Bernard Magrez, a mission of excellence for the benefit of its four Grands Crus and cultural patronage to help the others.
BERNARD MAGREZ LUXURY WINE EXPERIENCE
Found all over the world, brightening up the finest tables and providing intense flavours, the centuries-old magic of the great growths is epitomised by Bernard Magrez's enthusiasm for the vineyards of Bordeaux. He invites you into the intimacy of his prestigious estates, where history is written according to the rhythm of the seasons: Bernard Magrez Luxury Wine Experience.VISIT THE WEBSITE
INSTITUT CULTUREL BERNARD MAGREZ
This private patronage initiative is supported by the will and desire of a man to share his love for art and artists as well as to make contemporary art more accessible to everyone in order to better understand it. Discover a new original place of cultural creation and dissemination: exhibitions, meetings, conferences (“Nuits du Savoir” i.e. Knowledge Nights), where everyone can share a unique cultural experience.VISIT THE WEBSITE
LA GRANDE MAISON DE BERNARD MAGREZ
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Chateau Pape Clement in Pessac, near Bordeaux, is named after its most famous owner: Pope Clement V. Château Pape Clément is one of the Oldest Grands Crus de Bordeaux. It was in 1305, Bertrand de Goth, under the name of Clement V, entered in Avignon, a city he had chosen to install the papal court.Archbishop of Bordeaux, Bertrand de Goth became Pope in 1305 under the name of Clement V. The estate took its name from this unique French Pope and its wine became an icon.
Bertrand de Goth, appointed Archbishop of Bordeaux in 1299, received on this occasion the vineyards of La Mothe, property in Pessac. He managed the estate and made it bigger. Appointed in 1305 by the conclave to succeed Benedict XI, he became Pope under the name of Clement V. Because of his new position, he had then to give away the estate to the Archbishop of Bordeaux and took the name "Pape Clement". From this day, the estate has been well managed, with continuity and quality for almost five centuries, its limited production being reserved mainly for the use of the archdiocese. By the French Revolution, the estat, went in the public domain, with successful owners. Jean-Baptiste Clerc, who acquired Château Pape Clément in 1858 expanded the vineyard to 37 ha, and thanks to his bright management, strengthened the quality of wines which then come right behind the ones of Haut-Brion. At the end of the XIXth century, Château Pape Clement wines are sole at the same price as the 2nd Grands Crus Classés of Médoc.
The vineyard of a Pope.
Château Pape Clément, located in Pessac, near Bordeaux, owes its name to its most famous owner—Pope Clement V. Born in Villandraut in 1264, Bertrand de Goth was appointed Bishop of Comminges in the Pyrenees on 28 March 1295, a position he held until 1299, when he was appointed Archbishop of Bordeaux by the Pope. With his appointment, he received Pessac vineyard as a gift, then known as the “de La Mothe” vineyard (a name referring to its elevated terrain). The archdiocese's archives provide a number of details about the Bertrand de Goth's deep involvement in his vineyards and his constant search for the most rational and efficient equipment for both the vineyard and cellars. His work was continued by the Church whose efforts turned Pope Clement's concern into a model estate.
5 June 1305, cardinals met in conclave in Perugia and elected Bertrand de Goth as successor to Pope Benedict XI, who died in 1304 after 11 months of reign. The new Pope adopted the name Clement V and chose Lyon for his coronation.
In 1309, Clement V entered Avignon, the city he had chosen for his papal court, thus breaking with Rome, a hotbed of power struggles.
From 1305 to 1309, the Pope continued managing his vineyard with all the care that made it so special. 12 December 1309, his papal duties prevented him performing this task and he decided to donate the estate to the Archbishop of Bordeaux, Arnaud de Canteloup. To Clement V, entrusting his vineyard to the Church of Bordeaux meant bequeathing it to eternity, while allowing Pape Clément's vines to thrive over the centuries to come.
During the long period that Château Pape Clement was administered by the Archbishop, modernism and technical progress made it a pioneering estate, one of the special features of which was its early harvest. We now know that the vineyard was one of the first in France where vine stock was planted in rows to facilitate tilling. This was tantamount to a horticultural revolution as plants had previously been scattered around plots.
The Revolution and the challenges of nature
In the late18th century, the archdiocese of Bordeaux was dispossessed of its assets and the vine bequeathed to it 500 years previously fell into the public domain.
Owners succeeded one another and, in turn, were forced to fight against the various scourges afflicting French vineyards at the end of the 19th century—powdery mildew, downy mildew and phylloxera.
