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2003 Suduiraut Sauternes

2003 Suduiraut Sauternes

95 RP


Critic Reviews

A wonderful and fascinating wine with a tangy sweet and sour character. Full and very sweet, with a dried citrus character and an underlying orange marmalade note. Long and delicious already. Lovely balance for having such a ripe finish. This can age forever, but why deny yourself?

James Suckling | 96 JS
Intense aromas of pecan pie, dried apricot, apples and syrup. Full-bodied, medium-sweet, with a dense mouthfeel of very ripe fruit and a long, powerful and spicy aftertaste. Very, very impressive. Not quite the 2001, but who’s arguing? Best after 2010. 6,500 cases made.

Wine Spectator | 93 WS
(Château Suduiraut) The 2003 Suduiraut is the finest example of this vintage in Sauternes that I have yet tasted, though this is admittedly from a fairly small sampling of the vintage. The bouquet is deep, pure and very refined in its mélange of pineapple, apricot, peach, coconut, gentle soil tones and vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, deep and most impressively light on its feet, with fine mid-palate depth, with lovely focus and just a touch of youthful bitterness still to resolve on the long, succulent and bouncy finish. The acids here are not as zesty as in the 2005, but there are sufficient to frame the wine beautifully and to keep it fresh and lively far into the future. I would give this wine three or four years to fully blossom and then drink it over the next several decades. (Drink between 2013-2040)

John Gilman | 93 JG
Ex-chateau bottle tasted blind in Sauternes. To be honest, this vintage of Suduiraut has never been thrilling and is certainly not in the same class as the 2001 or 2009, to give two examples. The nose is powerful and rich with scents of Clementine, beeswax and quince that certainly pack a punch. The palate is spicy on the viscous entry with bitter orange, marmalade and stem ginger, although the glycerine-rich finish is missing some freshness and tension. This remains an unashamedly hedonistic Suduiraut. Tasted April 2013.

Robert Parker Neal Martin | 90 RP-NM
The 2003 Suduiraut has a strange bouquet with melted wax, quince and wet wool aromas, rather smudged and becoming Aszú-like with time in the glass. The palate is fresh and vibrant on the entry and starts well. It is missing some precision, a little spicy in style however, the warmth of the growing season erodes some of the tension towards the ginger-tinged finish that feels a little abrupt. 136gm/L residual sugar, 4.02gm/L total acidity. Tasted at the Suduiraut vertical at the château.

Vinous Media | 90 VM

Wine Details for 2003 Suduiraut Sauternes

Type of Wine Dessert
Varietal Sauternes Blend : Twenty-five miles southeast of the city of Bordeaux, in the southern end of the Graves winegrowing district, a magical event takes place – harvest season in Sauternes. Each year, beginning in September, the white grape varietals Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle become the star performers in an otherworldly transformation that takes winemaking to a completely magnificent level. Of course, this event could not take place would it not be for nature to play its part.

A unique set of climatic and geological conditions combine to form a rare equilibrium. A ghostly fog descends upon the region each morning, created by the differing water temperatures of the cool Ciron tributary as it flows into the warm Garonne River near Barsac and Preignac. The humid mornings give way to warm afternoon sun, encouraging the proliferation of Botrytis Cinerea.

Approximately 2,000 hectares of Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle apron the region’s vineyards of Sauternes. Semillon is the most widely planted, with roughly 75% of the distribution in the vineyards, Sauvignon Blanc is planted to a little less than 25%, while Muscadelle inhabits the remaining hectares (Muscadelle is able to contract Botrytis Cinerea but not to the same effect, thus being used in miniscule amounts). The three allowable grapes (by AOC law) thrive in a terroir of varying degrees of chalk, limestone, sand, clay and gravel which rest over an alluvial bed. The soil in Sauternes is warm and dry, accumulating heat due to the smooth flat pebbles and course gravel which collect the suns warmth.

The Sauternes’ plateau reaches elevations of 3 to 80 meters, awarding the location with a unique set of micro-climates and allowing winds from the east to move through the vineyards helping to remove unwanted moisture. This is especially crucial later in the growing season, as the noble rot sets in.

Noble rot, otherwise known as Botrytis Cinerea, is a fungus that attacks the grapes. The very unique and specific climate of this region allows for this magical process to occur. The grapes become shriveled, dehydrated and concentrated with extraordinary characteristics. The byproduct is a honey filled, tropical, roasted nut and exotic elixir that is otherworldly. Pineapple, peaches, flowers, orange, vanilla, butterscotch, coconut and honey infiltrate the nose and palate creating an experience that is euphoric. Typical Sauterne blends are golden yellow in color and turn amber when aged.

Due to the immense risks taken during the harvesting season, where the possibility of grey rot (grapes become overly saturated with moisture) could occur or the complete absence of noble rot, they are the most expensive wines in the world to produce. This viticultural hazard combined with the “gold” quality liquid commands top-dollar prices.

Country France : Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.

For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.

France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.

France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.

Region Bordeaux : Even among the greatest and most reputable wine regions on the planet, Bordeaux stands above the rest. The winemakers of this region have a single-minded dedication to the fine art of viticulture and their efforts never fail to show. If you consider yourself a fine wine enthusiast, you owe it to yourself to visit Bordeaux - life changing. Whether you wish to drink some inspirational and gripping wine as soon as possible, or you want to add some masterpieces to your collection, no region on Earth is a more obvious choice.

