The first reference to vines in the ‘Graves de Bonalgue’ area dates back to the French Revolution. A veteran from Napoleon’s army, Captain Rabion, took possession of the land and built a stately residence. The building housed his regimental arms, and the garden was planted with cedar trees.
The property was purchased by Libourne-based négociant Jean-Baptiste Audy in 1926 and the family firm continues to be run by Audy’s great-grandson Jean-Baptiste Bourotte. Merlot accounts for 95% of vines onthis early-ripening site, producing a rich and round Pomerol expression that continues to impress critics.
Bonalgue spans 6.5 hectares under cultivation on sandy clay soils to the very west of Pomerol. The subsoil are typical for the area with gravel and ferruginous sandstone. MIchel Rolland consults here and discoveredthe chateau’s potential in 1982 and laid the foundations for a more modern winemaking marked by very ripe grapes producing silky wines with expressive aromas.
About Pomerol: Located on a terrace above the Isle, a tributary of the Dordogne, with numerous little hamlets, Pomerol is a commune with no village, and might have been a nondescript suburb of Libourne. However, nature gave it a superb terroir, and it has become one of the most prestigious red wine appellations in the Bordeaux region, despite its relatively small size (800 ha, making it one of the smallestappellations in the Gironde).
Pomerol is divided up into scattered small holdings, with relatively simple architecture. The appellation’s famous properties were established relatively recently – in the 20th century – with Petrus the undisputed star; there is also Évangile, Trotanoy, Lafleur, La Conseillante, and Petit-Village.
The diverse mixture of gravel and smooth pebbles, brought by rivers from the Massif Central, is reflected in the complexity of the wines.
Despite varied terroirs (there are four main areas) the wines of Pomerol are generally harmonious in theirstructure. Pomerols have the unusual advantage of being able to be drunk young while at the same time having a great capacity to improve with age.
Their bouquet tends to be powerful, characterized by violets or truffles, with a wide range of aromas,evolving from red fruit in young wines, to leather, undergrowth, and animal notes as the wines age. The palate presents the same aromatic richness; the predominant Merlot bringing smoothness and a generally well-rounded structure.
Just like Chateau Bonalgue, Chateau du Courlat belongs to Jean-Baptiste Bourotte (the 4th generation).
The Audy – Bourotte is a powerful Bordeaux family also owning Chateau Monregard la Croix, Clos du Cocher (both in Pomerol), Chateu les Hauts Conseillants (Lalande de Pomerol) and some other estates.
13 hectares farmed and only two wines produced. The more prestigious Cuvee Jean Baptiste(dedicated to Jean Baptiste Audy, the famed wine merchant) comes from a selection of the best 4 hectares.
The 2nd wine is simply named Chateau du Courlat with a yearly produced of 55.000 bottles on average.The estate is planted with mainly Merlot and Cabernet Franc takes a back seat with only 10%.
Both Decanter and wine Advocate have praised this Chateau for the overachieving quality. Michel Rolland is the long time consultant.
About Lussac Saint Emilion: Created in 1936, Lussac St Emilion is a satellite appellation of the more prestigious Saint Emilion. In Lussac, the wine estates are essentially family- properties. The average size of each would be about 10 hectares (25 acres). A total of 900 hectares (2,200 acres) are cultivated by 95 independent vineyard owners and 530 hectares (1,300 acres) are exploited by members of the Puisseguin-Lussac-Saint- Emilion winemaking cooperative.
In Lussac the vineyards populate an amphitheatre of south-facing plateaux and valleys, which promotes good natural drainage.
Merlot is main grape followed by Cabernet Fanc and Cabernet Sauvignon (only 10% of the area under vine). In addition to these three main varieties, Malbec and, to a lesser extent Carménère, are also planted.
Beauregard’s history dates back to the 11th century and the Order of the Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, from which Beauregard’s emblematic Knights Templar cross originates. The knights were active in the Pomerol region, owned a small manor, and already farmed these lands. It was on this site, five centuries later, that the Beauregard family built the first house, which was replaced during theNapoleonic era by the present château -a magnificent Gironde chartreuse. It was in the middle of the 18th century that Beauregard changed from a mixed farming estate to a vine-growing property. Since 2014, the estate is owned by the Cathiard and Moulin families.
Beauregard has gained the official organic certification in 2009. The maintaining of trees
and bushes on the estate attracts an auxiliary fauna which is very useful in the fight against certain vine pests.
Château Beauregard, one of the first estates in the region to expand its vineyard in the 18th century,possesses exceptional terroir and is located on the south-east edge of the Pomerol plateau. The soil is a mix of gravel, clay and sand, giving way to elegant and expressive Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Its vineyard stretches over 17.5 hectares (43 acres) where over 35 plots are grown and separately tended, according to their specificities.
The Second Wine of Château Beauregard, Benjamin de Beauregard, is made from a strict selection of plots on sandier soils. It benefits from the same high-performing vinification facilities as the First Wine; however, the winemaking is carefully adapted to include moderate extraction and short vatting periods.
