The 14 hectare Château Laville in Sauternes is Jean-Christophe Barbe's family property. Jean-Christophe is also a Professor of Oenology at the University of Bordeaux, where his particular area of expertise is 'noble rot' which, as a producer of Sauternes, he has had plenty of opportunity to study at first hand. A frequent recipient of awards, including several golds and most recently a DWWA Trophy, Laville Sauternes is one of our best kept secrets.
Chateau Laville has 14 hectares of vineyard in Sauternes, in the commune of Preignac, on gravel soils underpinned with limestone. The best plots are used to make the Grand Vin of Laville. The vines are approximately 35 years old. As with Delmond, Jean-Christophe passes through the vineyard five times to ensure that only the most botrytis-ravaged, or nobly rotten, grapes are selected.
After a cold, dry winter, spring arrived very early with bud break at the end of March. April was the second hottest on record since 1900, followed by an equally hot and dry May, resulting in early flowering. A heat spike in June caused serious water stress before an unusually cold July with welcome rains. One of the earliest harvests in history, starting on the second half of August, resulted in historically low yields.
The grapes were pressed using pneumatic and vertical hydraulic presses. Fermentation took place at 20-22°C, in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine was subsequently aged in new 400 litre French oak casks for 30 months.
A bright, golden wine that opens with intense aromas of candied fruits, honey and spice. Rich and unctuous on the palate, it retains lovely delicacy and is perfectly balanced. The fresh, long finish has a lively citrus twist to round it off.