Among them was Jean-Baptiste Clerc, a wine trader from Bordeaux, who acquired the property in 1858, and turned it into a model vineyard. It was he who confirmed the renown and finesse of Pope Clement's wines, and was rewarded with the gold medal from the Gironde Agricultural Society and the Great Medal from the Ministry of Agriculture at the World Fair of 1878, two highly coveted distinctions.
It was also Clerc who built the chateau which was redesigned by the heirs of the subsequent owner, Monsieur Cinto, another Bordeaux merchant, producing the building we know today.
8 June 1937, a violent hailstorm destroyed almost the whole of Château Pape Clément's vineyard and, in 1939, it was bought by Paul Montagne, an agronomic engineer, who, when the war finished, set about restoring it and reinstating it to the status it deserved.
Thanks to these efforts, Château Pape Clément regained its radiance and managed to resist the onset of urbanization and the development of housing in a village where, at the start of the century, there were only two thousand inhabitants and fifty winegrowers.
In the 1980s, Bernard Magrez, an entrepreneur passionate about wine, took over the Château and built an unprecedented international reputation for the Grand Cru Classé.
Ever since, Bernard Magrez has deployed every means possible to ensure that Château Pape Clément's exceptional terroir continues to flourish through time and to express the finesse that has made its wines so famous.
2009 was an exceptional year, Château Pape Clément's crowning glory, the year when it was awarded the legendary 100/100 score from the world-famous wine critic Robert Parker, writing a new page in the history of exceptional wines.
Reconciling rich traditions and advanced techniques, the wines of Château Pape Clément are developed under the sign of the highest requirement. Through hard work, constant questioning, the alliance of tradition (especially with the use of bovine animal traction) and innovation (use of a drone to monitor the evolution of the vine) and outstanding terroir, the field produced in two colors exceptional wines.
Located in Pessac, a few kilometers from Bordeaux, the vineyard of 63 ha covers a mixture of gravelly-sandy soils and clay-limestone soils on limestone subsoil rich in iron. The planting red (30ha) consists of Cabernet Sauvignon (60%) and Merlot (40%). White (2.5 ha) and Semillon Sauvignon white (45% each) supplemented with Muscadelle (10%). The average age of the vines is 40 years in red and white 18. The planting density is high, ranging from 7700 to 9000 vines / ha contributing with weed clay parts, a favorable competition to quality ripening.
Regular pruning work, stripping and thinning to the sound and measured cluster growth. The defense vines follows the principles of sustainable agriculture.
Separation of berries from their stalks is done entirely by hand. At this unique technique succeeds separate vinification: the small volume tanks layout allows vinified separately fruits from different plots of the domain. Grapes can thus fully express their diversity. These are distinctions that provide the basis for assembly work with each vintage. The accuracy of wine-winemaking techniques applied to Château Pape Clément rewarded the area of accreditation and Terra Vitis HVE3.
Located in Pessac, near Bordeaux, Château Pape Clément is divided into three major plots with distinct characteristics and several smaller plots scattered around the village.
The geological base
The Tertiary Age bedrock (Oligocene Period) is composed of asteriated limestone forming the backbone of the Bordeaux terroir. On the lower left bank of the Garonne, it is covered by a fine, more recent layer of terrain from the Miocene Age (Tertiary Period). These are the faluns of the Bordeaux region, a soil-type characterized by pulverized shell debris. On this base lies the alluvial gravel layer, known as graves, a large mass of round blunt pebbles, coated with a finer mixture of primarily sand and clay.
The Graves : the power of the terroir
Château Pape Clément is located on the oldest of the alluvial terraces, known as the Pyrenees graves. Dating back to the late Pliocene and early Pleistocene Periods, it was spread over the substratum in torrential flows. The soil has several geographical origins: the mountainous Atlantic Pyrenees, the Pyrenean piedmont and the eastern Massif Central. Furthermore, three types of soil – tawny Chalosse sands, multicolored clays, and siliceous graves – can also be clearly distinguished. The originality of the Château Pape Clément lies in the presence of a thin top-layer of more recent Garonne graves, dating from the Günz Glacial Stage, deposited there one and a half million years ago.
Toward the west of the estate, the graves were buried beneath a layer of eolian sand from the Landes region which spread in the late Quaternary Period, forty thousand years ago. This thick, 30-50cm layer provides the vines with a frugal yet balanced water supply.
Clay to the east
To the east, the proportion of clay increases. Clay retains water better, and diffuses it slowly. Hence, the vine matures in conditions of moderate water stress, without being exposed to sudden, extreme drought.
The leaner soil to the north
To the north, the gravel-sand terraces are particularly low in clay and organic material. On this lean and porous soil, the vines may suffer increased water stress. Full maturity is reached when a balance between the plant and grapes is maintained by special pruning.
