The cosmic pleasures of Sauternes

2010 Château Raymond-Lafon, Sauternes, Bordeaux, France

2010 Château Raymond-Lafon, Sauternes, Bordeaux, France £28, The Wine Society, 01438-741177,

My tip this week is a highly sentimental one for me because I can precisely attribute my eternal love of Sauternes to a half bottle of 1980 Raymond-Lafon. I first tasted this elixir back in 1987, and it affected me so much I took to carrying around a half bottle of this wine wherever I went in order to show as many people as possible the joys of sensational Sauternes. Then, as now, the wine was a total and utter screaming bargain considering the elite calibre of this unclassified Château. Raymond Lafon himself was a mayor of Sauternes. He bought this estate in 1868 in spite of the fact that it was not classified in the 1855 Bordeaux Wine Official Classification because the vines were deemed too young.

Strangely out of fashion

This property sits in the centre of a golden triangle formed by Châteaux Suduiraut, Lafaurie-Peyraguey and the awesome d’Yquem. In 1972, when the estate had fallen into dilapidation, Pierre Meslier, régisseur (technical director) of Château d’Yquem, bought the property and his family still runs it to this day. He applied the rigour and skill which he had used at d’Yquem to elevate his own wine to stellar levels. For some unknown reason, Sauternes seems to be perpetually out of fashion. People don’t drink as much sweet wine as they used to, but I can tell you that this “full bottle” price equates to the price I paid for my beloved halves of the 1980 vintage, 30 years ago. You have no choice this week – you simply must buy this wine and taste the cosmic pleasures of Raymond-Lafon.

Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (