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A Quick Overview Of Sauternes
Sauternes is the name of a village, a wine-growing region, and appellation of sweet white wine - all in Bordeaux, France. Sauternes wines are made with sémillon, sauvignon, and muscadelle grapes which are infected with Botrytis Cinerea, or 'Noble Rot'.
Botrytis is a fungus which pierces the skin of the grapes as it grows, causing water to evaporate and the sugars and acids in the berries to concentrate.
Vintages which do not become infected with botrytis cannot be classified as 'sauternes'. The most prestigious Sauternes wine is Château d'Yquem. Sweet white wine in the USA are often labelled 'sauterne' without the 's' (which is not pronounced in French). Sauternes are expensive wines to produce - noble rot is not guaranteed every vintage which gives the appellation further exclusivity.