Château Rieussec

1st cru classé

Château Rieussec has been a leading wine in Sauternes for several generations. Ranked as a Premier Grand Cru in 1855, it is made with a subtle blend of Sémillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle.

Château Rieussec 1st cru classé


  • Vintage 2019

    • Sémillon 89%, Sauvignon blanc 9%, Muscadelle 2%

    The vintage began well with a mild, dry winter. The fine weather continued into early spring, resulting in an early start to the growth cycle. Day and night-time temperatures then cooled down and, between March and May, there were six occasions when we held our breath fearing a frost. During this period, the colder and above all drier than usual weather slowed down the vines’ growth. After a relatively cold, rainy start, June suddenly changed, bringing an early summer heat wave the likes of which had not been seen since 2003. Fortunately, it was short-lived and the vines, which were catching up in terms of growth, seemed better equipped than in previous years to cope with the heat. Some miraculous rain arrived on 26 July, at just the right moment to trigger véraison (colour change).
    This year, as in 2017, the rain in September was very helpful for the botrytis. But the harvests turned out to be more complex, with sour rot threatening the purity of the grapes. We had to sort through the fruit like gold diggers to remove the sour grapes, only keeping the nicely botrytized ones. A window of opportunity arrived on 8 October to pick perfectly balanced grapes with 20% potential alcohol for the Grand Vin, including some superb Muscadelle!

    Delicate golden colour with soft green glints. Intense nose with tremendous aromatic richness. Initial notes of citrus zest are followed by lemon tart, and then toasted notes reminiscent of freshly baked brioche. The palate offers mandarin zest and candied orange, enlivened by a touch of star anise which underscores the wine’s aromatic freshness. Dense and rich, the palate has good length with a pleasant hint of bitterness on the finish.

  • Vintage 2018

    • Sémillon 75%,
    • Sauvignon 25%

    The winter of 2018 was the coldest we have had since 2010, mainly due to particularly severe weather in February.
    It was very rainy, with endless showers that continued throughout the spring. To find such wet conditions at the beginning of the season, you would have to go back to 2001. As a result, there was an unusually high threat of mildew that persisted from May into July. Such violent outbreaks of mildew had not been seen within living memory. Fortunately, the situation significantly improved over the summer, thanks to dry, hot weather which enabled us to restore the vineyard’s health and produce excellent quality grapes.


    Beautiful bright golden colour.
    This Rieussec has a remarkable aromatic freshness, linked to the unusually high proportion of Sauvignon in the blend (25%).
    Aromas of citrus fruit, honey and candied apricots are accompanied by well-integrated oaky notes. On the palate, the attack is direct. This is a robust wine characterized predominantly by citrus flavours with a slight bitterness that adds a certain subtlety to the overall impression. The finish is long with a hint of spice.
    Since after 18 months of barrel-ageing this wine was already very balanced and rounded, we decided to shorten its ageing period by 10 months to preserve the full freshness of the Sauvignon. So, this is an unusual Rieussec, whose evolution we look forward to following closely.

  • Vintage 2017

    • Sémillon 83%, Sauvignon 17%

    By the end of August, we had been able to see the positive effect of this early and cool year in Sauternes. The rains in mid-September were ideal, falling on a perfectly ripe and healthy crop, thus allowing the Botrytis to take good hold. With the return of dry and cool weather, everything came together perfectly; the successive passes and the concentrations, punctuated by harvesting at historic speed, revealing a vintage with exceptional aromatic intensity.


    Beautiful pale gold colour.
    The initial nose offers remarkable depth. Aeration reveals the complexity of truly great years. All the characteristics are present: freshness, precision, and purity.
    On the palate, the wine presents an impressive combination of power and finesse. The finish is tremendously long and harmonious. As is often the case in exceptional vintages, the sweetness is masked by the wine’s balance. A magnificent Rieussec that is already sublime and will still be so in ten and many more years’ time.

