Commune as own AOC area in the French AOC area Sauternes; see there.
The appellation, named after the commune of the same name, with around 1,700 hectares of vines, forms an island in the large Graves area in southern Bordeaux. It consists of the five communes of Bommes, Fargues-de-Langon, Preignac and Sauternes, and with the right to its own appellation Barsac with 600 hectares of it. All Barsac wines may also use the name Sauternes or Sauternes-Barsac, but this does not apply vice versa. Here, mainly noble sweet white wines have been produced from botrytised grapes for centuries. The later US president Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), who was envoy in Paris from 1785 to 1789 and visited many French wine-growing regions during this time, named Sauternes the best white wine in the country after Champagne and Hermitage. His ranking was also used as one of the criteria for the 1855 Sauternes classification (see below).
The highly calcareous soil offers excellent conditions for white wines, the red wines are of less importance. The appellation only applies to noble sweet white wines. Dry white wines may only use the AOC Bordeaux, red wines only the AOC Bordeaux or Bordeaux Supérieur. The appellation regulations for sweet white wines require at least 13% alcohol by volume and proof of the required degree of sweetness through a sensory taste test. The yield limit is 25 hectolitres per...
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