Engel & Voelkers

My Serving Suggestion for drop-ins this season! Sauternes

What’s old is new…and in-style. Much better made and more readily available.
Sauternes is a famous, sweet wine from the Bordeaux region of France, that is emulated in other wine regions around the globe. But make no mistake, it should not just be sweet, it should have a “just right” acidity, that is imperceptible except that it makes the wine feel light and lively in spite of its richer body. Sauternes is a great partner for treats, desserts, and pates, and like Champagne, it seems festive.
Of course, if you have a favorite “dessert wine”, maybe from near where you live, by all means…serve it!
If you keep the bottle just below cellar temperature…50 degrees or a touch higher, or even at fridge temp, it will keep for days. Guests will appreciate a 2-3 ounce pour, and it will last for a week.
A half bottle of a well-made Sauternes can be found starting about $15-20 (Total Wine, Bev Mo and many local merchants).
Petit Guiraud
One of the best know Sauternes from producers like Suduiraut, Guiraud or Rieussec, will sell for about $49 for a half bottle or $90 for a full bottle. I just picked up a couple of nice “everyday” half-bottles of Petit Guiraud (Guiraud’s 2nd wine) at Costco for only $9.99, and another 750ML bottle of 2009 Guiraud at Total Wine for $79.99.
If money is no object, the pinnacle of Sauternes, Chateau d’Yquem is currently starting at about $400. Expect to pay a lot more for aged bottles with known provenance, and good cellaring.
Great alternatives abound…Late Harvest and “Ice” wines- which are harvested after snowfall has set in and further shriveled and concentrated the grapes. Wines made from Semillon, Reisling, Shiraz, Vidal, Chardonnay, Cab Franc…and many more grapes, can be fabulous if there is enough acidity to balance the sweetness.
 Ice Wine
But what kind of food should you pair with it?
Sauterne makers would say…everything. I have tried that, and they have a point, but for most of us it might be a little much.
Traditionalists would say foie gras or Roquefort, which may not work with your diet or tastes, or could be a favorite, which it is for me. It sure works with Glazed Spare Ribs, Twice Cooked Pork, Sweet and Sour Pork, Chicken or Tofu, or… a Roast Chicken…all of which I will probably enjoy this season. Right now, I am preparing a chicken liver mousse with a Sauternes-Thyme Gelee on top..it’s a fantastic treat for Liver Pate lovers.
For me, Sauternes works with everything sweet that we prepared during the holidays when I was growing up.
I remember my mother baking with us, and our side table being loaded with sugar or butter cookies, rugelach, short bread, mincemeat tarts, custard tarts, fruit tarts, butter tarts, coffee cake, candies and other sweets ready for guests. Sauternes goes beautifully with all of that!
Here in Scottsdale, I order at a little shop called JL Patisserie, that bakes absolutely fantastic Napoleons (Mille-Feuille), crème brulee, financiers, croissants, macarons, fruit tarts and other surprises.
Along with some Walker’s shortbread, I’m ready if you stop by!
Happy Holidays!
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About the Author
John Selman is an Associate Broker, with previous experience as a certified Luxury Agent at Coldwell Banker Global Luxury, and The Agency. John consults with clients, handling the purchase and sales of their homes, dives into the hunt for a great property with the goal of achieving positive equity at close whenever possible, enthusiastically showcases a home for sale to bring out its best features, and truly loves what he gets to do every day. John moved to Engel & Voelkers to take advantage of their global reach in home and select lifestyle offerings, the experience and professionalism of their management and advisors, and E&V’s superlative marketing and support tools. Having grown up around the world, he arrived in the Valley from Canada, 35 years ago, renovated central Phoenix properties during college, and is intimate with the best neighborhoods historically, and those now on the rise. John earned his MBA in marketing from Arizona State University, with an undergraduate focus on biology, finance and computer science, and continued to pursue advanced coursework as an executive. As an e-marketing and sales executive, with stints with IBM and start-ups in San Francisco, Dallas, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Atlanta, New York, La Jolla and LA, his regular relocation home searches provided valuable experiences, both good and bad, and led to his real estate career. John has practiced and taught the Consulting Sales process to the best sales people in business. A former #1 sales executive at IBM, and an instructor of executive education for IBM, he teaches, practices, and practically breathes the Consulting Sales Process. John honed his luxury-specific marketing skills, re-positioning and invigorating his gourmet food and wine shop in downtown Malibu, initially as a side business. As a pioneer in email marketing and blogs, he delivered wine advice and sold rare wine across the country to America’s wealthiest collector's and some of the biggest names in entertainment and business. Running his fine wine boutique, Malibu Village Wines, he consulted with auction houses, and worked with architects, cabinetmakers, contractors, and some of America’s best Realtors designing wine cellars for luxurious estates, and realized that Real Estate was what he wanted to concentrate on in his future. Expanding with a bar and restaurant, he catered to the needs of some of the world's wealthiest business people and celebrities. Having created a shop that was a social hub for the wine community, built a wine clientele around the world, and co-founded the Wine Classic for ChildHelp charity, John decided it was time to move on from technology, food and wine, and focus on real estate- his other lifestyle passion. He enthusiastically enjoys, and irreverently writes about homes, food and wine. He is passionate about all three, loves architecture, grapes, cooking, good renovation, old cars and motorcycles, his family, his Bulldog “Rugby”, and most (but not always all) of his friends. In his rare free time, he coaches paddling sports on Tempe Town Lake, strums a guitar while singing offkey, visits his favorite old ski haunts and complains of aches and pains, avoids anyone carrying a rugby ball or organizing a "tour", travels up and down the coast seeking out great food & wine, looks for water to paddle SUPs or outriggers, and laughs at his dog.

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