delicate marmalade and orange rind. There is a feeling of purity. It's light and exceptionally fresh, yet the natural sweetness is rich and luxurious but, and this is where it stands out as a world class wine, in perfect harmony. (May 2017)