It is a French expression which formerly designated, in the Sauternes region, the richest wines obtained by the first selection, especially qualitative, of the harvest. This scanty first sort was composed almost exclusively of “noble rot” affected grains (Botrytis Cinirea), which reached an exceptionally high sugar content of up to 500 g/litre. The following sorts, with a better yield in quantity, were made up of a mixture of more or less rotten grains (the last sort was called “queue”= “tail”, comprising very few grapes affected by noble rot). Currently, all the Grands Crus of Sauternes blend and unify the portion of their harvest that they deem worthy of bearing their name, the rest not being sold under the name of the harvesting château.

This expression has therefore lost most of its importance today given that the producers of grands crus no longer sell wine made solely from their first sort. They prefer to keep only the best beans from each successive selection.


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