The high iron content in the subsoil and groundwater contributes to the soil's personality. According to experts, the iron content explains the spicy, smoky bouquet characteristic of Château Pape Clément wines.
Red varieties (55 hectares)
The red vines are divided into 60 % Cabernet sauvignon and 40% Merlot. Cabernet sauvignon is mainly planted on the gravel and sand-and-gravel areas. It brings the blend its tannic structure guaranteeing healthy aging in bottles. Merlot, meanwhile, is better adapted to clay soils, and produces round, rich and velvety wines, dominated by ripe fruit. Note that over 60% of the vines are over 25 years old, including a large proportion over 40 years old. The presence of old vines brings extra finesse and elegance.
White varieties (8 hectares)
45% Sauvignon blanc, 45% Semillon and 10% Muscadelle. With their very different characters, these three grape varieties bring the blend its finesse and rich complexity. The Sauvignon, especially, a lively variety with fresh, fruity, invigorating notes, brings the acidity and structure necessary for the good aromatic expression of all white wines. Semillon produces fat, suave wines, with notes of ripe fruit and honey, giving the blend its ability to age in bottles.Muscadelle, meanwhile, brings a special, intense touch, which contributes to the complexity of the palate.
Plantation: the competition principle
Vines are planted at high densities, between 7700 and 9000 plants per hectare. This highly competitive environment, as well as the choice of low-vigor rootstock, naturally weaken the plants and create the optimal conditions for ripening. Grass is planted in-between the most clay-rich sections, further increasing competition for water between the plants.
Pruning and thinning: recreating the natural order
Pruning is carried out in winter according to the “Guyot double” technique, without downward spurs, providing two canes, each with three buds. After the buds burst, only the three most exposed and best distributed branches are left on each cane after debudding. A build-up of vegetation is not allowed. As the ripening phase approaches, the foliage is thinned by hand to create an ideal micro-climate for the clusters, providing the right air flow and light. While the lower leaves are removed, the fruit themselves are not exposed to direct sunlight, as this may cause burnt and over-ripe aromas. Leaves are first thinned on the least exposed side of the plants in June. Then in August, leaves are removed from the other side. The clusters are thus gradually acclimatized to light and good air-flow naturally slows the development of undesirable fungi. Between two phases of leaf removal, the clusters too are thinned (known as the “green harvest”) to remove the substandard clusters. The misplaced clusters, which are too high or too close together, are removed first. Then, as the grapes ripen and take on color, clusters that would be too late for harvest are also removed.
Following much observation and analysis – of subsoil, soil, leaves, and grapes – throughout the year, each task is carried out at the optimal time according to the plot. Hence we naturally set separate harvest dates for each. The harvest team may vary between thirty to a hundred people depending on the day, according to the number of parcels deemed to have reached perfect maturity. During harvest, participants carry out an initial selection. For white wines, the important criterion is the golden color of the clusters. It is thus common for a plot to be harvested in two or even three successive sessions, with several days to a week between them. White grapes are only picked in the morning before outside temperatures get too high so as to preserve aromas and prevent oxidation. The grapes are hand-picked and placed in small crates to prevent compression and premature juice extraction.
Reconciling a wealth of tradition and cutting edge techniques, Château Pape Clément wines are made to meet the highest quality standards. Separate vinification. Small vats are used to enable the separate vinification of grapes from different plots on the estate. The grapes can thus express their full diversity. The distinction between the grapes becomes the basis for blending each vintage.
Meticulous manual destemming
The separation of the grapes from their stems is carried out entirely by hand. Here, rather than removing the stems from the fruit, we remove the fruit from the stems grape-by-grape. This operation is very labor-intensive but does enable us to obtain whole grapes only, without undesired extraction or early release of juice.
For the white wines the crates are emptied manually into a pneumatic press. The pressure is slowly increased, without breaking up the press-cake, so as to extract only the purest of the juice. The must is directly transferred to barrels by gravity, without pumping.
Fermentation: the contribution of oak
Château Pape Clément's red wines are vinified in oak casks. This favors uniform fermentation, unlike steel vats which are prone to temperature variations. Maintained between 29 and 30°C during fermentation, then between 27 and 29°C during maceration after fermentation, moderate temperatures allow for gentle extraction of tannins and color. Before the wine is drawn off, fermentation varies between 20 and 35 days depending on the evolution of taste in each vat.
Some batches may turn out to be too cloudy, so we clarify the wine using beaten egg whites as fining. This attracts and precipitates any suspended particles, which fall to form a sediment on the bottom of the vat.
The art of blending
Blending aims both at achieving the concentration and complexity worthy of the greatest wines, and to maintain, from vintage to vintage, the unique qualities of Château Pape Clément, characterized by smoked and spiced notes, fruity aromas and a rich and elegant body. Thus, the blender can slightly vary the proportions of the grape varieties to find the right balance that brings the most attractive harmony of palate, and the best potential for bottle-aging.
