Château Gilette, is unique amongst Sauternes producers in that they age their wines for many years, sometimes decades, only in concrete vats before they are bottled.
Current owner and winemaker, Julie Gonet-Médeville, continues this tradition begun by her grandfather, René Médeville, more than 70 years ago. René couldn’t afford the expense of oak barrels during the 1930s, so he chose to age his wines in concrete vats. He discovered the wines matured more evenly than in wood, and developed more complex aromas and flavours than those he had formerly aged in oak. The vat permitted the wines to breathe so slowly that the winery was content to allow the wines to age there for up to 20 years before bottling. In fact, the youngest wine in this collection (1985) is just about to have its 23rd birthday!
“Gilette is one of the finest-made wines in Sauternes despite the fact that Gilette was not classified. The vineyard, situated several miles north of Yquem, is planted on sandy soil with a subsoil of rock and clay. However, what is bizarre and unbelievable in today’s harsh world of commercial realities is that Gilette’s proprietor, Christian Médeville, holds his sweet wines for over 20 years in concrete vats prior to bottling them. For example, he bottled the 1955 in 1984, 29 years after the vintage. The fact that his wines are excellent and have a honeyed maturity has caused some of France’s leading restauranteurs (like Pierre Troisgros) to beat a path to his door to purchase his old vintages of Sauternes.” (Robert Parker)