The noble and beautiful Garonne and Dordogne rivers surge through southwestern France, enriching the soil in a way very few other places can boast. The limestone-based earth is rich in calcium, and the almost oceanic climate conditions give the staple Bordeaux grape varietals vigor and flavor like nowhere else. For their illustrious reds, Bordeaux winemakers rely on a proven combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Meanwhile, a sip of their excellent white wine hints at the use of Semillon, Muscadelle and Sauvignon Blanc.Each of these varietals carries a unique identity, making every quality wine a character piece to rival Citizen Kane. It can be incredibly hard to choose only a few wines to collect for your cellar!
Subregion Preignac


Producer Chateau Suduiraut : Located forty kilometers southeast of the city of Bordeaux, the 17th Century castle of Chateau Suduiraut stands proud upon prized ground. Its magnificent gardens and surrounding vineyards lay shrouded in morning fogs, which dispel soon after the golden rays of the sun embrace the vines. It is here, in the vineyards where something magical occurs; a natural wonder that has helped to define the greatness that is Chateau Suduiraut. Renowned for its highly-prized sweet wines made predominantly from Semillon, the Premier Cru Classe Sauternes’ estate has elicited joy and delight to consumers around the globe for centuries. It has since, increased its holdings and portfolio while perpetuating the founding principles upon which it was built.

The first chapter of Chateau Suduiraut was written in 1580 on the marriage of Nicole d'Allard to Leonard de Suduiraut; the property being a dowry. A grand chateau was constructed, but unfortunately, plundered and burned down during the Fronde insurrection, but then rebuilt in the 17th Century. The estate was re-named Cru du Roy (the name found on older bottles) in the late 18th century on being taken over by a nephew of the Suduiraut family, Jean Joseph Duroy, Baron of Noaillan. The family home then acquired a cartouche featuring the Suduiraut and Duroy coats of arms, which was to give rise to the escutcheon used by Chateau Suduiraut today.

Within close proximity to the esteemed Chateau d’Yquem, the 91-hectare vineyard of Suduiraut resides on prime Sauternes’ real-estate and a highly coveted terroir of gravely, sandy clay soils. It is this unique terroir that gives the wine its outstanding opulence. The thin soil which retains very little water leads to low yields. It concentrates the grapes' qualities and forces the vine to draw its nourishment from deep in the earth. The wine's relationship with the terroir is even stronger because of this, and expresses itself with strongly-marked minerality. Furthermore, the top layer of stones captures the sun’s heat, thereby helping the grapes to reach maturity more rapidly.

Another key element to the viticultural process is the development of Botrytis Cinerea, otherwise known as noble rot; a beneficial and welcome fungus that attacks the grapes, drying them to a raisin-like state and enclosing precious, concentrated juices inside. The result is a honeyed, nectar-like wine that is often referred to as “liquid gold”. Chateau Suduiraut’s geographic proximity to the Ciron and Garonne rivers allows this natural phenomenon to occur. They both provide ideal conditions for the development of Botrytis Cinerea: cool nights and morning autumn mists followed by fine sunny weather during the day.

The vineyards are planted to 88% Semillon and 12% Sauvignon Blanc. Semillon, a traditional variety of the region, when infected with noble rot has an ample structure on the palate and gives the wine great mellowness and unctuosity. Wines produced with Semillon grapes are remarkably aromatic, evoking honeyed fragrances, grilled dried fruits, acacia blossom and candied citrus. Sauvignon Blanc has very characteristic aromas such as citrus, white peach and exotic fruits. When vinified as a dessert wine, it adds a touch of acidity to the blend, bringing freshness and aromatic complexity.

Chateau Suduiraut’s Grand Vin, classed as a Premier Cru (or First Growth) in the Official Classification of 1855, is made entirely from Semillon grapes selected from the finest terroirs of the property. The wine is hand crafted at every stage of its development and reveals remarkable finesse and complexity and a golden color. With age the bright gold evolves to a dark amber. With an extensive life-span, it powerfully and harmoniously combines fruit and floral aromas with roasted and candied notes. It can be enjoyed on the young side, but will not reach full maturity until 15-40 years after the vintage, or in the best vintages even longer. It is one of the longest lived wines in the world.

The Suduiraut portfolio includes a second wine, Castelnau de Suduiraut, which made its debut in 1992. They also produce dry white Bordeaux wines. Their first dry white wine, S de Suduiraut, was produced with the 2004 vintage and in 2015, they added a second dry white Bordeaux wine, Le Blanc Sec. Le Blanc Sec was the property’s second effort in making entry levels wines. The estate launched the third wine in 2011, designed to reach younger customers, Lions de Suduiraut, which is produced from almost 100% Semillon and a small touch of Sauvignon Blanc to create the blend. It can be enjoyed upon release. Starting with the 2021 vintage, Chateau Suduiraut reinvigorated its lineup of dry white wines. Today, they produce Chateau Suduiraut Vieilles Vignes, which comes from their oldest vines, Chateau Suduiraut Pur Semillon which is made from 100% Semillon and Lions de Suduiraut Blanc Sec, which is their entry level Bordeaux Blanc.

This insanely delicious and diverse portfolio has limited availability on the market and should be purchased with haste as the wines are in high demand with low supply. For example, the 2020 Grand Vin produced a mere 3,000 cases. Chateau Suduiraut is among the finest producers in the world; innovative and unabashedly open to evolving its collection to adapt to new world palates, while also preserving its Grand Vin and the traditional vinification processes that have long lent great success to the region.

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