For red vintages, wines are casked into new barrels by gravity, without pumping. During aging, malolactic fermentation takes place and lasts between 18 and 20 months. Barrels are selected from eight different cooperages so that the oak note is as delicate and discreet as possible. In order to prevent them from drying, white wines are kept in barrels for no more than 12 months, then the barrels are maintained at a low temperature for a month. This clarifies the wine naturally and avoids chemical or physical treatment during bottling.
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On the road to Saint-Julien -Beychevelle, a stone's throw from its church, the impressive quadrangular tower of Château La Tour Carnet rises in the axis of a monumental gate. If the thick walls could talk, they would tell us all the past stories of this authentic castle.
From rte XIIth century until today, from the Hundred Years War to the great phylloxera epidemic, La Tour Carnet crossed nobly the adventures of men and time.
Since the XVIth century, special attention was paid to the cultivation of the vine and wine quality. This exceptional work is recognized as early as 1855, during the Universal Exhibition in Paris, Chateau La Tour Carnet joined the very closed list of Grand Crus Classés.
A bit of History
On the road to Saint-Julien -Beychevelle, a stone's throw from its church, the impressive quadrangular tower of Château La Tour Carnet rises in the axis of a monumental gate.
If the thick enclosure walls could talk, they would tell of the rich historical past of this authentic feudal castle. They would awaken the sound of knights galloping across the drawbridge in the 12th century, and the sound of "drums beaten by sticks, used to announce the maturity of the harvest and scare away wolves and boars" in the 17th century. And they would summon up the glory days of the 19th century and the "1855 classification", the dark hours of phylloxera, before the great viticultural revival of the 20th century.
With the passion and the requirement that he is known for, Bernard Magrez has undertaken to raise even higher the Grand Cru Classé Haut-Médoc …
Its origins are lost to the mists of time. Initially called Château de Saint-Laurent, this ancient medieval fortress perched on one of the most attractive slopes of Médoc was used by the English to battle the French nobility, and was inhabited from the 12th century onwards. The chateau’s defensive architecture, with its famous round tower built in the 11th century, evokes the troubled period of the One Hundred Years War. Trade in Médoc wines was nevertheless flourishing and Château Saint-Laurent's production was especially popular: in 1407, a "hogshead" (roughly 240 liters) of the Château's wine would sell for 36 crowns, compared to 6 crowns for a Graves wine. At the time, "all chateau wine was believed to be wine quality, all you have to do was build one in the middle of your estate". Carnet had already had its own for two centuries.
In the 13th century, the Maison de Foix, enfeoffed to the King of England, owned the seigneury of Saint-Laurent. And when, in 1451, Bordeaux capitulated to the King of France, Count Jean de Foix and his faithful squire, Carnet, refused to submit. Their loyalty to the King of England brought them many misadventures, punctuated with military episodes.
In 1486, Carnet became the executor of the last will and testament of his master, Jean de Foix, who had died a year previously. He still refused to rally to the King of France. Fighting alongside the English who were then harvesting in Aquitaine, he maintained a long siege inside his castle and was finally defeated by "Beau Dunois", a companion of Jeanne d’Arc. The chateau was partially destroyed on the King of France's orders, but the name of the valiant squire remained.
Over the centuries, the estate had a series of owners, among them, in the 16th century, the philosopher Montaigne's brother-in-law, Thibault de Carmaing.
At the heart of the Médoc vineyards revolution
From 1500 to the Revolution, La Tour Carnet grew in an era of deep change for vineyards. Encouraged by the growing importance of the parliament established by Louis XI, an administrative aristocracy developed more interested in land than trade. This activity gradually fell into the hands of Northern European merchants, especially from Holland. They built cellars and warehouses in the marsh areas on the left bank of the Gironde River, in a district known as "Chartrons", named after the old Carthusian monastery.
During this same period, in certain estates, expert cellar masters not only managed to conserve wine but also to improve it by letting it age. While the idea of vintage did not yet exist, buyers began testing before sealing any deal. At La Tour Carnet, the estate was always maintained in good condition. From 1725, with the emphasis now on quality over quantity, light fertilization and short pruning were the order of the day; a wine of "new merit" was already being produced.
The Revolution of 1789 spared the estate which became the possession of a Swedish nobleman, a wine-merchant working in the Chartrons area, Charles de Luetkens. The acquisition was a godsend for the property. In the hands of a foreign national, it was not subject to revolutionary laws. Moreover, under Luetkens guidance, La Tour Carnet gained lasting prestige.
