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The 2002 Suduiraut has been overlooked. Cropped at 15.2hl/ha, raised in 35% new oak and 35% one year old, this vintage saw a more severe approach to selection, with just 52% deemed suitable for the Grand Vin. Montégut appreciates the balance of the 2002 and feels that there were fewer rôti notes. I find it still commendable, but perhaps time is beginning to tell and it was never destined for long-term ageing like the 2001. Two thousand and three witnessed the infamous summer heat that begat decadent Sauternes with high sugar levels.
Classed as a Premier Cru in 1855, it is made from grapes selected from the finest terroirs of the property. This wine is hand crafted at every stage of its elaboration and reveals remarkable finesse and complexity and a golden colour reminiscent of the sun that made it possible. With age the bright gold evolves to a dark amber colour.
With an extensive life-span, it powerfully and harmoniously combines fruit and floral aromas with roasted and candied notes.
Its superlative elegance comes from a match of total opposites: a voluptuous texture, mineral freshness and the heat of spices. Château Suduiraut is designed for all those who enjoy sensory and emotional experiences that are both rich and full of surprises and leave a lasting memory.
The estate as it now stands has its roots in the early 1600s, when Count Blaise de Suduiraut, grandson of the estate’s founder Leonard de Suduiraut, commissioned the construction of the fabulous castle and gardens. The count turned to the designer of the park of the Palace of Versailles, the landscape architect of the Sun King, André Le Nôtre, requesting a design for a stunning château setting. Le Nôtre turned Suduiraut’s estate into the most beautiful in Sauternes.
The count passed the estate on to his daughter, and she to her cousin Joseph du Roy. The du Roys were at the helm for three generations, after which the heirless Louis-Guillaume du Roy left the estate in his will to its steward, Nicolas Guillot. Guillot carried out major developments at the estate. In 1831 he significantly expanded the lands by buying up the neighbouring Castelnau. Led by Guillot and his descendants, Château Suduiraut came into great esteem. In the 1855 Bordeaux classification, it was named as one of the premier crus of Sauternes and Barsac.
In 1875 the estate ended up in the hands of Emile and Lucie Petit de Forest, who further increased the reputation of its wines, receiving great acclaim in several competitions and exhibitions. Before his death in 1899, engineer Emile Petit de Forest managed to revive the plots ravaged by phylloxera through extensive replanting and his widow was able to continue the successful production of Suduiraut wines until her own death in 1929. That event was the start of Château Suduiraut’s decline.
The couple’s daughter, Isabelle Petit de Forest, and her husband were unable to maintain the high quality of the wines and Suduiraut’s reputation plummeted. Finally, the 1930s’ recession and the Second World War forced them to sell the estate to a successful industrial tycoon, Leopold-François Fonquernie, in 1940. Fonquernie made large-scale investments into the estate in order to restore its historic reputation, but it took him over forty years to manage it. There were no major changes in wine quality until Pierre Pascaud was hired as the estate’s manager and focused on improving production methods.
He changed the old barrels that lay in the cellars, partly gave up the use of large cement vats and concentrated on being more selective in his winemaking. Quality improved, and by the 1980s, Suduiraut’s wines were again valued around the world. In 1992 the estate changed hands again when the French insurance giant AXA Millésime bought it from Fonquernie’s daughters. Pierre Pascaud continued working there until his retirement in 1995. Pascaud’s son Alain followed in his father’s footsteps and was in charge of winemaking on the estate until succumbing to an illness that led to his eventual death. Since 2004, wine production has been under the management of Loire-born winemaker Pierre Montégut.
BORDEAUX: 2002 A wonderful vintage of pure, rich, elegant reds and soft, rounded whites.
An early start to flowering was followed by a variable summer with a bit of everything, from cold to hot to hot and back again. A long period of dry weather was beginning to be a problem when the rain of early September arrived, replenishing the vines. When the wind turned to the north, the grapes were dried and the harvest could begin on September 16 under a clear blue sky. 2002 is rightly a popular vintage among Burgundy aficionados. What's not to love about the pure fine fruits of the forest and the strawberry aromas in the best red wines and the fresh mineral tones of great whites? Wines to enjoy or keep for another ten years or more.