What would fois gras be without its Sauternes? Would a pairing of Roquefort cheese and Saunternes be nearly as pleasurable without that sweet and salty combination? Personally, I cringe to even consider these unfortunate possibilities. But it seems to be a fast approaching reality.
Saunternes, the region in the Graves section of Bordeaux, is famous for its luscious sweet nectar made from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes affected by noble rot. Noble Rot is a fungus that attacks the grapes causing them to shrivel, inducing a chemical reaction within the grapes that ultimately produces a very complex and sublime wine. Although, rotten grapes may sounds off-putting, these wrinkled grapes producing the most mouthwatering and sublime sweet Saunternes.
However, in recent years with very bad weather, a top châteaux in Sauternes may be forced to lower its standards and disappoint sweet wine lovers everywhere, making us weap while we poke despondently at our lonely fois gras. Either due to a very dry growing season in which noble rot did not develop, or because bad weather destroyed the grapes before they were harvested. In these years the grapes harvested go into making dry wine which can only be sold at a much cheaper price under the general Bordeaux AC appellation.
So quick, rush to your nearest fine wine shop or French wine importer, and enjoy a bottle of traditionally sweet and superb Sauternes!