Vintage Raport 2020
The autumn and winter of 2019-2020 were very wet. Total rainfall reached 519 mm in March, more than half the annual average. It was accompanied by mild temperatures, leading to bud break more than two weeks earlier than usual. This advance persisted, even with significantly cooler weather at the end of the month and a frosty day on 27th March. Flowering, although early, took place in unsettled weather, causing coulure. The impact was very irregular, varying according to the terroir, how early the plot developed, and the age of the vines. Good weather returned in July, with conditions becoming very dry, and above all very hot. The water reserves enabled the vines to withstand the successive heat waves, and a little rain in mid-August brought the ripening of the grapes back on track. The ripening process drew to a close about ten days ahead of schedule under very favourable weather conditions: hot days and cool nights, which preserved the range of aromas.
The harvest began on 16th September and ended on 5th November, with a total of four selective pickings. We harvested mainly passerillés grapes on this first clean-up picking that lasted four days from 16th September. The quantity harvested was very small. A first period of unsettled weather brought 68 mm of rain over 10 days.
At the end of September our hopes were raised with Botrytis Cinerea covering the whole vineyard, but unfortunately a second period of unsettled weather brought significant rainfall.
Before this, we quickly carried out another selective picking in the vineyard's finest terroirs on 29th and 30th September. We resumed the second selective picking only on 12th and 15th October.
On 19th October our decision to wait for a sunnier, more stable period yielded excellent results with an abundant third selective picking, which brought wellbotrytised grapes, of high quality and satisfactory quantity (350 hl). The third selective picking ended on 24th October. Another rainy period brought the harvest to a halt. With 30 mm more rainfall, the sugar content dropped sharply and we took another risk waiting to take full advantage of forecast sunshine. We started the fourth and final picking on 2nd November. Once again, the outcome was successful. We harvested abundant, healthy batches, worthy of our Grand Vin. The pickers meticulously selected only those grapes affected by the right type of rot. Ultimately the yield was 8.5 hectolitres per hectare, the batches were of an extremely high quality reflecting Château Suduiraut 2020 profile.
Vintage Report 2018
The 2018 vintage was characterized by wet weather and mild temperatures. We recorded an average of 90 mm of rain until bud break, which started the first week of April, a week later than in recent years. With high rainfall throughout the winter and spring, cryptogamic pressure was present. Mildew became a concern, particularly following the rainy periods of 14th to 18th May and 4th to 8th June. Foliage was marked by the parasite but fortunately the outbreak was contained. A hot and dry summer helped to reverse the situation. We were spared by the hailstorm of 15th July that hit the western part of the appellation. At the end of the season, the grapes were able to reach a perfect maturity and we were able to harvest plot by plot.
The harvest took place from 10th October to 9th November, with a total of four selective pickings. The very dry weather in September was not conducive to the development of botrytis and we had very little shrivelling in the vineyard. We therefore waited for the Botrytis Cinerea fungus to appear. A rainy period from 6th to 10th October accelerated the spread of botrytis but without much concentration. We were nonetheless able to start the first selective picking on 10th October, two weeks later than usual. This picking gave the lowest yield in 15 years, with 30 hectolitres in four lots.
More rainfall from 15th to 16th October gave rise to renewed hopes and we started a second, more generous, more concentrated picking from 22nd to 26th October. We had to be conscientious in order to obtain the usual quality. It felt like a repetition of 2008, when we had a lengthy wait between each picking for the grapes to become desiccated. After a sunny weekend, we started the third picking on 29th October. But yet again, there was a loss of grapes and we only just managed to achieve the concentration required. We finished on 8th and 9th November with a final picking to round off the harvest. The yield was between 5 and 6 hectolitres per hectare.
Vintage Report 2017
The weather in 2017 was generally warm and dry. Spring was normal, with an early bud break. This earliness was jeopardised by frost on two occasions: on 21st and 27th April. The periphery of our vineyard, about 25-30% in all, was affected.
