Château Spotlights

CHÂTEAU MONTROSE

The "youngest" of the cru classe vineyards, this property grew out of an inconsequential plot of vines retained by M Dumoulin, the former owner of Calon-Segur, when he sold that chateau in 1824. By 1855, Montrose had grown to 96 hectares, as Dumoulin bought and exchanged parcels of land from and with his neighbors. Despite the new-found importance of Montrose, Calon-Segur was still considered by locals to be its superior, thus there was much surprise when Montrose was classified as a deuxieme cru classe, above troisieme cru Calon-Segur. Martin and Olivier Bouygues purchased the property in 2006 and have completely renovated the vineyard and the cellars. The monumental cellars completed in 2013, alongside their objective of being carbon neutral, they have obtained the Haute Valeur Environmentale certification. The wines are matured in wood for 18 months, with 60 percent new oak.

Appellation: Saint Estephe
Vineyard Size: 95 hectares
Production: 228,000 bottles
Soil: Gravel with sand over a clay-rich subsoil
Vines: 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot
Second Wine: La Dame de Montrose

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CHÂTEAU MARQUIS DE TERME

Situated next to Chateau Margaux, this once majestic estate developed the reputation for producing tight, tannic, one-dimensional wines, but its quality has been picked up since the late 1970s and has been performing extremely well since 1983. The wine is matured in wood for 24 months, with one-third new oak.

Appellation: Margaux
Vineyard Size: 39 hectares
Production: 130,000 bottles
Soil: Gravel typical of the Margaux appellation, with quartz and quartzite. Greater concentration of clay in the subsoil
Vines: 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot
Second Wine: La Couronne de Marquis de Terme

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DOMAINE DE CHEVALIER

One of the top three Graves after Haut-Brion, this extraordinary property gives me more pleasure than any other in this AOC. It utlizes the most traditional methods to produce outstanding red and dry white wine. Fermenting red at a temperature as high as 32°C might encourage some problems elsewhere, but under the meticuluos care of those at the Domaine de Chevalier, this practice, designed to extract the maximum tannins and colouring material, it is a positive advantge. The red wine is matured in wood for up to 24 months, with 40 to 60 percent new oak. The white wine is fermented and matured in wood for 18 months, with up to 30 percent new oak. Vigneron Stephane Derencourt has been consulting on the red wines produced here since 2003.

Appellation: Pessac-Leognan
Vineyard Size: 60 hectares
Production:  Red wine: 125,000 bottles White wine: 20,000 bottles
Soil: Gravel, with clay-gravel subsoil
Vines: Red wine: 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet franc; White wine: 70% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Sémillon
Second Wine: L’Esprit de Chevalier

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CHÂTEAU GRAND PUY DUCASSE

Under the ownership of CA Grand Crus, the wine arm of Credit Agricole, the same owners of La Tour de Mons, Chateau Meyney, and Chateau Blaignan, this property produces an undervalued wine that comes from various plots scattered across half the commune. One of the best-value, improving cru classe wines available, this wine is matured in wood for 16 to 18 months, with up to 30 to 40 percent new oak.

Appellation: Pauillac
Vineyard Size: 40 hectares
Production: 120,000 bottles
Soil: Garonne gravel and a mixture of silica and gravel
Vines: 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot
Second Wine: Prélude à Grand-Puy Ducasse

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CHÂTEAU HAUT BAILLY

This chateau's well-kept vineyard is located in an excellent gravel crest bordering the eastern suburbs of Leognan. The late US banker Bob Wilmers purchased it in 1998, and he kept the same team on, notably Veronique Sanders, the granddaughter of the previous owners. Consistent investments in vines and cellars brought this wine up to a level its terroir deserves. Unusually for Pessac-Leognan, the property only produces red wine. This red Graves is matured in wood for up to 18 months, with 50 percent new oak.

Appellation: Pessac-Leognan
Vineyard Size: 30 hectares
Production: 80,000 bottles
Soil: Sand and gravel
Vines: 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 3% Cabernet franc, 3% Petit Verdot
Second Wine: La Parde Haut-Bailly

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CHÂTEAU ISSAN

This beautiful 17th-century chateau is frequently cited as the most impressive in the entire Medoc, and its remarkable wines, matured in wood for 18 months, with up to 50 percent new oak, are consistently just as spectacular.

Appellation: Margaux
Vineyard Size: 52 hectares
Production: 100,000 bottles
Soil: Gravel with clay and limestone soils
Vines: 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec
Second Wine: Blason d'Issan

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CHÂTEAU LEOVILLE BARTON

A quarter of the original Leoville estate was sold to Hugh Barton in 1826, but the chateau remained in the hands of the Leoville estate and is now called Chateau Leoville-Las Cases. This wine is made by Anthony Barton at Langoa-Barton. It is matured in wood for 24 months, with a minimum of one-third new oak. Although it is the better of the two Barton estates, it has been considered significantly beneath the standard set by Leoville-Las Cases - since the late 1980s, however, it has performed equally as well. A great chateau in ascendancy.

Appellation: Saint Julien
Vineyard Size: 51 hectares
Production: 200,000 bottles
Soil: Gravel on clay
Vines: 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 3% Cabernet franc
Second Wine: La réserve de Léoville Barton

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CHÂTEAU GISCOURS

This property is situated in the commune of Labarde. It was purchased in 1952 by the Tari family, who restored the chateau, the vineyard, and the quality of its wine to their former glory. In 1995 the vines were sold to Eric Albada Jelgerms, a Dutch businessman who continued to improve the wines. Since his death in 2018 the property continues to be managed by Alexander Van Beck who has been with the property since 1997. The wine is matured in wood for 15 to 18 months. with 50 percent new oak.

