Sauternes is one of the five major wine-producing areas of BORDEAUX. It produces only white wine.
The wines of Sauternes are basically sweet and are made differently from the other white wines of the region. The best of them (those with the chateau name on the label) are painstakingly made from what the French call pourriture noble, or nobly rotted grapes (that is, grapes left on the vine until they are overripe and a fungus appears on the skin).
The wines of Sauternes were included in the 1855 classification of Medoc wines. One, Chateau d’Yquem, was considered to have such outstanding merit that a special category was created for it of grand premier cru. Of the 20-odd other first and second growths, Chateau Coutet and Chateau Climens, both from Barsac, one of the main subsidiary areas of Sauternes, stand out.
The wines of Sauternes tend to be full, heavy and rather sweet and are therefore most usually drunk as dessert or even after -dinner wines.