Sauternes is special because it relies upon 'noble rot' ' a fungus that causes grapes to shrivel and their flavour, sugar and acidity to intensify. From an outstanding estate, Les Charmes has a superb balance of luscious rich fruit and brisk acidity.
Many wines are called the 'Wine of Kings' but that is literally true of Château Bastor Lamontagne. The estate once belonged to Louis XV, until he sold it to Vincent de la Montaigne, adviser to the parliament of Bordeaux, in 1711. But it was not until the Larrieu family (owners of Haut-Brion at the time) took over the property in 1839 that the estate's reputation for superb sweet wines was established. Today the château is known as a source of excellent value. Its Sauternes are carefully fermented in a combination of steel tank and barrel, before being matured for 15 months in oak (25% new). The result is a sweet wine of the highest calibre ' opulent, sweet, complex yet perfectly balanced. Savour with blue cheese or a creamy fruit tart.