Appellation: Margaux
Vineyard Size: 90 hectares
Production: 280,000 bottles
Soil: Deep Garonne gravel
Vines: 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 5% Cabernet franc, 3% Petit Verdot
Second Wine: La Sirène de Giscours

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CHÂTEAU MALARTIC LAGRAVIERE

This 50-hectare (124-acre) vineyard forms a single block around the chateau. Purchased by the Bonnie family in 1996 it is enjoying a well-deserved resurgence consistently producing much higher-quality wines since the 1980s. The red wine is fermented in a mixture of stainless steel and oak vats at a low temperature (16°C/61°F), and matured in wood for 20 to 22 months, with 50 percent new oak. The white wine is matured in 50 percent new oak for 7 to 8 months.

Appellation: Pessac-Leognan
Vineyard Size: 53 hectares
Production: 230,000 bottles
Soil: Dry gravel and clay gravel
Vines: Red wine: 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 8% Cabernet franc, 2% Petit Verdot; White wine: 80% Sauvignon, 20% Sémillon
Second Wine: La Réserve de Malartic

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CHÂTEAU BRANAIRE DUCRU

The vineyards of this chateau are situated farther inland than those of Beychevelle and Ducru-Beaucaillou, and its soil contains more clay and iron-pan than theirs, so the wine here is fuller and can be assertive, although never austere. It is matured in wood for 18 months, with up to 50 percent new oak, and it is remarkably consistent.

Appellation: Saint Julien
Vineyard Size: 60 hectares
Production: 300,000 bottles
Soil: Deep gravel from the Quaternary Period overlaying clay soil
Vines: 70 % Cabernet Sauvignon 22 % Merlot 5 % Cabernet franc 3 % Petit Verdot
Second Wine: Duluc de Branaire-Ducru

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CHÂTEAU LAFON ROCHET

When Guy Tesseron purchased this vineyard, which is situated on the borders of Pauillac, in 1959, he embarked on a project to increase the proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes used in the wine. This proved to be a mistake for Lafon-Rochet's terroir, however, and has been rectified in recent years. Now managed by his grandson Basile Tesseron, the wine produced here is matured in wood for 16 to 18 months, with up to 50 percent new oak.

Appellation: Saint Estephe
Vineyard Size: 40 hectares
Production: 100,000 bottles
Soil: Deep, dry gravel and clay-gravel
Vines: 57 % Cabernet Sauvignon 36 % Merlot 4 % Petit Verdot 3 % Cabernet franc
Second Wine: Les Pèlerins de Lafon Rochet

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CHÂTEAU CANTENAC BROWN

Ever since I drank a 50-year-old half bottle of 1926 Cantenac Brown in splendid condition, I have had a soft spot for this chateau, which has, frankly, been disproportionate to the quality of its wines. Despite heavy investment after being purchased by AXA in 1989, these wines have not noticeably improved. That, however, did not stop Syrian-born, British-based property billionaire Simon Halabi from snapping up this chateau for a rumored $86 million in 2006. At the same time, he insisted that the aim was to invest further in Cantenac Brown, to make it one of the best wines in Margaux. The wine is aged in 50 to 70 percent new oak for 12 to 15 months.

Appellation: Margaux
Vineyard Size: 63 hectares
Production: 130,000 bottles
Soil: Garonne Gravel
Vines: 65 % Cabernet Sauvignon 30 % Merlot 5 % Cabernet franc
Second Wine: BriO de Cantenac Brown

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CHÂTEAU LAGRANGE

When the Ban de Vendanges was held at this Japanese-owned chateau in 1986, everyone realized that the company Suntory was not simply content to apply state-of-the-art technology; it seriously intended to make Lagrange the best-quality wine in St-Julien. It might well have succeeded in this ambition. The formidable Bordeaux oenologist Professor Penaud dubbed Lagrange a "dream estate" and describes its vinification centre as "unlike any other in the whole of Bordeaux". Each vat is, according to Peynaud, a "wine-making laboratory". The wine spends 21 months in wood, with up to 60 percent new oak.

Appellation: Saint Julien
Vineyard Size: 118 hectares
Production: 300,000 bottles
Soil: Two Günz gravel rises
Vines: 67 % Cabernet Sauvignon 28 % Merlot 5 % Petit Verdot
Second Wine: Les Fiefs de Lagrange

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CHÂTEAU DE FIEUZAL

This property occupies the highest and best exposed gravel crest in the commune. The vineyard and the chateau are immaculate, which is reflected in the style of its wines.

Appellation: Pessac-Leognan
Vineyard Size: 75 hectares
Production: 330,000 bottles
Soil: Gravel and sand
Vines: 42 % Cabernet Sauvignon 50 % Merlot 5 % Petit Verdot 3 % Cabernet Franc
Second Wine: L'Abeille de Fieuzal

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CHÂTEAU MEYNEY

One of the oldest chateau in St-Estephe, situated next to Chateau Montrose overlooking the Gironde Estuary. It has been owned by the CA Grand Crus since 2004. Consistent in managing to produce fine wines in virtually every vintage.

Appellation: Saint Estephe
Vineyard Size: 51 hectares
Production: 160,000 bottles
Soil: Similar to “Pétrus”, a layer of blue clay about 3-metre thick lies at a depth of 2,6 metres below the surface.
Vines: 60 % Cabernet Sauvignon 30 % Merlot 10 % Petit Verdot
Second Wine: Prieure de Meyney

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