The must fermented in tronco-conical pure concrete vats (each one with its own parcel lot). The ageingprocess is shorter and is carried out, generally speaking, with less use of new oak. The 2015 Benjamin aged in 2nd and 3rd fill barrels (no new oak at all)
Benjamin de Beauregard is made to be enjoyed at an early date, within 10 years of age.
The story of Vignobles Bardet begins right on the banks of the Dordogne River in 1704. Mr. Seigneriau, a river boatman, used to transport barrels of wine to the port and, as the river trade flourished, he bought vineyards.
In the 1920s, Mr Seigneriau’s granddaughter, Mathilde Roy, married Henri-Gabriel Bardet who found thefirst family vineyard, Château du Val d’Or (14 hectares under cultivation). In 1962, his son Roger Bardet took the reins, followed by his son Philippe Bardet, who in 2008 purchased Château Franc Le Maine.
At the same time Philippe decided to leave the Chateau’s executive operations to two of
his sons, the dynamic Paul-Arthur and Thibault, keeping the supervision of the whole family business.
Vignobles Bardet is certified “Haute Valeur Environnementale” at level 3. This certification considers biodiversity, phytosanitary strategy, water management and fertilization.
After the 2008 purchase, the estate underwent great renovations. Franc Le Maine is located in the southeast of the commune of Saint-Laurent des Combes. Created in the 15th century, this Saint-EmilionGrand Cru vineyard, nicknamed “La belle endormie” (the sleeping beauty), has benefited from major drainage and ecosystem stimulation.
The hectares planted are almost 12 with Merlot (65%), Cabernet Franc (34%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (1%) with an average of 70.000 bottles yearly produced.
Beside the official wine, the Bardets have release a version with no added sulfites, classified as Saint Emilion (approx 9.000 yearly produced).
Furthermore the Bardet family own other two Chateau: Pontet Fumet (17 hectares) and Chateau de Paradis (5 hectares) which are both classified Saint Emilion Grand Cru, just like Château du Val d’Or and Franc Le Maine.
Former property of the Baroness Arthur de Brezets, and acquired in 1924 by the Escure family, the ChâteauGrand-Pey-Lescours is located in St Sulpice de Faleyrens, at the foot of the slopes of Saint-Emilion.
The Escures also own Chateau Bellisle Mondotte in the same wine district.
The consultancy of Jean-Marie Bouldy, owner of Ch. Bellegrave in Pomerol and the new generations of the Escure family brought new ideas to valorise Grand Pey Lescours.
Jean-Marie Bouldy is a skilled wine expert and took over the management of the family estate Bellegrave in1980 and was joined by his wife Pascale in 1995. Their children also began working at the estate (Aurélie in 2014 and Jean-Baptiste in 2015), continuing Château Bellegrave’s true family orientation.
Jean Marie Bouldy is one of the few growers with a soft spot for the environment in Pomerol and hestarted an unofficial conversion to organic practices from 2001 onwards. Château Bellegrave officially converted to organic agriculture with its ECOCERT certification in 2009.
With Jean Marie arrival at Chateau Gran Pey Lescours, all the vineyard started to be trained according toorganic techniques and the estate wines are fully organic certified since the 2014 vintage. It’s undeniable that Jean Marie consultancy has completely boosted the vineyards potentiality.
Grand Pey Lescours’ vineyards are planted with grape varieties typical of St Emilion – 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon – on gravelly and sandy soils and cover nearly 26 hectares.
The soils are gravelly and sandy with a sub-soil showing traces of iron hardpan.
The estate is arguably the definition of quality and value in Saint-Emilion – if not Bordeaux itself.Certainly worth the wait. Rather than releasing wines in their infancy, Jean-Marie Bouldy likes to keep stock back until he feels it’s ready to be drunk.
Notes on the 2015 vintage: 2015 began with a wet winter and a rather damp May. Flowering started slowly because the weather was not warm enough but accelerated rapidly with the sudden return of the sun.The change of weather continued with two months of uninterrupted heat anddrought, unusual for the region. Like a blessing from heaven, a few showers arrived in mid-August. The hot and dry weather then resumed until mid-September. Despite a considerable amount of rain from mid-September, the grapesremained in wonderfully good health because the skins, thickened by the summer heat and our vineyard practices, withstood the conditions perfectly.
This 7 hectare property dates back to the late 1920s when Ferdinand Brunet purchased vineyard plots from Palmer and Durfort-Vivens. Mr. Brunet was originally a cooper working at Chateau Margaux and intended to make wine for his own consumption.
Ferdinand’s son took over in 1950 developing the business until Michel Brunet took over in 1963 and expanded further by planting more vineyards. Since 2002 Michel’s son Yannick has been managing the Chateau.
The Martin family used to raise dairy cows there, not only for the income derived from the milk, but also for the manure used in the vineyard. The cows are now gone, but Yannick’s still uses cow manure as fertilizer.
