Sauternes pairs best with Blue Cheese, Foie Gras, Lobster Bisque, Fruit-based desserts, and Spicy Asian and Thai dishes.
Sauternes is one of the world’s most unique and unforgettable wines, with a rich and decadent flavour. The wine is golden, with aromas of white flowers, dried figs and honey. The palate reveals a smooth viscosity that coats the mouth with flavours of apricot, honeycomb, marmalade, candied orange peel, butterscotch and caramel. It also offers notes of baking spices such as allspice and nutmeg. The finish is long and luxurious, leaving you with a lingering taste of honeyed fruit, sweet oak spices and fresh citrus.
Sauternes is a style of white wine made from grapes that have been affected by the “noble rot,” Botrytis cinerea. The grapes are left to sit on the vine for an extended period, typically until after the onset of autumn rains. During this time, the grapes become semi-raisinated and infected with Botrytis. This mould causes the grapes to dehydrate and concentrate their sugars while developing a distinctive spicy flavour.
Sugars in the resulting must (must is unfermented grape juice containing the fruit’s seeds, skins, stems) are fermented into a rich, sweet wine aged in oak barrels for up to several years before being bottled and released to the market. Sauternes is expensive due to its lengthy production process and rarity, but it can offer an unforgettable experience for those willing to invest in it.
Sauternes can also be aged for several decades, and as it ages, the wine will develop deeper notes of vanilla, caramel, coconut, nuts, and toffee.
Best Food with Sauternes
Blue Cheese & Sauternes Pairing
Sauternes and Blue Cheese is considered a holy grail of wine pairing, as the combination is so darn amazing! The sweetness of Sauternes shears through the richness of the cheese, contrasting the pungent and salty tang of the blue-veined cheese. Meanwhile, the wine’s floral and honeyed botrytis notes complement the flowery mould notes and nutty flavours of the blue cheese.
The pairing offers a perfect balance of sweet, salty, creamy and sharp flavours and is worth trying at least once in your life.
Foie Gras & Sauternes Pairing
Foie Gras and Sauternes are an indulgent pairing that will make any meal special. The sweetness of the wine helps to balance the savoury richness of the foie gras, creating a heavenly combination. The honeyed and floral aromas of sauternes add an air of luxury to the pairing, while its smooth viscosity adds a luxurious feel to the dish.
In addition, the Foie Gras’s buttery texture is complemented nicely by the flavours of dried figs, apricot and caramel found in sauternes, making it a classic combination that will tantalize your taste buds. This sophisticated pairing is certain to be a hit with guests at any dinner party or gathering (if they seem squeamish, don’t tell them that Foie Gras is duck liver).
Apple Pie & Sauternes Pairing
Apple pie and sauternes is a classic pairing that is sure to please any palate. Its silky viscosity adds a luxurious feel to each bite, and its fruity notes add another layer of flavour to this delicious combination. Enjoying apple pie with sauternes is sure to be a memorable experience!
Sauternes’ lush honey and warm spice flavours impart a dusting of cinnamon flavours for each bite of apple pie enjoyed with this exquisite dessert wine. On top of that, the sweetness of the wine helps to balance out the tartness of the apples, while its floral aromas complement the fragrant spices in the pastry.
The crispness of sauternes pairs nicely with the flaky crust of an apple pie, and its complexity makes it an ideal companion for this classic dessert. Meanwhile, Sauternes’ acidity also cuts through any sharp cheddar cheese you might add to your warm slice of apple pie.
Cheesecake & Sauternes Pairing
Sauternes and Cheesecake are a match made in heaven. The sweetness of the wine helps to balance out the creamy richness of the Cheesecake, creating a delightful dessert experience. Its honeyed and floral aromas add an air of sophistication to the dish, while its smooth viscosity brings out the delicate flavours of cream cheese and graham cracker crust.
I love Sauternes paired up with Cheesecake topped with peaches, but it’s certain to go well with any sort of fruit-topped Cheesecake, including blueberries, strawberries, cherries or raspberries, or even a naked Cheesecake.
The rule of thumb when pairing Sauternes with any is that the wine must be sweeter than the dessert. Should the dessert be loaded with sugar, the sweetness will overpower the delicious flavours of Sauternes, making the wine taste a bit sour and flat. Cheesecake is brilliant with Sauternes as you have all that cream cheese goodness to balance out the sweetness of the dessert.
Spicy Pad Thai & Sauternes Pairing
Pairing a sweet wine with a savoury and spicy main course may sound unusual, but Sauternes paired with spicy Pad Thai works! The sweetness of Sauternes puts out the spicy fire of any hot peppers in your Pad Thai, allowing you to enjoy the earthier and grassy flavours of the Chilli peppers that always go unnoticed.
Sauternes, particularly older Sauternes, also has a nutty flavour which will go very well with any crushed peanuts in your Pad Thai. Meanwhile, the delicious flavours of honey, pineapple, peach, apricot, creamed coconut and tropical fruit are delicious when paired with any chicken, tofu or shrimp in your Pad Thai. All of these meats absorb the Sauternes flavours, allowing you to get a deeper sense of how decedent this luscious dessert wine is.