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Top 10 Best Dessert Wines from France

There are over 100 different appellations for the sweet wines of France. The best known is the Sauternes, the sweet botrytized wine from Bordeaux, France. Other sweet dessert wines include the Vin Doux Naturel, and the Sélection de Grains Nobles. All of the French dessert wines have their own distinct fermentation process and winemaking process. And they can be quite versatile too: you can pair them with Asian cuisine, savory dishes, or even spicy cuisines. So here are the Top 10 Best Dessert Wines from France.


1. Sauternes 2016

About: Sauternes Wine; Bordeaux, France: Sweet and unctuous but delightfully charming, the finest Sauternes typically express flavors of exotic dried tropical fruit, candied apricot, dried citrus peel, honey or ginger and a zesty beam of acidity.

Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris and Muscadelle are the grapes of Sauternes. But Sémillon’s susceptibility to the requisite noble rot makes it the main variety and contributor to what makes Sauternes so unique. As a result, most Sauternes estates are planted to about 80% Sémillon. Sauvignon is prized for its balancing acidity and Muscadelle adds aromatic complexity to the blend with Sémillon.

Botrytis cinerea or “noble rot” is a fungus that grows on grapes only in specific conditions and its onset is crucial to the development of the most stunning of sweet wines.

In the fall, evening mists develop along the Garonne River, and settle into the small Sauternes district, creeping into the vineyards and sitting low until late morning. The next day, the sun has a chance to burn the moisture away, drying the grapes and concentrating their sugars and phenolic qualities. What distinguishes a fine Sauternes from a normal one is the producer’s willingness to wait and tend to the delicate botrytis-infected grapes through the end of the season.

Price range: $25.17

Brand: Sablettes

Key Feature: This sauternes features nose of citrus, marmalade, honey and ripe pineapple with a hint of white peppercorn. Sweet on the tip ofthe tongue with refreshing acidity yielding to an elegant finish. 

Blend: 80% Semillon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc

Website: Buy at Vivino

2016 Sablettes Sauternes | Vivino

 


2. Symphonie de Novembre Jurançon 2018

About: Domaine Cauhapé between Biarritz & Lourdes, facing the Pyrenees at the heart of Bearn, Henri Ramonteu creates dry and sweet white wines from an exceptional terroir. Wines of Jurancon with their fruity, complex aromas and elegant golden colour, will enchant lovers of fine, signature wines.

Southwest France offers the perfect balance of quality and value, Southwest, France is a recognized appellation that encompasses all wine regions in France’s southwestern corner (except for Bordeaux and Cognac, which merit their very own). Two of the more famous subregions here are Cahors, known for its Malbec, and Madiran, home of the robust Tannat grape. Bordeaux Blends are also popular red wines of the Southwest; Petit Manseng is the regions’s star autochthonous white variety.

Price range: $32.09

Brand: Domaine Cauhapé

Key Feature: Powerful and complex, the nose evokes dried and candied fruits coated with fine, toasty notes. On the palate, the ample and generous mouthfeel develops with vibrant notes of citrus fruits, yellow fruits and spice.

Website: Buy at Vivino

Domaine Cauhapé Symphonie de Novembre Jurançon | Vivino

 


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3. Coteaux du Layon Saint Lambert 2018

About: This Coteau du Layon Saint Lambert is the most emblematic wine of the historical know-how of our estate, that of over-ripe Chenin sorting, concentrated by Botrytis, the famous “noble rot” and the production of sweet or sweet wine. Domaine Ogereau is here in Saint Lambert du Lattay on the left bank of the Layon, on sandstone shale soils. The very stony soils, the autumn mists on the Layon make our hillsides a magical place for the development of Botrytis or noble rot.

Here a whole know-how is implemented. Domaine Ogereau harvest by sorting by cutting out the overripe grapes from the bunches, concentrated by noble rot. For this mellow wine, the objective is not a very high concentration of grapes but a balance full of freshness and aromatic radiance. For this, they multiply the passages, the sortings, about one per week throughout the month of October and they harvest grapes at the beginning of concentration.

Price range: €17.00

Brand: Domaine Ogereau

Key Feature: This wine has a very nice mellow balance. The sweetness of botrytiq is balanced by the acidity of chenin and the great bitterness of our shale terroirs. The end of the mouth is thus digestible and pure.

Website: Buy at Vivino

2018 Domaine Ogereau Coteaux du Layon Saint Lambert | Vivino

 


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4. Symphonie de Novembre Jurançon 2016

About: Harvested in the middle of November, this wine is poised between layers of botrytis and aromatic honey, and the freshest lemon and apricot flavors. The wine still bursts with energy as well as sweetness. Wait to make it even better, so drink from 2022.

Price range: $32.09

Brand: Domaine Cauhapé

Key Feature: Intense on the nose, aromas are a perfect blend of exotic citrus fruits and delicate oak, with notes of resin, spices and toast. The palate is smooth and aromatic, lifted by ripe fruit flavors, and note of pineapple, quince and chestnut.

This wine is perfect for food pairings, it will accompany any kind of cheeses and desserts. The most famous pairing is with a foie gras mi-cuit. It also pairs well with chicken, fish, prawns or shellfish.