Luetkens' descendants, who became French, did all they could to develop La Tour Carnet's huge potential.
In 1855, under the direction of Angélique Raymond, Jean-Jacques Luetkens's wife, Château La Tour Carnet was rewarded for the quality of its wine when it was listed as a "Grand Cru Classé" for the occasion of the Universal Exhibition in Paris.
While the title offered a guarantee of quality and formidable publicity, the owners were now obliged to keep producing superb wine to keep their ranking.
At the time, La Tour Carnet's vineyard covered 52 hectares.
In 1861, Angélique's son, Charles-Oscar de Luetkens, took over the Château. A local political figure (mayor of Saint-Laurent-de-Médoc under the Second Empire and under the provisional government of the emerging 3rd Republic), he also proved to be very influential in the vineyard, and was acknowledged by his peers as a "distinguished winemaker".
Gradually destroyed by phylloxera, the vineyard underwent a period of decline, like most other grands crus classés. The value of properties decreased, and many were bought up by investment companies more interested in finance than wine quality.
The 1960s revival
It was not until 1962 that the virtually abandoned estate began to arise once more from the ashes. A new owner, Louis Lipschitz, owner of a towing company in Bordeaux, undertook to renovate, rebuild and restore this grand cru classé.
He set about replanting abandoned plots, restoring the chateau and renovating the viticultural buildings. He thus preceded the general move to rehabilitating vineyards by 10 years. From 1978, his daughter Marie-Claire Pelegrin continued his work with the same application.
As she quite beautifully said: "My father left me a diamond he had not finished cutting." The vineyard was reconstituted and its area increased to 45 hectares, while the outbuildings were rehabilitated, enlarged and modernized. Her creative husband, Guy François, invented a rotating sorting table and a high-clearance tractor with tracks, the prototypes of which are conserved at the chateau. Hence the estate regained the splendor of its 1855 classification.
Celebrating quality again
As part of this drive for quality, Bernard Magrez has already undertaken a program of restoration and renovation. Not only is it his intention to raise La Tour Carnet, covering 126 hectares with 48 hectares of vines, to the level of excellence enjoyed in the glory days of its eight-century history, but also to ennoble one of the most original terroirs of Médoc using the latest cutting-edge knowledge and techniques. In the words of the previous owner, Marie-Claire Pèlegrin, it is his aim to finally cut the diamond.
To understand what makes the richness and unique personality of the wines of La Tour Carnet, we have to both understand what makes the originality of its soil and its technical excellence in viticulture and winemaking.
The terroir of Château La Tour Carnet is a mosaic of multi diversity land. The use of the most modern techniques such as drone acquired by Bernard Magrez to analyze the plots, has optimized the virtues of this land by assigning the most suitable varieties: the hill is a soil conducive to Merlots, hillsides rather the Cabernets.
But obtaining exceptional grapes would be nothing without careful winemaking techniques to make the best of it. This is why, for several years, Château La Tour Carnet returned to traditional methods that rely heavily on manual labor.
The originality of the Saint Laurent Médoc terroir lies in its diversity.
It is a patchwork of soils composed, in the far west, of sand and gravel, becoming siliceous-gravel, siliceous-clay and calcareous-clay toward the west and center. To the east are the gravel slopes of the finest vineyards, including La Tour Carnet. Here, the soil is mainly composed of graves (fluvial pebbles, gravel and sand) from the Gunzian glacial era and is very similar to the neighboring appellations of Pauillac and Saint-Julien.
With its south-southwest exposure, a large part of the calcareous clay subsoil slopes are covered in a thick layer of Garonne River and Pyrenean graves. On this broad border of gravel slopes are located the finest vineyards. The 1855 classification confirmed this reality, and especially distinguished the Château La Tour Carnet. In the western part of the estate is ridge of asteriated limestone with Sannois clay slopes. This is the “Butte de La Tour Carnet” a geological curiosity that still leaves experts in wonder. The eastern part stretches across the south-southwest facing slopes of a gravelly hill typical of Médoc's grands crus. The calcareous clay subsoil is covered with a thick layer of Garonne and Pyrenees graves. The final part in the north consists of a large plateau of fine graves.
Years of painstaking experimentation have enabled us to get the very best from these soils by planting them with the most-suitable grape varieties—the Butte is most suitable for Merlots, while the slopes are best suited to Cabernets.
From planting to harvesting
Achieving a wine of quality first requires good grapes. From the planting stage, a rigorous approach is essential not only for choosing grape varieties and root stock but also for maintenance—a young plantation should be tended like a garden. The vine stock then requires constant attention throughout its life. Pruning, tilling and interventions on the plants (especially leaf and cluster thinning) are part of the same desire for perfection. Experienced winegrowers use the “Guyot double” training method where two canes, known as “astes” are conserved. Only 3 buds per cane remain to reduce yields and boost quality.
