TL; DR: Get our favorite Sauternes stunt double - at a fraction of the price - just in time for holiday drinking and gifting! Small enough to fit in a carefully hung stocking, this is the thing for a post-prandial holiday treat... and as it costs less than 1/10 the price of Chateau d'Yquem, why, get 10! (Quantities limited!)
But... what is Monbazillac? The tiny region just east of Sauternes may have been best summed up by the New York Times, who called it "the Dessert Wine That's a Public Secret," and going on to write:
"Like a good Sauternes, a fine Monbazillac (pronounced moh-bah-zee-YAK) can be a deep gold, concentrated wine, but it tends to be somewhat less voluptuous, with a spicier, less floral bouquet. Monbazillac delivers exotic touches of honeyed mango, quince, passion fruit and citrus, often with a distinctive nuttiness in the aftertaste."
"But there's a bigger difference: the price. ''You'll get a terrific bottle of Monbazillac for what you'd pay for the most ordinary Sauternes,'' said Jean-Luc Le Dû, the wine director at Daniel (Daniel Boulud's world-renowned restaurant, with one of the best wine lists in New York.)
The NYT writer went further, saying that when chef Daniel Boulud offered them food pairings with both Sauternes and Monbazillac (fun to be a NYT food critic, one supposes!)... "In general, the Monbazillacs complemented the food more agreeably, even the foie gras."
Christian Roche, toasting your intelligence
One of the greatest Monbazillac producers we know (and the one celebrated in that NYT article), year in and year out? Domaine de l’Ancienne Cure.
Meet Christian Roche: the soft-spoken, 5th generation winemaker who runs this tiny hillside domaine; he's not only one of the most esteemed producers in the region, he's also one of the very few who practices organic farming! We secured a small parcel of his *2010* vintage — a vintage lauded by wine critics, who alternately called it "superb" and/or "legendary" — and decided to offer it at the best price ever in the US!!
Monbazillac is made from the exact same grapes (Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle) as Sauternes, France's best-known late-harvest dessert wine, and is also made with botrytized grapes. Now, we have the illustrious Château d'Yquem ( write us if you're interested!)... but if you'd rather spend $24 than $240? Activate your click-fingers now!
The 2010 Domaine de l'Ancienne Cure
'L'Abbaye' Monbazillac is as elegant as it is expressive; think: dried honey, apricots, crême brulée, tropical marmalade, and toasted almonds. Neither too unctuous nor overly sweet, this is structured, complex, and has vibrant acidity to carry the flavors forward. Eleven years young, this is a stunning treat now... but for those of you smart enough to buy 6, it will also age for another decade, easily!
Fantastic as a dessert when sipped all by itself (and this will last for a week, open, if you can resist finishing the bottle), it's also a pairing dream: cheesecakes, meringues, custards, of course and for sure - but it will astonish you when served with savory cheeses, terrines with caramelized onions, etc. (Even spicy Asian fare, where the sweet tames the heat.)
(N.b.: we don't have much, so please order your total request now!)
2010 Domaine de l'Ancienne Cure
Our price: Only $24 on 1. Buy here!
And only $19 on 6! Buy here!
(Best price in US!)