This Sauternes estate, in the commune of Preignac, got its name in 1580 when Nicole d'Allard married Léonard de Suduiraut, and has enjoyed a rather colourful history over the centuries. The château was entirely destroyed by a fire, rebuilt, renamed Cru du Roy for a time when it changed hands, re-landscaped by Le Nôtre, and then in 1992 it became part of the AXA portfolio along with Pichon-Longueville and Quinta do Noval.
It has always been capable of making top-flight wines, with vintages like 1967 and 1988 showing it at its best, but since AXA took charge, the all-important grape selection has been more severe, and as a result quality has been more consistently high. The company has also introduced a second sweet wine and a dry wine.
There are 92 hectares of vines in total, with an average age of 30 years, and these are planted on sandy gravel soils which capture the sun's heat, and help the grapes ripen more quickly.
The wine - generally a blend of 90% semillon and 10% sauvignon - is vinified in oak before spending 18 to 24 months ageing in barrels, half of them new. The style is immensely rich, suave and silky, yet elegant and structured too, with the capacity to age for between four and 30 years.