Sauternes maker aims to break 'dessert wine' mould

Mon Jul 20, 2009 6:27am EDT
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By Marcel Michelson

PARIS (Reuters Life!) - For many people, the sweet white Sauternes wine is served at the start of a dinner with 'foie gras' goose liver or at the end of the meal with dessert.

But for Berenice Lurton, owner of Chateau Climens and scion of a well-known Bordeaux wine-making dynasty, that has to end.

"Our aim is to liberate these wines of all these restrictive labels which have been stuck on them for decades," she said.

"When I arrived at Climens almost 15 years ago, I realized that almost nobody (included me) knew anything about matching Sauternes with food. So I worked with a chef from Bordeaux, Michel Gautier, we have tried more and more experiences, and have realized there were almost no limits!"

Oriental influence, spices, audacious associations are now omnipresent in Grande Cuisine as well as in home cooking.

She said that along with seafood such as lobster, all white meats and lamb, Sauternes wines match with all kinds of vegetables, herbs and spices such as ginger and saffron.

"The complexity of both the cuisine and the wine are enhanced in harmony. They are also wonderful with cheeses and light desserts with seasonal or dry fruits," Lurton said.

Sauternes wine making has a history going back to the 17th century when English and Dutch traders dominated the local wine business. The Dutch started planting grapes for white wines in the Bordeaux area and produced sweet wines. They selected the Sauternes area because it was a good place for whites.   Continued...