Great wines are produced from vines with low yields. At Château La Tour Carnet, control of yields is essential. Adequate pruning, rigorous maintenance, and sensible cluster thinning lead to low quantities of exceptionally concentrated grapes. Cluster thinning, where excess clusters are removed, is carried out in two stages to make the whole operation more precise. Leaf thinning, also performed in two stages, as well as increasing the height of the trellis, helps guarantee quality grapes. The average yields obtained are around 40-45 hectoliters per hectare.
Grapes are harvested by hand at optimum maturity. Sometimes only part of a row can be harvested while the remaining section is harvested several days later, when the grapes are perfectly ripe. This plot-based management of our crop is specific to the Château La Tour Carnet, and requires great knowledge of the vineyard and impeccable organization. The speed with which our many harvesters intervene enables us to optimize grape ripening.
Grapes are sorted by the pickers, and then placed in small crates to minimize the risk of the fruit being crushed.
In the cellar
The crates' contents are carefully placed onto a sorting table. Undesirable scraps such as leaves and leafstalks etc. are eliminated along with green or spoiled bunches. The grapes are then destemmed to remove the fruit from the stems. Pressing is not performed systematically. The grapes undergo further selection on a sorting table and are then conveyed to the oak fermentation vats. Any plant debris likely to bring a “grassy” flavor is thus removed to focus on the roundness characteristic of Château La Tour Carnet's wine. From next year onwards, 50 % of the Grand Vin will be vinified in 18 wooden vats, which will be replaced every four years. The remainder ferments in stainless steel vats. The usual technique of pumping-over is replaced by hand-plunging, where the cap is pushed into the fermenting juice to gently extract substances desired, such as tannins, anthocyanins, and polyphenols, etc. The flow of the grapes by gravity, the use of oak vats and hand-plunging are a return to the traditional methods used in the Médoc region in the past. The aim of these techniques is to obtain a complex, silky wine, with powerful balanced tannins and great aromatic persistence.
Fermentation temperatures never exceed 30 to 32° in order to aid the development of delicate aromas. Alcoholic fermentation takes place for 8-9 days. Maceration, meanwhile, lasts three weeks. The free-run wines are separated from the press wines. Malolactic fermentation takes place in new barrels.
1,500 new barrels are bought each year! These barrels hold the new vintage and are gathered together in the impressive amphitheater-shaped cellars of the Château La Tour Carnet.
Grand Vins are matured in barrels for 18 months—50% of the barrels are new. Vinified according to the same method as our first wine, Les Douves de Carnet, Château La Tour Carnet's second wine, has a round and pleasantly fruity structure, but is less intense than its distinguished partner, so may be tasted younger. “Les Douves de Carnet” is aged in barrels for about15 months. Racking is performed delicately, on specific days of the month, and without pumping. We use the traditional method of egg white fining.
A month before bottling, the wine is returned to vats to round it off and then is blended, the final step that will reveal Château La Tour Carnet's vintage.
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Château Fombrauge is the largest Grand Cru Classé of Saint-Emilion with a vineyard stretching on 58.60 hectares (143 ac.). It is its exceptional surface area that gives the soil a unique character... A typicity in diversity. Diversity of soils but also multiple exposures donate Château Fombrauge’s wine complexity and identity.
To express the richness of this soil, Bernard Magrez combines in Château Fombrauge ancestral knowledge and viticulture of precision. The result? An exquisite wine, a Grand Cru Classé of Saint-Emilion.
The first written mentions of Fombrauge date back to about six centurie ago. In 1466, a medieval squire, named Jacques de Canolle, declares himself Lord of Fombrauge after having acquired the property.
According to historians, his family is descendant of Sir Robert Knowles,an illustrious English captain whose opponent was Du Guesclin, grand Seneschal of Guyenne who died in 1407. His grand-son, Peter Canolle, succeeded him in 1575. He was a man of knowledge and ennobled by its treasurer of France responsabilty and became burgher of the city of Bordeaux. He rapidly started working to grow his land by planting the first vines... On the eve of the seventeenth century, Fombrauge Estate is transmitted by alliance to the Dumas family and from this day on, will therefore be called Dumas of Fombrauge.
At the end of this century, the advisor Dumas of Fombrauge then owner and active member of the Bordeaux "Nursery" physiocrat club is involved body and soul in qualitative development of Château Fombrauge.
The club created in 1760 became a real school of application for agriculture. The vineyard of the current Château Fombrauge therefore benefited from the knowledge of these talents as to ensure its development.