In Médoc patois ‘barrail’ means fence – the small fences at Château les Barraillots separate the vineyardfrom the neighboring growths. To this day, the Brunet family still manages the estate and they are one of the few crus artisans remaining in Margaux.
The average vine age is 40 years and the varietal mix is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc/Petit Verdot. The planting is very dense with most sections having 10,000 plants per hectare. No chemicals are used in the vineyard and harvesting is done manually. Fermentations are done instainless steel and the wine is aged in barrels (20% to 25% new) for twelve months with several rackings. This period of natural clarification is completed with the use of egg whites for fining before bottling in the spring.
About Margaux: Throughout the appellation, vines grown in an extremely thin, gravely soil that wasspewed across the area by the lumbering Gironde nearby. As a result, little water is retained in the soil, forcing the vines to probe some 20 to 25 feet below the surface to find the nutrients and water they need. When vines struggle, their skins and juice tend to yield more character and intrigue than vines that have it easy. This, as well as the topsoil’s heat-reflecting properties, yields a wine that is at the same time complex and elegant.
With 1,355 hectares under vine, the appellation is just slightly smaller than St. Estephe, making it the second-largest, major appellation in the Medoc. Today, close to 80 different chateaux maintain vineyardsin the appellation. In total, close to 600,000 cases of wine are produced in the Margaux appellation each year.
Château Paloumey is in Ludon-Médoc, in the south of the Haut-Médoc appellation, between Château LaLagune and Cantemerle, both Grand Cru Classés of 1855. Thanks to the privileged location of the plots, Paloumey’s 34 hectares of vines, present a wide range of terroirs.
Hilltops of Garonne gravel dating from the Quaternary period, sand and pebbles make up the 24 hectares of vines planted around Château Paloumey. The property also has 10hectares of ancient Garonne gravel and clay soil in Cussac-Fort- Médoc, a commune that lies on the edge of the Saint Julien appellation.
The blending of this mosaic of exceptional terroirs gives Château Paloumey and its second wine Ailes dePaloumey, complexity, elegance and a structure worthy of the Haut-Médoc’s finest properties.
The Chateau is owned by Martine Cazenueve since 1989 an she has a great wine business knowledge. Before replanting Paloumey’s vineyard in 1990, analyses of the soil and subsoil were carried out in order to establish their winegrowing potential. Since 2015 her son Pierre is atthe helm of the estate.
Château Paloumey’s vineyard is planted with three classic Médoc grape varieties: 55% Cabernet Sauvignon (a late- ripening variety that forms the backbone of the wine, bringing complexity, structure and ageing potential), 40% Merlot (an early-ripening variety that brings suppleness, roundness and freshness) and 5% Cabernet Franc (bringing finesse and spicy aromas).
Respect for the terroir, for the environment and for people are Paloumey’s priorities.
Since 1995, the estate made the decision to pursue sustainable agricultural practices for the vines and the soil, resulting in avoiding the automatic application of preventive treatments.
With Pierre’s impulse in 2017 the estate started the transition to organic certification and from 2019onwards all the estate wines are officially organic certified.
About Medoc: Perfectly located on the 45th parallel, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gironde estuary, the Médoc benefits from a temperate climate well-suited to winegrowing. The region is divided into eight appellations producing exceptional wines: Haut-Médoc, Margaux, Moulis-en-Médoc (the three AOCs where Paloumey has its vines), Listrac-Médoc, Saint-Julien, Pauillac, Saint-Estèphe and Médoc.
The vineyard is located in Saint-Estèphe, on the mountain top of the city and some parcels are nearChâteau Haut Marbuzet and Tour de Pez. The estate has been under the ownership of the Estager family for over 100 years. In 1987, when Guy Estager passed away, his sons took over the property, Bernard (who gaveup his career as an accountant in Paris) and the younger François.
The estate comprises 25 hectares of prime slopes at the highest point of St Estèphe and is classified as Cru Bourgeois de Saint-Estèphe since 1932 when the classification was created. The Estager wines have been gained in the last 30 years relevant consideration with an improved quality year by year. Sustainable practices are followed in the vineyard.
The terroir is a mix of calcareous clay and limestone with a planting density of 8,300 vines per hectare.The vines average 25 years of age and are planted with Merlot (50%), Cabeernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc (25% each).
Because Saint-Estèphe is marginally further from the gravel-bearing waters of the Garonne river, the soil here is far less stony than that found in the southern part of Haut-Médoc. Instead, a heavy clay and limestone base dominates this area, resulting in poorer-draining soils, delayed ripening and higher acidity levels in the wines.
These factors mean that, over the last few decades, many Saint-Estèphe’s winemakers have increased their emphasis on Merlot, as it performs better on clay-rich soils than Cabernet Sauvignon. Because winesfrom here have traditionally been rather austere and tight in youth, Merlot also serves to soften the texture. The wines are richly colored and deeply flavored, and are known for their longevity.