If Sigalas Rabaud is off your radar – even you die-hard Sauternes fans – it’s not a total surprise. With only 35 acres under vine, it ranks as the smallest of all the vineyards in Sauternes. Moreover, it has changed ownership so many times, it’s been difficult over the decades to discern the estate’s actual name at any time in history.
The current, hyphenated name reflects the original owners; the Rabaud family who were in charge in the 1600s, and the Sigalas family, who took over in the mid-1800s.
The final formation, which is recognized as Sigalas Rabaud today – land holdings, special hillside plantings – le bijou de Sigalas (“the jewel of Sigalas”) – and the rest, changed hands (with name variations ensuing) in 1903, 1929, and the ’40s.
By the 1970s, Cordier – an established Bordeaux corporation – became interested, and by the early ’90s they owned a substantial stake.
And that’s when things took a major turn for the better. The Wine Advocate’s Sauternes critic, Neal Martin – decades of experience under his belt with the subject – began to report on the goings on Chez Sigalas Rabaud.
With reviews in the mid to upper nineties, and prose to the effect of “Though Sigalas-Rabaud 2010 was extremely promising out-of-barrel, I never expected that it would trump d’Yquem in a blind tasting once in bottle”, suddenly the little estate on the hill became the cult secret of the appellation.
2010 Sigalas Rabaud Sauternes
“Though Sigalas-Rabaud 2010 was extremely promising out-of-barrel, I never expected that it would trump d’Yquem in a blind tasting once in bottle. It has an engaging, pure and lifted bouquet with scents of lemon curd, honey, ripe oranges and quince that are extremely well-defined. The palate is well-defined with a fine line of acidity, crisp mineralite and tension. This is very composed and tightly wound, a Sauternes probably built for the long-term and not giving too much away now. Yet the class is already tangible. This is one of the best wines from the estate in recent years. Drink now-2030+.”
95 points – Wine Advocate (NM)
One worth the effort to secure, costing a fraction of its famous neighbor’s bottlings…