The meteorological conditions caused discrepancies in vine growth, with almost a month's difference from one plot to another. There was also heavy rainfall in May and early June. Summer was hopefully warm and dry. A bit of rain helped the grapes to ripen, and the vineyard reached maturity one week earlier than expected.
The grape harvest took place from 26th September to 19th October with a total of three selective pickings.
Botrytis developed well in early September thanks to the rain on 3rd and 10th September. However, concentration progressed slowly due to significant humidity. We began the first selective picking on 26th September, lasting for 15 days according to the different plots. The weather subsequently became increasingly clement, and second selective picking started while the first was still taking place. We obtained concentrated must and a generous quantity of 10 hectolitres per hectare, on average. This was the middle of the harvest.
Château Suduiraut has released its opening price for its 2015 wine, adding to the tally of fellow sweet wines already out.
The Sauternes estate has released at €45.6 per bottle ex-négociant, which is 8.6% up on its 2014 release price of €42.The wine has been given good scores, Neal Martin called it “wonderful” and awarded a 95-97-point rating, while Jancis Robinson MW rated it 18, Tim Atkin MW 95 and Jean-Marc Quarin 93.
So its scores are reasonably high and consistent but at that release price its market price of £480 a case makes it far and away the most expensive of its wines dating back to 2005 currently available.The higher rated 2009 for example is under £450 a case and the equally-rated 2014 is a shade under £400 a case.
Martin has been particularly effusive in his praise for the 2015 Sauternes and Suduiraut may not be asking too much for its 2015 (underpriced and undervalued as the wines are). Nonetheless, aside from its own back vintages there are other similarly scored Sauternes already released this campaign that cost less.
2014 Harvest Report – Château Suduiraut
After the spectacular film of the Pichon Baron harvest, I thought the best way to give you some idea of how things went in the other properties would be to talk to the individual directors of each property and ask them to give us their view on how things went in 2014.
Here is Pierre Montégut of Château Suduiraut, Sauternes:
“The excellent arrière saison of this vintage enabled us to harvest à la carte. We were able to wait for the skins to become finer and for the pips to ripen gently.
We began the Merlots on 23 September for the parcels of younger vines. The older vine Merlots were harvested between the 28th and the 30th September. Finally the Cabernets Franc and Sauvignon were harvested on the 6th and 8th October.
The aromatic profile of the Merlots is about freshness for the younger parcels, and ripe fruit for the older vines. We have a lovely concentration of tannins and the post fermentation maceration gave a lot of depth to the wines. The Cabernets are seductive and very well structured. Their maceration finished just recently.
This is a very lovely vintage, with beautiful equilibrium in the wine. Young wood will be integrated at around 50 to 60% to preserve the fruit. Yields were pretty low at 30 hectolitres per hectare, but the quality is there!”
“At Suduiraut the harvest ended on 30th October, with a fourth trie. We began early on the 12th September with a trie designed to clear up the vineyard, which took a long time but was very unproductive, (less than 1 hl/ha). We had a mixture of Botrytis and passerillage, a situation which continued during the second trie at the beginning of October. The proportion of Botrytis increased as we picked.
Rain and humidity then favoured the development of a new generation of Botrytis, but the concentration happened slowly, and we harvested very selectively, parcel by parcel, often picking grape by grape and only one or two days per week. This third trie was drawn out, lasting from 15th October to 24th October.
Magnificent hot and sunny weather after the 22nd finally resulted in some profound concentration, and we finished the final trie between the 27th and 30th October.
In terms of quality, we are very happy with the wines, with a great diversity of style and richness between the different tries, but the principal characteristic of the 2014 will be its freshness with very low PHs, of the kind we have not seen for over ten years. So, a great year in terms of quality, but unfortunately the bad news is the quantity, which is very low: we finished with a total harvest of between 6 and 7 hectoliters per hectare.
It is worth noting that the dry white, the ‘S de Suduiraut’, will also be one of the best we have made since 2004.”