  • Vintage 2016

    • Sémillon 83%, Sauvignon 12%, Muscadelle 5%

    After very varied weather in 2015, 2016 proved to be a more uniform vintage throughout the Gironde region. While the vintage offered both quantity and quality, it was also not without its fair share of surprises.
    The beginning of the winter was very mild and wet, suggesting that bud break would be early. However, it was subsequently delayed by cold weather in February and March.
    The cold spring, with a lot of rain in Pauillac and Pomerol in June, threatened to disrupt flowering, but fortunately this went well on both the left and right banks.
    The summer was characterized by extreme dryness. The vines had to endure significant water stress for two months until the end of véraison (when the grapes change colour). This hot period lasted longer than in 2015, and seemed likely to affect the ripening stage, when to our relief some rain finally arrived on 13 September. The growth cycle could therefore be completed without hindrance.
    The weather remained hot and dry until the end of the red grape harvests, enabling them to reach perfect ripeness. In Sauternes, the botrytis did not develop until very late; the best rounds of selective picking were between 20 and 28 October.
    The vinifications took place in ideal conditions, and the great potential of a vintage that had been something of a dark horse was finally revealed.


    Bright, golden yellow colour.
    The nose is fresh and powerful with citrus notes, particularly tangerine skin. These are complemented by toasted aromas from the perfectly integrated oak.
    On the palate, the attack is very fresh and balanced, characterized by mellowness and finesse. The wine then reveals its power, with a sensation of fullness and tremendous density. The very long, lingering finish offers aromas of dried apricots, caramel and bitter orange.

  • Vintage 2015

    • 86% Sémillon, 14% Sauvignon

    The weather was generally warm with very varied rainfall. The beginning of winter was mild and dry. It was not until the end of January that beneficial colder temperatures arrived, accompanied by rain.
    Bud break began in early April as usual, and the vines then grew quickly, as they had ample reserves of water and the weather was mild. The flowering in June was early and uniform, which is always a promising sign. Temperatures frequently exceeded 35°C during the summer months. Water stress was high but rain in August brought the freshness required for the grapes to change colour and then to ripen perfectly.
    Conditions were ideal during the harvests, enabling us to obtain optimal ripeness for each terroir.


    Golden yellow colour with superb brightness, beginning to tend towards amber.
    Rich and full-bodied, the nose has already opened up and is very expressive, with aromas of yellow fruit, peaches, cooked pears and candied apricot. The wood is well-integrated. Pleasant notes of vanilla have a harmonizing effect.
    After a subtle, delicate attack the wine reveals itself more intensely on the mid-palate. It is fresh and develops excellent aromatic intensity, gradually gaining in power. The finish is very long, revealing remarkable depth and purity, with notes of apricots and prunes.

  • Vintage 2014

    • Sémillon 93%
    • Sauvignon 5%
    • Muscadelle 2%

    After a rather mild winter, bud break was early; it was followed by a uniform flowering in the first week of June, helped by the relatively high temperatures.

    As always, the impact of the weather on the vineyard was the primary concern, and the teams worked throughout the year to ensure that the grapes reached maturity in perfect health. The onset of ripening occurred over two periods, first in late July and then again after 15 August, creating differences in the ripeness of the bunches on the same vine.

    TASTING NOTES (at bottling)

    Beautiful sparkling yellow colour, already deepening, but still with a few green glints of youth.
    The nose is delicate, with scents of wild flowers. There are also notes of candied citrus fruit and melon. The wood is well-integrated.
    On the palate, the attack is subtle and the wine then develops substantial volume. It reveals a pleasant acidity, with a good balance between freshness and richness. Citrus fruit is again present, with notes of orange. The long, fresh finish develops classic notes of candied apricots. While having a good potential to improve with age, this is also a wine that can be enjoyed relatively young.

  • Vintage 2013

    • 96% Sémillon
    • 4% Sauvignon

    The very wet, cold winter resulted in work in the vineyard being considerably delayed; bud break was late, and flowering was three weeks later than the average for the last 50 years; the changeable weather resulted in some flower abortion and uneven grape size, and therefore in lower potential yields than usual.

    Then at the end of June, the weather suddenly changed, and it was as if we were in the middle of the summer, with no transition, although there were a lot of localized storms.

    The harvest period put our technicians in a cold sweat: rain, sun, and a long, slow ripening, which became difficult to manage with an “explosive” outbreak of botrytis in late September! Fortunately, the sorting teams were very efficient despite the difficult harvest conditions.

    The selective picking continued to the end of October with excellent botrytisation.


    Beautiful, still youthful colour. Lovely nose of acacia flowers develops against a slightly woody background.
    The palate offers the volume and richness characteristic of a sweet wine, continuing into a well-balanced finish of candied and fresh fruit.
    The overall impression remains fairly ethereal and floral, making it a perfect accompaniment to an exotic fruit sorbet, or a grilled lobster, or simply a delicious aperitif to enjoy among friends.

  • Vintage 2011

    • 95% Sémillon
    • 2% Sauvignon
    • 3% Muscadelle

    The beginning of the vines’ cycle was complex to manage, being characterized by relatively low rainfall from January to March and very little rain in April. The morning dew combined with low humidity and high temperatures created favourable conditions for the development of powdery mildew (a cryptogamic disease), requiring extreme vigilance in the vineyard.
    There was sporadic rain in August and September, this humidity was conducive to the growth of botrytis, and was followed by a beautiful Indian summer which enabled us to wait for optimal ripeness and to spread the harvests over an extended period (with 7 selective pickings) until 2 November.

    Tasting notes (at bottling):

    Beautiful, already intense, golden colour. The nose presents a delicate woodiness followed by notes of honeysuckle and acacia flowers.
    The palate rapidly becomes full-bodied and generous, mingling notes of residual sugar and freshness. The fruit is discreet but the balance is perfect. The finish is long and lingering, accompanied by a hint of bitterness, that helps to enliven the flavours.

  • Vintage 2010

    • 92% Sémillon
    • 5% Sauvignon
    • 3% Muscadelle

    Due to fairly high rainfall, the first part of the vineyard cycle, up to mid-June, was complex to manage; the rain disrupted the flowering period and resulted in small amount of flower abortion and uneven grape size. July, August and September were then very dry (with an average of 20 mm of rain) with excellent daytime temperatures and cool nights, which is ideal for a slow but complete ripening of the grapes. However, the dry weather resulted in smaller grapes, and the volume of the harvest was reduced.

    Tasting notes (at bottling)

    Bottling began at the end of March 2013.
    Strong colour. Very floral, vivid nose, light, well-integrated woodiness. The palate is fresh, elegant and complex with a lively, slightly spicy finish, and some notes of exotic fruit. Excellent length.

  • Vintage 2009

    • 84% Sémillon
    • 12% Sauvignon Blanc
    • 4% Muscadelle

    The start of the growing season was difficult to manage. Our technical team had to show great vigilance in order to protect the vines. Good weather finally arrived in June, followed by a drought interspersed with some light rainy spells in July, August and September. Relatively high daytime temperatures and cool nights allowed a long, slow ripening.

    Tasting notes (at bottling)

    A long period of ageing in oak barrels was needed to round off this very powerful wine. Citrus and fresh fruit aromas combine with candied apricot and green almonds on the nose.
    Great length on the palate matched with lively, fresh fruit, and a strong impression of honey and acacia blossom.

  • Vintage 2008

    • 86% Sémillon
    • 12% Sauvignon
    • 2% Muscadelle

    During the winter, the frosts were very beneficial and restful for the vines. However, these were followed by some spring frosts that were harmful for the young buds and unfavourably affected yields. The growth cycle was quite difficult because of a constant alternation between sun and rain. We had to wait until the beginning of September for stable weather conditions.

    Tasting notes (at bottling)

    Rich, smooth and liqueur-like wine which finishes on light, fruity notes. The aromas are still quiet reserved, with subtle woody notes.

  • Vintage 2007

    • 87% Sémillon
    • 8.5% Sauvignon
    • 4.5% Muscadelle

    A cold, rainy winter, early budburst and very mild spring temperatures stimulated the vines’ growth. This was followed by a moderately hot summer that continued until August without excessive temperatures. Fine weather stabilized in early September, ensuring that the grapes were able to ripen correctly.

    tasting notes (at bottling)

    Very bright, golden colour. Very candied nose with delicious notes of figs and apricots. Rich, full-bodied palate with intense notes of candied fruit and excellent length.


  • Vintage 2006

    • 94% Sémillon
    • 3% Sauvignon
    • 3% Muscadelle

    The autumn/winter period of 2005-2006 was exceptionally dry, which was then compensated for by heavy rain during March. There was fine weather and warm temperatures from April to July; August was cooler but the sun returned at the beginning of September to complete the ripening process.

    tasting notes (at bottling)

    Beautiful pale golden colour with hints of orange. 
    A fairly dense nose with a delightful combination of flowers (honeysuckle and acacia) and candied fruit. 
    Starts subtly in the mouth and then intensifies with notes of honey and a long fruity finish with good freshness.


  • Vintage 2005

    • 90% Sémillon
    • 8% Sauvignon
    • 2% Muscadelle

    2005 was marked by drought. Only 127 mm of rain fell during the winter, and  after an April with slightly more rain (129 mm), the dry weather began again at the end of May. The summer was very hot in June and July, then cooler in August and September, which allowed slow ripening and good balance between body and freshness.

    tasting notes (at bottling)

    Beautiful intense golden colour. Pleasantly fresh bouquet, with jammy notes and candied fruit (apricots, figs). Round and smooth on the palate, with candied notes and a long finish.


  • Vintage 2004

    • 89% Sémillon
    • 9.5% Sauvignon
    • 1.5% Muscadelle

    2004 was a stormy year up until July with three heavy hail storms including a very violent one on 21 July. The annual rainfall was within the norm for the Bordeaux region and June and September were rather cool.


    tasting notes (at bottling)

    Intense, golden yellow colour. Discreet on the nose, but when aerated, the aromas are released. Fresh pear and pineapple. The same aromas are clearly present on the palate. Lively, fresh attack and a long finish.


  • Vintage 2003

    • 91% Sémillon
    • 6% Sauvignon
    • 3% Muscadelle

    The year was marked by low rainfall and a heat wave in the first two weeks of August, with temperatures above 40°C. This made for an exceptionally early vintage.

    tasting notes (at bottling)

    A powerful, rich, concentrated vintage. The nose is intensely fruity with lots of spice; the palate combines elegance and richness. A good sugar/spice balance suggests that is suited to long ageing. Before bottling, it retains its exceptional power with notes of vanilla and an amazingly long finish.


  • Vintage 2002

    • 85% Sémillon
    • 8% Sauvignon
    • 7% Muscadelle

    At the beginning of the year the weather conditions were average but improved towards the ripening period. Fortunately, the colder than usual July and August were followed by a superb September with favourable conditions for the development of botrytis: dry, hot and sunny in the day, cool in the evening. The first grapes affected by noble rot were picked on 12 September, and the first selective harvests went on until 2 October under perfect conditions. The selective picking started again on 15 October. The beautiful weather was back, resulting in an outbreak of botrytis which produced rich, concentrated, fruity juice for the Sauvignon and Muscadelle. The last grapes were picked on 5 November.

    tasting notes (at bottling)

    The nose offers a lot of freshness with citrus notes dominated by grapefruit. In the mouth, the wine maintains a very fresh style. Its moderate richness in sugar (compared to 1999, 2000 and 2001) makes this a lighter vintage full of finesse and elegance. The combination of the dried grapes from the first selective harvest and the botrytis at the end of the harvests gave the result we had hoped for. This was to characterise this very fine vintage.


  • Vintage 2001

    • 96.5% Sémillon
    • 3.5% Sauvignon Blanc

    Nothing in the year’s weather suggested such great results. The harvests began in mid-September with a preliminary sorting. And then the perfect scenario played out: light rains came on the weekend of the 22-23 September, and botrytis was absorbed by the grapes, causing rapid and uniform concentration, enhanced by a warm and windy Indian summer. The vineyard went from a golden yellow to botrytis violet in just three days. Under the action of the eastern wind, the botrytis wrinkled and contracted the grapes, concentrating the juices. Harvesting was quick and focused, with a single picking for certain plots, an unprecedented phenomenon for Rieussec. 

    tasting notes (at bottling)

    In the early tastings, the nose is powerful and dominated by apricot and candied melon notes. In the mouth the attack is delicate and full of finesse. It then develops in volume and an amazing sensation arises in the mouth. The balance between acidity and residual sugar is so perfect that the sugar totally disappears. This is very rare and only occurs in exceptional Sauternes.

  • Vintage 2000

    • 65% Sémillon
    • 24% Sauvignon Blanc
    • 11% Muscadelle

    A tiny but high quality yield for this vintage. The fine early harvest, with well-developed botrytis on ripe grapes, was unfortunately followed by rain and so the later harvest could not produce high quality wines. In the end, only the first rounds of selective picking were kept, which made this vintage the lowest volume since 1993 (when there was no Grand Vin due to insufficient quantity). 

    tasting notes (at bottling)

    Deep, golden colour. The complex, balanced bouquet has fine candied aromas. This delicious wine has the same concentrated, balanced expression on the palate.


  • Vintage 1999

    • 95% Sémillon
    • 4% Sauvignon Blanc
    • 1% Muscadelle

    An early year that required us to maintain a brisk pace during the growing season. Risks of disease were present due to the alternation of great heat and humid conditions. Harvests of the first sweet grapes began on 31 August, with excellent concentration. Selective picking began again on 4 October and lasted until 15 October. Concentration was superb, and we had to harvest the grapes quickly. 

    tasting notes (at bottling)

    The result is a vintage with a russet-tinged golden colour, a complex bouquet and a powerful , very concentrated, magnificent liquorice palate.

  • Vintage 1998

    • 94% Sémillon
    • 3.5% Sauvignon Blanc
    • 2.5% Muscadelle

    The year was very classical, in terms of weather, with a rainy and rather mild winter and a dry and extremely hot summer. The warm weather in August enhanced the richness of the grapes, which had thick, robust skins. Botrytization led us to begin harvesting on 22 September, with excellent concentration for the first selective pickings. 

    tasting notes (at bottling)

    The vintage has a deep straw-yellow colour, and a complex, aromatic bouquet, with candied fruit and honey aromas. It has a full-bodied, balanced palate with a very elegant finish.


  • Vintage 1997

    • 95% Sémillon
    • 4% Muscadelle
    • <1% Sauvignon

    Once again, this vintage is very different from the classic pattern. Tropical weather in the second half of August caused the rapid development of noble rot, and we began harvesting on 27 August, which was so early as to be almost unheard of  in Sauternes. Selective picking continued until 3 November, virtually without a drop of rain. The harvests were long and difficult, because the vines had to be carefully cleaned.

    tasting notes (at bottling)

    The result is a very fine, silky vintage with good acidity, superb concentration and a diverse bouquet. It is a powerful wine with a structure that promises a very long life.


  • Vintage 1996

    • 93% Sémillon
    • 7% Sauvignon

    The lead up to the harvests was perfect in Sauternes, with a very dry early September, bordering on drought. Alternating with foggy mornings, this led to the development of excellent botrytis. The musts were very rich, clean and perfectly healthy. 

    tasting notes (at bottling)

    Well structured, this is a vintage that may be aged for a very long time, with excellent purity of fruit. It has an open, expressive bouquet. The palate is elegant, full-bodied and balanced with a smooth, well-coated finish.