The history of Château Suduiraut, in Sauternes, dates back centuries. After the total destruction of the property by the Duke d’Epernon in the 1600s, Count Blaise de Suduiraut replanted the vineyard and restored the estate to its former glory. The château is a superb example of 18th century architecture: aristocratic, classical and bright in style, it is surrounded by charming gardens designed by Le Nôtre. The quality of this First Classed Growth is the result of the tenacious attention devoted to its crafting from extremely low yields. Castelnau de Suduiraut is the Château’s second wine and no less care is taken in its production.
A cool, damp summer nearly hampered the 2016/17 vintage; fortunately an unusually warm and dry Indian summer rescued the vintage. The fruit was harvested in good health and resulted in aromatic wines with lovely freshness.
The estate comprises 91 hectares of vines, planted in a gravelly, sandy-clay soil. The gravel captures the sun’s heat, thereby helping the grapes to reach maturity more rapidly, contributing to the wine’s opulence. The thin soil retains very little water, resulting in low yields, which concentrates the sugars and flavours in the grapes and forces the vine to draw its nourishment from deep into the soil. The vines are planted at a high vine density of 7,000 vines per hectare and the vines have an average age of 35 years. The vines are grown according to environmentally responsible practices and the estate is certified High Environmental Value (HEV); cultivation practices include short pruning and tilling of the soil. 90% of the Suduiraut vineyard is planted with Sémillon vines and 10% with Sauvignon Blanc. Sémillon is an aromatic grape and when is infected with botrytis or noble rot it has an ample structure on the palate, giving the wine great mellowness and unctuosity. The Sauvignon Blanc when vinified as a dessert wine adds acidity, bringing freshness and aromatic complexity to the blend. The best botrytised bunches are meticulously selected by hand and are naturally high in concentrated sugar suitable for dessert wine.
The fruit was gently pressed and the grape juice was clarified. Fermentation took place with natural yeast in new French oak barrels at controlled temperatures of 20 to 25°C and lasted for three weeks. The wine was aged on its fine lees in French oak barrels for 15 months, of which 20% was new oak. The wine was racked every three months and then underwent a light filtration prior to bottling.
2016/17 is restrained on the nose, but comes into its own after airing with woody, spicy notes enhancing candied fruit. Fresh and silky on the palate, with generous notes of melon, acacia honey and candied citrus through to a taut finish of brown sugar, candied orange and a hint of minerality.
Semillon 96%, Sauvignon Blanc 4%.