Specialists started following the vineyard growth and applying the most modern technical practices at the time, on the vines, plots selection and vinification.
From now on, their success will be exceptional. But this is when the French Revolution occurs. In 1794, the descendant of Jacques Dumas was guillotined and the area became national property until 1808, until when the children of the deceased were able to assert their rights on the property. They will finally give in Château Fombrauge to Ferdinand de Taffard. With him, Château Fombrauge won the gold medal at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1867. A consecration ...
More than a century later, in 1987, Château Fombrauge is assigned to a large Danish trading house for 12 years, which will limit the sales of Fombrauge wines to the Scandinavian markets.
In 1999 Bernard Magrez, a visionary entrepreneur acquires the Château. Thus began an era of wide-scale works on the Estate... Mister Bernard Magrez's acquisition of Fombrauge brought new perspectives for this Grand Cru de Saint-Emilion in terms of product quality and expertize, and in terms of restructuring the vineyard, the cellar, the reception facilities, the charterhouse and gardens.
In September 2012, the Château received the highest award for the Saint Emilion appellation when it was officially classified as a Grand Cru Classé, the crowning glory for all the hard work and investment undertaken to improve the estate.
Château Fombrauge is the largest Grand Cru Classé of Saint-Emilion with a vineyard stretching on 58.60 hectares (143 ac.). It is its exceptional surface area that gives the soil a unique character... A typicity in diversity. Diversity of soils but also multiple exposures donate Château Fombrauge’s wine complexity and identity. Soil diversity, of course, because it is composed of asteriated limestone from the Tertiary, white clay and white molasses rocks, but also because of its multiple exposures that gives the wine its complexity and identity.
It is indeed the almost only Estate to benefit from the added-value of its large surface. The combination of different soils gives the quality and specificity of Château Fombrauge’s wine too. But the richness of the land wouldn’t be anything without the use of precision techniques. Bernard Magrez gave to the Estate the use of more advanced technologies such as a drone, an extremely effective tool to properly conduct the vines and vineyard.
Né à Villandraut en 1264, Bertrand de Goth est nommé le 28 Mars 1295 évêque de Comminges, dans les Pyrénées, jusqu’en 1299, date à laquelle il est nommé archevêque de Bordeaux par le pape.
Along with the use of latest technology, Château Fombrauge works to ensure much of the work in accordance with the more traditional methods: use of animal traction and manual harvest in small crates. But this culture of precision and excellence in the vineyard is also found in the winery: sorting table before and after de-stemming; encuvage gravity wooden tubs; maceration; manual pigeages, running off into French oak barrels of which 50% are new. Thus, to carry out a high quality wine, Château Fombrauge has a wide variety of containers: wooden vats, cement tanks, stainless steel and terracotta jars. The use of these four types of containers allows at once to get the best expression of the fruit, while taking advantage of the tannic structure.
Similarly, plot selection and intra-plot follows up in the cellar, where the diversity of containers are used to make wine volumes from the barrel to the tank up to 90 hl. Those small and medium containers allow to isolate the most homogeneous lots, under the varietal, maturity and health of the grapes, the age of the vine.
Finally, the assembly of the grapes variety - essential step in Bordeaux - is implemented in close collaboration between the teams of Château Fombrauge and Michel Rolland, world-wide famouse oenologist- expert.
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Le Clos, whose name Peyraguey means promontory, is a jewel of vines lulled by the sun and fed by the mists of Ciron river which allow growing velvet beans that give a unique and prestigious golden wine: Sauternes of Clos Haut Peyraguey. The vineyard of Clos Haut-Peyraguey, nestled at the highest point of the plateau of Bommes in Sauternes is at the heart of the Premiers Grands Crus in 1855. It sits opposite the Chateau d'Yquem, and its immediate neighbors are called Rayne- Vigneau, Sigalas-Rabaud, Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Castle, Guiraud and La Tour Blanche!
This ancient barony acquired in the eighteenth century by Monsieur Pichard - then President of the Parliament of Bordeaux - has enjoyed through the decades a unique terroir and climatic conditions combined with an ancestral know-how enabling it to make its grapes play, a symphony excellence.
When classified in 1855, the area was called Château Peyraguey. In 1879 the Estate was split in two. One part was called Lafaurie-Peyraguey as a tribute to Mr. Lafaurie (former owner) who gave the Château its fame and the highest land on top of Bommes hill, was named Clos Haut-Peyraguey.
It is in 2012 that Bernard Magrez acquired Clos Haut-Peyraguey to the Pauly family who ran the property since 1914. In order to perpetuate the excellence of the Premier Grand Cru Classé of Sauternes but also to give it an international reputation, Bernard Magrez ensures make meticulous care in the vineyard is in the tradition but also innovation to produce a unique wine: high-Peyraguey Clos, Sauternes Insiders.
