By Lisa Rowlands

Less well-known and considerably less prestigious than its famous neighbours Sauternes and Barsac, Cérons’ one-hundred-and-twenty hectares of vineyard nonetheless produce a number of fragrant, enticing wines from the Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle varieties.

Whilst it’s proximity to two world famous appellations might suggest that it experiences the same benefits of climate and terroir, this is not necessarily the case. On account of Cérons flatter landscape, denser clay-rich soils and relative distance from the river source, the appellation does not receive the same alternation of moist and dry air that allows the Botrytis Cinerea fungus to develop; hence, its own offerings cannot compete with the sweetness and concentration of its neighbours’ wines.

Having said that, Cérons’ vignerons are committed to producing fine wines in their own right. Grapes are hand-harvested at optimal ripeness, wines are produced in small batches using traditional techniques and are generally matured in barrels for more than twelve months. Appellation laws also dictate that they must contain a minimum alcohol level of 12.5% by volume. Lighter and more delicate than those of exclusive Barsac / Sauternes, Cérons’ dessert wines are fruity, rich in colour and surprisingly complex.