Science and Tradition Infused
The birthplace of the great wines of the Bordeaux, the Pessac – Leognan appellation known for its fantastic terroir due to the gravel and rich mineral content.
That is all thanks to the river and glaciers that have brought down silts of deposits which make for great wines in the region of Villenave d’Ornon.
A vineyard in this region is a lucky one as the soil makes for both great red and white wines which is not a very common practice anywhere else but in order to have a winery one must know what they are doing as it takes time and patience and patience and passion to make a wine that can be enjoyed and savoured.
With every vineyard come a history and a great responsibility to protect the soil and the vines, but there is also a time for experimentation, so that every bottle has a uniquely different taste from the next and the French National Institute of Agricultural Research had this in mind when they purchased the estate.
Chateau Couhins takes its name from the geographical position and in the 1700’s it was known as La Gravette Bordeaux and belonged to the Banchereau family who then sold it to a wine merchant by the name of Constantin Hanappier and at the time only red wines were produced.
The estate was then purchased by the well known Gasqueton family as an inheritance and as they already owned a few estates in the region, wine making began to change with the introduction to white wines as well as red.
The exceptional wines made forced an expansion of the property and at this time the Chateau Pont du Langon was purchased to give the estate a further 60 hectares.
The 1955 classification was established and Edouard Gasqueton’s estate received a Cru Classe de Graves status, giving them a successful time of production.
Edouard Gasqueton passed away in 1962 bringing an end to his golden era; the estate was producing a succession of bad vintages that led them to make decisions in 1967 where they leased a portion of the property to Andre Lurton, splitting the vineyards into two sections.
Chateau Couhins was in ruins as it had been abandoned and the Chateau Couhins – Lurton was thriving with the production of red wines too.
The second portion of the vineyards was finally sold and the French Institute of Agriculture purchased the land and gave a further 1.5 hectares of the vineyard to the Lurton family.
Inra restructured the vineyards and constructed wine making facilities and today they have 25 hectares of vines and a production that included the combination of traditions and scientific research.
In 2007 with marketing and research, the wines of the estate began to sell and this has helped rebuild the reputation of the estate.
The vine vigour is mapped out with a sensor or GPS analysing the light and the reflection, helping with the vegetation index and their technology also helps with the prevention of parasites.
Vinification processes are different from the red and white wines; the white grapes are stored in a cold room for one night before they are pressed and then macerated with a pneumatic press which helps in the extraction of the flavour from the skins.
After settling the yeasts take over to transform into flavours with citrus, exotic fruit and white flowers.
They are then matured on lees that are suspended and stirred preventing oxidation.
Temperature controlled vats, barrels and casks are used to bring a greater complexity to the blend.
The red grapes are also stored in a cold room overnight, but are transported by gravity to the tanks.
The juices after maceration are transferred to vats and new barrels for malolactic fermentation. Once this is complete, the wine is placed into one year old barrels and then new barrels for 12 months.
From Biology to the Bottle
Now that we understand the technical process and the science behind the innovative production, let us go over the wines that are on offer from Château Couhins.
Pessac – Leognan White is a lively wine with the aromas of citrus fruit and white fruit. An annual production of 20000 bottles per year and it consists of 95% Sauvignon Blanc and 5% Sauvignon Gris.
2009 Chateau Couhins Red has a floral and perfumed aroma with a dark cherry and plum feel and hints of liquorice, iron and vegetable notes.
2010 Chateau Couhins Blanc has a pale lemon green hue with aromas of green fruit, gooseberry, lemon and grapefruit and is a refreshing but dry wine with oak notes.
Couhins La Gravette is the estates second wine and it is sold in red and white.
2007 Couhins La Gravette White wine has a strong personality with aromas of citrus and peach.
2009 Couhins La Gravette Red is a ruby colour with aromas of toasted red fruits.
Visit Château Couhins
You are able to visit the Château by appointment and if you are interested in having a function there, then this can be done too, but it would be an interesting visit by doing the tour where you can see the science integrated with the traditions as you sample the tastes that have been so well developed.
Phone: +33 5 56 30 77 61
Chemin de la Gravette B.P. 81
33883 Villenave d’Ornon Cedex Bordeaux, France
I have been online since it all began, with blogging and creating websites. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one of my passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