There came a point in my efforts to understand the wines of Sauternes and Barsac when I realised I was well acquainted with most of the cru classé names, not to mention a fair number of the region’s unclassified properties. My trips to the region had included visits to a decent number of châteaux, with photographs and tasting notes as evidence, and looking back at them I concluded that I knew all the cru classé properties, their vineyards and their wines, pretty well.
All except one.
Scanning my list of profiles and tasting notes, there was one cru classé châteaux which had eluded me. Its identity, of course, was Château Suau. Although my memory was shaky I seemed to recall tasting just one vintage, 1990, in pre-Winedoctor times, the sum total of my experience with this property. I resolved to right this wrong, and to pay the estate a visit the next time I found myself in the Sauternes region. In readiness, I pinpointed on a map its location, or at the very least its estimated location, as I did not have much in the way of evidence to go on.
A few months later I found myself skirting through suburban streets somewhere between Preignac and Fargues, through chicanes and over speed bumps, and eventually I stumbled across a large warehouse surrounded by a scattering of winemaking equipment and a few forlorn crates of bottles. They sat there, shrink-wrapped, waiting their turn, in hope of one day being filled, but also as evidence to the fact there was wine here. But could this dreary industrial building be all that remained of Château Suau? I was not convinced, but snapped a few photographs anyway before I left, doubts niggling in my mind.
It did not take long to realise I had led myself on a wild goose chase, and for the moment Château Suau remained an unknown. It would take a few more years before I would really get to know the wines of this property. Before I come to its modern story, however, I first take a look back at the origins and history of this rather mysterious property.