Château de Malle Château de Sainte Hélène Sauternes 2004
A 'second label' wine of the vaunted De Malle, the Sainte Helene offers value from their less-ancient vineyards with similar vinification method of making several passes through the vineyard picking only selected Botrytis-infected grapes. These wines are very labor- and cost-intensive to produce due to the work involved & low yields.
Viscous gold pour. Notable petrol, honey, cantaloupe and intense dried pale fruit notably apricot, dried citrus. Expected powerful, dense and rich flavors. Perhaps oak. Sometimes these have a bit more acidity but this is OK with the emphasis on richness. Overall a good wine but not mind-blowing Sauternes, probably spent <> $35 for this 375ml bottle. Expensive but not really.
These white Bordeaux dessert wines are always great to try, especially with the classic French pairing of goose liver paté (foie gras) and IMLE sometimes you do find a great one in the value range. The best Sauternes can last 100 years, and many of the others can age and improve for decades.
Here's the Queen of the lot, a decent vintage
of Y'Quem in a magnum, of all things. These kinds of prices are typical for top-tier Saunternes but it does not deny how tasty simpler bottlings may be.