1947 Château Gilette Doux


Château Gilette, located in the village of Preignac, is an unorthodox Sauternes estate that has furrowed its path for decades, eschewing the use of oak barrels to undertake extended élevages in concrete vats that can last up to 20 years. I’ve been lucky to experience a couple of extensive verticals over my career and composed a detailed standalone piece in my Wine-Journal days. My last visit was ten years ago, so I’m overdue a return.

Last year, I was fortunate to drink a bottle of the 1947 Doux that reignited my adoration for the estate. This vintage precedes the introduction of their Crème de Tête in 1962, which continues to be used today. Of course, 1947 is a fabled growing season for Sauternes, as my recent encounter with Yquem testified, although this Gilette is cut from a different cloth. Burnished amber in hue, perhaps it doesn’t sport the clarity of the best Sauternes from this era. The bouquet is fully mature as expected, a little musty at first, yet it clarifies with aeration to reveal dried honey, mandarin, brown autumn leaves and adhesive scents that one often finds in sweet wines of this antiquity. The palate is balanced and does not exude the sophistication of Yquem this year, yet there is plenty of depth. It’s quite Aszú-like in style with a drier finish than expected. Indeed, it is a Sauternes that continues to give pleasure, but I would drink any bottles in the near future. 91/Drink 2024-2030.

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