Sauternes is considered to be the source of the world's best sweet wines. Château d'Arche is one of the oldest châteaux in the Sauternes wine region and achieved Grand Cru Classé status in the 1855 classification which has seen very few changes since. Like most Sauternes this is produced from Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc; Sémillon brings body and tropical fruit whilst the Sauvignon Blanc adds acidity and citrus flavours. To cut a very long story short Sémillon is susceptible to 'botrytis cinerea', a fungal infection also known as noble rot, which in the right conditions makes the grapes shrivel on the vine. This leads to very concentrated and sweet juices. One vine might produce just one bottle of this wine.
Chateau d'Arche Grand Cru Classé Sauternes does not disappoint - complex flavours of honeycomb, mango, pear, apple, apple pie with hints of candied peel and ginger & floral notes. It has a great balance between the mouth-watering acidity and the sweetness which means that the wine is rich but no cloyingly rich. It's unctuous and the perfect partner to most desserts, foie gras and blue cheese in particular.
This wine complements most desserts & puddings and some blue cheeses like Roquefort and Stilton. Also the classic partner for foie gras.
"The nose shows floral and white fruit flavours of pear and apple. When swirled, notes of candied orange, apricot jam and a subtle smokiness appear. On the palate, the wine is fresh, soft and mineral. This minerality brings tension and finesse, embellished by pure candied notes. It has a long finish."
91 - 93 points RobertParker.com May 2011
"The Chateau d’Arche has an attractive nose with subtle notes of lemon curd, almond and pear, struck through with impressive delineation and lift. The palate is medium-bodied with good weight and tension, fine focus and minerality, leading to a fresh vibrant, quite floral finish with purity and a decent (although not great) level of botrytis. This is an accomplished Sauternes from an estate that has raised its game in recent vintages."
16.5 points JancisRobinson.com Apr 2011
"Greenish pale gold. Not much nose but obviously quite a bit of body. Dense and very rich and sweet. Quite charming. With real texture. Pastry cream. Long and just a little astringent on the finish. Medium persistence."
Bear in mind these reviews were written several years ago when the wine was still young. It has developed in bottle since then.