Over the last two decades, Xavier Planty has established himself as one of the world's leading proponents of the craft of making luscious, complex sweet wines from nobly rotted (botrytised) grapes.
Born in Bordeaux almost 50 years ago, he gained a master of science degree from the University of Bordeaux and the city's Institut d'Oenologie. He began his winemaking career with negociant Castel Vins, based at the Médoc properties of Château Latour Preignac and Château D'Arcins. From here he progressed to become assistant cellar master at Château La Gaffaliáre in Saint-Emilion.
In 1982 he was hired as the new winemaker at Château Guiraud, one of the leading estates in Sauternes. Planty spent his first year in Guiraud's employ working at the legendary Château d'Yquem, learning the secrets of Sauternes vinification but as a Guiraud employee. On returning to Guiraud for the 1983 vintage, Planty set about transforming the work in the cellar. Gradually, the portion of the crop that was barrel fermented was increased until, in 1992, all the wines were produced this way. The wines are now among the very best in the appellation, truly reflecting the potential of the great terroir that Guiraud enjoys. They are typically deliciously sweet, with a fat texture, spicy new oak and complex botrytis character.
Xavier Planty is the President and a founding member of SAPROS, an international association for the protection of natural botrytis wines.