The Sauternes region is twenty-five miles southeast of Bordeaux, near the rivers Garonne and Ciron, and enjoys a climate which is particularly conducive to the development of a microscopic fungus: Botrytis Cynerea, commonly known as “Noble Rot”, this Noble rot affected wine is one of the lushest, most delectable sweet wines available.
Because the rivers are different temperatures, during the warm and dry fall, they produce a mist that aids in the formation of Noble rot. By the time the afternoon rolls around, the sun knocks the mist out of the way, drying the grapes and keeping them safe from more malevolent fungus.
Five communes make up the Sauternes region: Barsac, Sauternes, Bommes, Fargues, and Preignac. While each of these communes can call their wines Sauternes, Barsac can classify their wines under the Barsac appellation. To qualify as a Sauternes, a wine has to have an alcohol level of at least 13% and be sweet upon a tasting exam.
The 1855 classification of Sauternes and Barsac was drawn up at the same time as the most famous ‘Bordeaux Classification’ (Medoc & Graves 1855). The two were presented together at the Exposition Universelle de Paris of that year, at the request of Napoleon III.
Twenty-six of the finest sweet white wines from Sauternes and Barsac were classified and ranked according to their market value. Initially, there were just two divisions (Premier Cru and Second Cru), but Chateau d’Yquem rated so highly that it was granted its own individual rank, ‘Premier Cru Superieur’.
Chateau Bastor Lamontagne, due to the fact that it was not included in the historic 1855 Classification of Sauternes and Barsac has operated in relative obscurity over the past few centuries. However, that might change in the near future.
In July 2014, the chateau was sold to the Cathiard family, who also own Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte in Pessac Leognan and Chateau Beauregard in Pomerol. The Cathiard family bought Chateau Bastor Lamontagne in a partnership with the Moulin family.
The Moulin family are the owners of the large French chain of high-end shopping stores, Galeries Lafayette. The Cathiard family and the Moulin family purchased the estate as part of a package deal from the recent owners, the Credit Foncier Bank.
Chateau Bastor Lamontagne does have an extensive history. In fact, the estate of Chateau Bastor Lamontagne dates all the way back to the middle ages when it was considered royalty as it was once the property of the King of England and later as it was also owned the King of France.
Located 40km south of Bordeaux, in Preignac, on one of the terraces of the Garonne, the vines of the Château Bastor-Lamontagne cover a surface area of 56 hectares on magnificent siliceous and gravel soils and are wholly dedicated to the production of sweet white wine.
To produce the wine of Chateau Bastor Lamontagne, after a pneumatic pressing, the wine is fermented in French oak barrels and is aged in an average of 20% new, French oak barrels for close to 15 months.
The production is close to 13,000 cases of Chateau Bastor Lamontagne per year. The estate also produces a special cuvée from a 2.5-hectare parcel called Cru Bordenave, which is aged in 100% new, French oak barrels from 100% Semillon grapes that comes from their oldest vines.
The 2010 Bastor-Lamontagne has a pure, honeyed, acacia-tinged, ripe stone fruit, pineapple, tangerine marmalade and ginger spice bouquet that soars from the glass. The palate is well balanced with a sensual, honeyed texture, well-judged acidity and a smooth, quite concentrated finish.
Perfect pairing with Foie gras on brioche with late harvest wine jelly, Crème brûlée, Cannelés Bordelais or a Fruit Tart.