Pass the vineyards of Petrus and keep going! Sip some of Bordeaux’s top wines from the Right Bank in a beautiful setting in the rolling countryside of Lalande de Pomerol. A 19th century château and buildings that date from the 1600s provides your scenery. It feels like it is your own, as you are (and this is very rare in Bordeaux) invited to enter a grand hallway (recently repainted by artists to mimic the marble paint effects of bygone years) and able to wander through its antique-packed cosy family rooms. Around you lies a protected 15 hectare parkland of grassland and rare old trees planted some 2 to 300 years ago (such as a giant sequoia and rare Virginia Tulip tree – ancient trees from foreign lands planted by Aline’s grandfather, a Navy Admiral. The backdrop to this idyllic setting (as if you needed one), is the dramatic spired medieval village of St Emilion perched high on its limestone plateau.
Owned by the same family since 1832, the Guichards are well-known in the area and beyond, particularly for politics; grandfather Baron Louis Guichard and father Olivier Guichard, a well-known French politician (Minister for Justice for Giscard d’Estaing in the 70s ). He was born here at Néac and was the village’s mayor for many years.
Today the property of 36 hectares Château Siaurac is run by free-thinking Aline and her husband Paul who took over after the death of Aline’s father in 2004. Two hundred years of heritage continued by a line of six generations was not going to be given up easily.
Rather than sell out (French inheritance taxes are cripplingly high and are causing many of France’s vineyards to be sold out to corporations – insurance companies, banks…), the couple bought out family members and set about a massive programme of ‘Renaissance’ – renovation in the vineyards and winery, winemaking (I met the couple whilst studying at the University of Bordeaux faculty of oenology). Producing the wine as naturally as possible has been an important focus since the beginning. They also audaciously changed their way of selling the wine, direct rather than through the traditional wine merchant route.
Not only did they take on Siaurac but Aline’s savy grandfather, Baron Louis, bought two tiny but brilliant jewels, a tiny Pomerol estate of just under 4 hectares very close to the famous Petrus and Trotanoy and the 6 hectare Le Prieuré in the heart of St Emilion neighbour to Premier Grand Cru Classé properties (Pavie Maquin, Troplong Mondot,Trotteveille) not far from Pavie, today an A.
Already Siaurac welcomes many visitors to enjoy its wines and the wines of its other prestigious estates in its peaceful setting surrounded by nature. Simple beautiful picnics are available to accompany the wines as well as blending workshops and other more specialist tastings. Dynamic Céline (firstname.lastname@example.org) works fulltime to accommodate all of the innovative activities which including weddings and other events. A new initiative includes riding through the beautiful vineyards surrounding the château (with non-profit making http://www.aterreacheval.com).
Ten years on and the investments of such an estate needs to continue. With so much potential, the plans are unlimited. With so much potential, outside investment has become the next step in the family’s adventure. François Pinault, of Artemis (Gucci, Puma, Christies) and owner of first growth Château Latour and Château Grillet in the Rhône, has become involved and taken on a minority share in the estate since March 2014.
The château is being renovated and there are plans to extend the tasting area currently in a beautiful old orangery (that used to store the tractors). The park in front of the château will soon have its own reception area in the trees. Latour’s own biodynamic expert (one of the many women working at the estate including a female Cellar Master!) was present at the château while I was visiting putting a progamme of conversion into place.
The three properties remain in the hands of the family. The saga continues and all estates are fast on their way to realising their absolute potential. Beware the prices will follow suite.
This is the time to buy these wines.
Futures 2013 Château Siaurac and Co
(20 to 30% reduction on price available direct from the château, so no middle men, up until 20 July 2014)
I tasted the 2013 Château Siaurac which with its increased level of Malbec was juicy and exotically fruity (9.90€ per bottle futures price ex tax).
2013 Future price for Le Prieuré (22,50€) and Vray Croix de Gay (31,70€) are steals!
Not for much longer I sense.
Contact Céline: email@example.com