Website: Buy at Vivino

2016 Domaine Cauhapé Symphonie de Novembre Jurançon | Vivino

 


5. L’Abbaye Monbazillac 2010

About: Early in the 20th century the wines of Monbazillac were considered (and fetched the same prices) as the famous chateaux of Sauternes. Possessing an exception terroir and microclimate suitable for the production of late harvest wines we see now why this  region is considered to be a rapidly evolving and improving region and critics are whispering about the “new” sauternes. From  renowned winemaker Christian Roche the wines of Domaine de l’Ancienne Cure are made with passion, attention to quality and  considered amongst the best in the region.

Price range: $20.05

Brand: Domaine l’Ancienne Cure

Key Feature: Handpicked selected botrytis affected grapes of very good quality. Fermentation in new oak barrels for 24 months.

Website: Buy at Vivino

2010 Domaine l'Ancienne Cure L'Abbaye Monbazillac | Vivino

 


Read Also:

Top 10 Best Dessert Wines from Spain & Italy


6. Rimage Banyuls 2018

About: The côte Vermeille’s soil is made of schist rock with a thick soil layer. In this mediterranean climate, the vine has to develop some powerful roots to extract water and nutrients it needs. With only 5000 to 6000 stocks/hectare, the exposition to the sun and Tramontane, the vine produces healthy and concentrated fruits. The vineyard is organized by low dry-stone walls that draw terraces and gave the traditional architecture. Terraces and steep hills make impossible any mechanization and requires to work exclusively by hand.

Banyuls are dessert wines, they are sweet thanks to the natural sugar of the grape that they kept by alcohol addition during the fermentation.

Price range: $42.44

Brand: Domaine La Tour Vieille

Key Feature: Very close to the grenache identity, the nose is made of fresh red berries : strawberry, blackcurrant and raspberry with a spicy hint. The mouth is dynamic and round while not hot. Generally enjoyed as an aperitif, Rimage goes well with desserts too or as a dessert on its own thanks to its freshness and fruity mouth. They say that a Rimage has to be drunk young (1 to 3 years old) or very old (20 years or more).

Website: Buy at Vivino

Domaine La Tour Vieille Rimage Banyuls | Vivino

 


7. Château Pineau du Rey Sauternes 2002

About: Chateau Pineau du Rey 2002 originates from Sauternes, a subarea of Bordeaux that specializes in crafting the most renowned Sweet Wines. Sauternes is predominantly made of Semillon. A sweet wine, it will pair very well with deserts. Best served at 8 degrees. Sauternes has this ability to age gracefully for decades hence this 2002 vintage is very drinkable now but could be kept for many more years.

Price range: $39.90

Brand: Château Filhot

Key Feature: This wine is perfect for food pairings, it will accompany desserts and blue cheese.

Website: Buy at Vivino

2002 Château Filhot Château Pineau du Rey Sauternes | Vivino

 

8. Sauternes 2016

About: A beautiful golden color and reveals a powerful nose. You will find notes of white fruits, but also exotic fruits such as mango and pineapple. The mouth has a great freshness but stays delicately smooth. It is perfectly well balanced, with hints of citrus peel, orange marmelade and a spicy finish (ginger, saffron…) This wine has a great structure and body, and it ends with a very pleasant tension.

Price range: $89.80

Brand: Château Bastor-Lamontagne

Key Feature: A great richness in the mouth with notes of white fruits (peach, pear) and candied apricots.

Website: Buy at Vivino

2016 Château Bastor-Lamontagne Sauternes | Vivino

 


9. La Chartreuse de Coutet Sauternes 2011

About: The wine smells of apple from the oven. The bouquet is concentrated and harmonious, with a complex pallet. Aromas of honey and citrus fruits provide a fresh touch thanks to the Sauvignon. This wine is very versatile. This Sauternes is light and less sweet than other colleagues from the Sauternes. Four ‘tries’ were needed for this harvest in September and October to select the grapes with ‘noble rot’.

Price range: $30.89

Brand: Château Coutet

Key Feature: Serve it with various cheeses: Rocquefort, Fourme d’Ambert, Bleu des Causses, Bleu d’Auvergne and Comté cheese. It also goes well with desserts with lemon, mango, meringue, pear, apple and pineapple. Or with a dessert with mascarpone, whipped cream or honey.

Website: Buy at Vivino

Château Coutet La Chartreuse de Coutet Sauternes | Vivino

 


10. Moelleux Montlouis Sur Loire 2016

About: Montlouis moelleux is vinified in indigenous yeasts in demi-muids, the malolactic fermentation is not done systematically and aging is carried out on fine lees, always in demi-muids and for eleven months. For this cuvée, the grapes are harvested when over mature, with raisining or affected by botrytis cinereal rot. When tasting, this cuvée offers up aromas of citrus fruit and white flowers, notes of honey, quince, candied and exotic fruit. On the palate there is a fine balance between sweetness (about 40g / l of residual sugars) and freshness. The wine stands out for its roundness, its magnitude and very good persistence.

Price range: $45.05

Brand: François Chidaine

Key Feature: Montlouis-sur-Loire Moelleux François Chidaine (Domaine) serve at a temperature of 12°C. It will pair perfectly with the following dishes: Tajine de poulet aux olives et au citron confit, Poulet au citron, Bleu de Bresse.

Website: Buy at Vivino

François Chidaine Moelleux Montlouis Sur Loire | Vivino

 


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