Bev: Port vs Sauterne

Bev: Port vs Sauterne

Well, we had a nice tasting of a wonderful 1980 Colheita Port and a 20 year Graham Tawny Port as well as a Premier Cru Sauternes. The net is that while sweet they are quite different in how they are made…

So we were wondering what all this means:

  • Ports are made in the Duoro Valley of Portugal and were originally exported out of Porto hence the name.
  • Tawny. Is a style of poet that is lighter than the darker ruby.
  • Colheita means the Port comes from a single vintage of grapes.
  • 20-year means it’s a blend of different years and 20 is the average age of grapes.
  • A Port (unlike a Sauterne) is fermented and then it is fortified with a neutral spirit. It’s typically less sugary than a Sauterne


A Sauterne is a completely different beast. It’s a sweet wine as well and is made from Semillion, Sauvignon Blanc and muscadelle

  • It comes a region in Bordeaux and it gets its sweetness from a “Nobel rot” where a fungus actually consumes the grape on the vine. It’s obviously a pretty fickle process
  • The classification of Sauterne comes from 1855. There is only d’Yquem which is a premier cut superieur and then premier cru and deuxieme cru. d’Yquem is insanely expensive but we’ve tried a host of premier cru like Guiraud, Rieussec (owned by Lafite Rothschild. (which had a remarkable run of good vintages from 2009-2022)

I’m Rich & Co.

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