17-Year-Old First Growth Sauternes
After tasting the 2001 Château Suduiraut Sauternes on three separate occasions, Robert M. Parker Jr., and Wine Spectator gave it their highest score ever bestowed upon any Suduiraut — 98 points. Now, after nearly two decades resting in the Suduiraut cellars, this First Growth Sauternes that was named #9 on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list of 2004 is truly hitting its stride and ready to be whisked to Wine Access clients. 2001 was a sensational vintage in Sauternes, and at this Premier Cru Classé property — which abuts Château d’Yquem — it resulted in a once-in-a-half-century wine. In Parker’s unequivocal words, this is “possibly the finest Suduiraut since 1959.” A rare opportunity for long-lived Sauternes fresh from the château cellars with perfect provenance in perfect condition — the hard work of waiting has been done for you.
The secret ingredient of great Sauternes is the “noble rot” brought on by Botrytis cinerea, a beneficent fungus that increases glycerol and concentrates sugars and acids by the dehydration and shriveling of grapes. Nothing is more important to the development of noble rot than the warm, moist conditions at the sites known for producing top-flight Sauternes.
If Premier Grand Cru Classé Château d’Yquem is the pinnacle of Sauternes, Château Suduiraut — one of only 11 Premier Cru Classé estates in the region — stands close by. Situated in the village of Preignac, the Suduiraut estate borders the Yquem vineyards, and benefits from the same conditions that lead to top vintages of Château d’Yquem. 2001 was one of those years. Vinous contends: “For partisans of Sauternes, the superlative 2001 vintage is a must purchase,” with wines “characterized by their extravagant and impeccably clean noble rot character.” In that fantastic season, Château d’Yquem achieved perfection, and Château Suduiraut was barely a step behind at a staggering 98 points from both Parker and Wine Spectator.
"The best examples” of 2001 Sauternes, Vinous continues, “will need a minimum of ten years, and sometimes considerably longer, to express their considerable potential.” Waiting for top-quality Sauternes to mature can be trying, as the wine can require and endure for upwards of a century. After nearly two decades slumbering in Preignac, the 2001 Château Suduiraut is ready — either for immediate drinking, or another few decades in the cellar.