The art of Metamorphosis

Imagining the consumption of Sauternes by positioning it as an accompaniment to a contemporary art of living.

In recent years, consumption of Sauternes has become rarer, limited to end-of-year celebrations, to foie gras once a year and desserts from time to time. And yet… How could it be shown that there is much more hidden behind this word “Sauternes”? How could the image of this wine be changed, to reveal all that its production implies, behind its golden labels?

For Rieussec and Domaines Barons de Rothschild Lafite, it was urgent to act and put the spotlight on this region and the magic that is worked to produce these very great wines. In the light of the ecological transition stimulated, supported and accomplished by Saskia de Rothschild in all the family properties that she directs today, Rieussec had to signify this rebirth through a highly symbolic act of re-enchantment and break some codes to assert its personality, attract curiosity and evoke desire.

The time had come for Rieussec to reinvent itself, so that the vineyard, wine and bottle all share the same commitment to sustainable development, from agriculture that is more respectful of the environment through to the preservation of natural resources provided by our new packaging,” explains Saskia de Rothschild. “Devising an original bottle, one that you want to keep when it’s finished, is part of this same philosophy.

A durable bottle

This little revolution relies on a new durable bottle: the wine leaves behind the classic wine bottle format in favour of non-transparent 95% recycled glass marked with a simple yellow crown, to become a new kind of guest of honour. The bottle also has a replaceable cork closure, designed by Swiss design agency BIG GAME, to encourage those who open it to keep it: because when the cork is replaced, Sauternes can be stored for several weeks in the fridge, making it a versatile aperitif wine with many lives. And after enjoying the wine, it is easy to remove the label and turn the bottle into a water jug or vase.

The 2019 vintage

And inside the bottle? “We have chosen the 2019 vintage to be the first to go into the new bottle,” explains Jean de Roquefeuil, estate director. “The wine we produced that year corresponds well to our new identity, having an assertive aromatic freshness while retaining its classic soul.” It should be noted that few products demand as much resilience to the climate and depend as much on the weather. Because it is only in Sauternes and thanks to the Ciron river that botrytis, or noble rot, forms on the grapes and develops to give the wines their unique richness. “Each vintage is totally different depending on what nature, the climate and the action of noble rot want to give us, and even more so since we are undergoing conversion to a more responsible form of agriculture,” adds Jean de Roquefeuil.

Now, it remains to see these bottles start their new lives at tables everywhere. For its launch, Rieussec has organised various meals: whether at the estate for a country lunch with products from the Sauternes region, at Mokonuts for an intimate vegetarian dinner cooked by chefs Moko and Omar or at the Grand Bol for an Asian culinary celebration cooked by the owner with young chef Pierre Touitou, Rieussec has definitively learnt how to reinvent itself.

Available at the end of November in wine shops and restaurants