A Premier Grand Cru Classé in 1855 with famous owners.
Peyraguey whose name means hill or promontory, is an ancient barony acquired in the eighteenth century by the President of Bordeaux Parliament, Mister Pichard who was guillotined during the French Revolution. It is at this point that Mr. Lafaurie acquired the Estate under the name of Pichard-Lafaurie.
Between 1864 and 1879 the property went from the hands of Mr. Saint Rieul Dupouy to the ones of Count Duchatel. When sharing the legacy in 1879, the area was then divided in two: one part was named Lafaurie-Peyraguey as a tribute to Mr. Lafaurie who had given fame and prestige to the Estate, and the highest land on top of Bommes hill, was named Clos Haut-Peyraguey. The latter were then acquired by a Parisian pharmacist, Mr. Grillon.
In 1914, Eugène Garbay, Jacques Pauly's great grandfather, purchased the Clos Haut-Peyraguey with Fernand Ginestet (he was already the owner of the Château Haut-Bommes). Several years later, Monsieur Ginestet left his share to the family business. Eugène Garbay offered both properties to his grandsons, Bernard and Pierre, who exploited both properties for many years.
Martine Langlais-Pauly, born in the residential buildings of the property, saw his grandfather and his great-uncle Bernard and Peter, working in the vineyard and winery with his father Jacques Pauly. After 50 years of tireless work and passion, his father Jacques Pauly, then aged 75 years, handed over the management of Clos Haut-Peyraguey to his daughter.
It is in 2012 that Bernard Magrez acquires the Clos Haut-Peyraguey to the Pauly family to perpetuate the excellence of this Sauternes but also to give it an international renown.
Clos Haut-Peyraguey with 12 ha of vineyard - including 8 ha spread on one-piece area -, situated nearby Ciron river (a tributary of the Garonne river), sees its vines lying between 50 and 80 meters on a complex gravelly-sandy soils that appeal to Semillon grapes variety (covering almost the whole area) and Sauvignon grape variety. In the vineyards, the gestures are those of sustainable agriculture.
Replacing the vine plants by complantation, which means by replacing the plant in the ranks and not replacing the entire plots. Once the famous botrytis (noble rot) appeared on the grapes, the harvest is manual and done in several passages, retaining only the most concentrated grape sugar and flavorings.
Batch fermentation is carried out for fifteen to twenty days in local temperate at 22 ° C in temperature-regulated tanks.In the winery, after a slow and progressive pressing, the fermentation and maturing take place in new oak barrels or old wine, the proportions varying according to the richness of musts. Breeding takes about 20 months in new oak barrels to 20%. Bottling is made at the Château 22 months after the harvest.
The vineyard of Clos Haut-Peyraguey is composed of gravelly sandy soils over clay subsoil, soil traversed by veins of clay and sandy soils. This diversity is directly related to the quality of the terroir of the Clos. These different soil profiles and character differences brought to the grape (structure, bold, power, and associated with great finesse, complexity and elegance) play an undeniable role in the aromatic richness and complexity of the wine of Clos Haut-Peyraguey.
The controlled planting of vineyards allows tracking patch quality and helps managing the grapes picking all according to a fully sustainable agriculture. The northeast orientation of the majority of plots gives a combination of sun and morning fog to the grapes. This also fosters an excellent ripening of the grapes and the development of botrytis cinerea, the famous noble rot which gives the Sauternes of Clos Haut-Peyraguey its unique character and flavor.
Pressing is carried out in the reception room of the harvest, with 2 pneumatic presses. Press cycles are long and gradual, in order to extract the best complex aromas contained in the grapes. The juice flows by gravity into a subterranean tank.
Once pressed grapes, a light racking is performed under controlled temperature and turbidity of the must, in order to isolate the most numerous impurities from the press juice. Then the musts are sung in new barrels into the fermentation cellar. Once the desired balance achieved, the wines are chilled for several hours at 4 ° C. The wine is then racked, sulphite and sung in farmed winery. Each batch of wine is aged separately. This allows judging the quality in the evolution of the wine. Each batch is tested and tasted regularly, and at this stage pre-assemblies are made. The bonding can clarify and refine the wine before bottling. Many micro-tests are carried out to adapt the best method and the best dose on a large scale. No operation is systematic. After completing these actions, the final assembly of the wine can be achieved.
Then comes the time of bottling taking place at the property according to very precise quality criteria. Rigor and constant quest for excellence are key words to Clos Haut-Peyraguey. Expertise, are in addition to all the steps that make Clos Haut-Peyraguey the Sauternes of the insiders, a Premier Grand Cru Classé in 1855.
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