Classified as a First Growth at the Bordeaux Classification of 1855, Château Rieussec produces beautiful, sweet wines from a blend of Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc varietals. With its Sauternes appellation, Rieussec can hold its own against many of its formidable competitors and has developed a loyal following as a result. It has even been considered by many wine experts as the only true competitor to the nearly incomparable d’Yquem, particularly in terms of its consistent quality. This might be attributed to the proximity of the two châteaux to one another, and their shared soil composition.
Like many châteaux in Bordeaux, Rieussec’s early history is due to the efforts of a religious order, in this case, the Carmelite monks. After the French Revolution, the estate changed ownership rather frequently, until finally being sold to the Lafite-Rothschild group in 1984. Its 90+ hectares are used mostly for Sémillon, with a few smaller plots dedicated to Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle. The land and climate, like those of d’Yquem, favor the development of the Botrytis Cinerea mold’s noble rot which concentrates the sweetness of the fruit and advances its ability to deliver a wine of incredible flavor, beauty, balance and longevity. While the best of any harvest is saved for the Grand Vin, the remaining juice is used for the Château’s second wine, Carmes de Rieussec, which is only aged for 18 months or less, and a third, Clos Labere, also intended for younger consumption. Rieussec also produces “R” de Rieussec, a dry white that features its own unique blend of Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc.