Rather splendidly Aline Baly (whose family have been Chateau Coutet since 1977) came in this morning to show four vintages Chateau Coutet and the second vintage of the estates “new” dry wine – Opalie 2011.

Opalie 2011
They are only ever going to make a maximum if 4000 bottles of this wines and in 2010 it was 3000, for this 2011 just 3600. Where this wine differs from many dry wines produced by Sauternes or Barsac estate is that this is a designated dry wine from a particular site. The blend is 50% Semillon and 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 45 % new wood is used for 9 months. The wine is a really good balance between subtle but persistent fruit, good minerality and texture and a nice backbone of acidity. The oak is played perfectly – the wine benefits from it but you can’t taste it. I nice thing to own. 16.5-17/20.

Coutet 1997
Opulent, generous but focused, the nose is towards oranges and marmalade but not over the top, the palate is then a mellow combination of apricots and ginger, it has a lovely balance and I’d say is just right now. A slightly different blend from normal (as seen for 08/09/10) with this being 75% Semillon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc & 5% Muscadelle.

Coutet 2008
A less opulent nose but with great balance, perfect as an aperitif, the fruit is soft white fruit with a medium sweetness, really drinkable. A very small yield in 2008. The blend for this and the next two was the same – 75% Semillon, 23% Sauvignon Blanc & 2% Muscadelle.

Coutet 2009
A very slight whiff of cheese rind about the nose that disappeared very fast, then a beautiful expressive but fresh and clean nose, a more opulent and viscous texture than the 2008, pineapple and toffee but not cloying. I can’t see this wine closing down, I think like most things 2009 it will remain generous. 17.5-18/20.

Coutet 2010
Serious style of wine, considerable density, a little rancio in style, a mighty length and the sort of wine to tuck away, many layers to come in the future. Really very good. 18-19/20.

We discussed how long the bottles can stay open in a fridge (3-10days) and  whether to decant (yes!). I did also ask a little bit about Cuvee Madame an ultra rare, ultra selection only made 13 times since 1943. It spends 3 years in barrel and then 10 years in bottle before release and is made from 100% Semillon pretty much selected on a grape by grape basis. The most recent three releases being 1995, 1997 & 2001.

Bravo Aline!