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Sauternes pairing


I’ve got a rather dusty bottle (750ml) of 1971 Sauternes that my father gave me but can’t quite work out the label. Anyway, I’ve got a decent amount of friends coming round and am planning on cracking it open in a few weeks. Does anyone have any favourite pairings for ideas? Would rather have a dessert than cheese.


Might be a bit too early but we always have Sauternes with our Christmas pud! I think it’d be really nice with a fruity bread and butter pudding or something like a black cherry clafoutis.


As a starter with foie gras. Trouble is you never move from the main course. If FG offends, any very rich pate will do nearly as well


I’d go with @wineyg’s suggestion - I would go with duck pate, with nice buttered bread… Mmmm… :yum:


I would have a crack at an Apricot or Peach Tarte Tatin.
Even if it doesn’t match it would still be YUM!!


Sorry, meant to say you never move on to the main course! Need something to clean the palate before the main. Sorbet?


hot pear with roquefort and walnuts - Michel Roux Jr recipe - somewhere between dessert and cheese

Always found Apricot dishes to work well - Apricot tarte tatin could do it !

But …I would have a second bottle ready to go incase the dusty bottle is a little tired


Sauternes are one of the few wines that can stand up to mildly hot south asian cooking. I have tried it. Lighter sweet wines, such as some of the sweeter German rieslings, do not quite do that.

1971 was a good year for many Sauternes so it should be interesting if it has been kept well.


Have it before the dessert. You can let people carry on with it with the dessert (I would agree with pears in some form), but for some of us anything sweet simply kills any sweet wine because the sweetness of the food persists too strongly. If some of your guests are like me, even a couple of bites of sweet dessert will make it impossible for them to appreciate the wine. It’s just a characteristic we have to live with.


1971 is pretty old for a Sauternes. It could be great now if you like older wines, the producer is good, and the wine has been stored well, but I think you should “manage your expectations”.

It will appear to be a lot less sweet than a young Sauternes, so if you really want to serve it with dessert, chose one that is not so sweet so the wine is not overwhelmed. You could also consider drinking it by itself, or perhaps simply with some nuts.

@SPmember made a sensible suggestion. If it is a dessert that does not need to be kept very warm or cold, you could serve the wine at the same time, and leave it to guests to decide whether to drink the wine before or with dessert?


Mmmm… that sounds good. And a good option for an older Sauternes.


Would go for a sweet pud like creme brûlée rather than one with a sharp taste like lemon (eg tarte citron).


Strawberries and cream for me


Looking back over the various suggestions, you can probably summarise them as ‘it all depends’, on the wine and on your and your friends’ tastes. So probably go for something you like (after all, a wine of that age may have problems, and you will still want dessert), and have something neutral available (nothing wrong with plain crackers) in case the wine is sweeter/less sweet than you expect or doesn’t go well with what you choose.


I really like @JamesF suggestion as I find sweet with sweet as such doesn’t really allow you to appreciate the complexity of a sweet wine but I guess its courses for horses.


That’s a great idea, will have to give it a try myself


My Basque father-in-law always used to drink it with foie gras, which is very nice. But if you’re keen on pud, it’s important for it not to be too sweet: avoid chocolate and go for something based on a relatively acid fruit such as gooseberry or black/white/redcurrant tart or fool – good cooking apples are nice too, but do go easy on the sugar.


Absolutely agree with Creme Brulee. A bread & butter pudding would work wonders also.
AND… since it’s so old, just by itself as the sweetness level will not be so apparent.


Will you let us know what you decide on/how it was, @revershed? :smiley:

Not to lower the tone or anything, but I’ve heard (via the lovely Emma in our Tastings team) that Sauternes is an unexpected hit with salt and vinegar crisps!


Not until Friday but with all the comments think I’m going to go with serving before dessert and whip out crème brûlée (the dessert is at least tried and tested so takes out any additional risk in regards to my ability in the kitchen. :wink: