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Grower: Domaine Rousset-Peyraguey
Region: Sauternes, France
Grape Varieties: Semillon, Muscadelle, Sauvignon
Alain Déjean spent years as an executive on the board of supermarket chain Leclerc before returning to his roots, at the behest of his retiring parents. Their ten hectares of vines are planted mainly on the famed blue clay plateau of Sauternes, and from those vineyards you'd see the shining lights of the esteemed Chateau D'Yquem property, located just next door to the Déjeans. Community seems to be a driving force behind Rousset-Peyraguey; for nearly 20 years Alain has worked alongside Valérie Perfandie after she spent a harvest at the domain and seemingly never left. Alain also founded Dynamis, an collective of vignerons dedicated to sharing knowledge and insight into winemaking. A major part of this project has been the importing of elemental sulfur extracted from volcanoes and the (minimal) use thereof in place of industrial sulfur: which is pulled from fossil fuels, requires higher quantities for effectiveness, and is theoretically far less digestible by humans. In the cellar Valérie and Alain allow for plenty of oxidation amid the ubiquitous flor, bringing stability and a welcome touch of VA. After numerous court appearances to do with the often-ridiculous bureaucracy of the Sauternes AOC, Alain has decided to finally withdraw from the appellation and continue to pioneer low-intervention methods of creating an ultimately, incredible wines. Cuvée Aïther feels a bit criminal given the quality. From miniscule yields off the blue clay plateau and sandy topsoiled plot facing Chateau d'Yquem, it's aged for two and a half years in 100 year old acacia barrels, benefitting from the permeating flor and old wood character of the barrels. Honey, spice, sandalwood - an over-delivering wine if ever we've seen one.