The joy of drinking Sauternes is one of the most royal pleasures in the pantheon of great wine experiences. It can compel you to wax Shakespearean, like, “Did ever such sweet and noble rot filleth the cups of this throne of Denmark?” Incredible that such noble wine comes out of a Bordeaux vineyard practice of purposely allowing white Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes to rot. That’s the tricky thing with making great Sauternes [soh-tern]—bad ones can taste like rotgut and may possess a nauseating aroma of mold. The 2011 CHATEAU DOISY DAËNE BARSAC (SAUTERNES) is, however, a great wine from a great vintage. Seamless and complete and eminently drinkable with its notes of peach, orange marmalade, flower nectar and raw honey with a hint of pineapple and salted butterscotch. So balanced that it is never too much of anything. For minions play-acting like royals, pair this wine with decidedly non-elitist desserts such as warm doughnuts, peanut butter brittle or chocolate fudge. Fill up on the joy of living and, unlike Hamlet, set aside the existential question of “To be, or not to be?” With Sauternes in the glass, the answer is obvious: Be. –J.M.
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