Château La Tour Carnet
“The Uncut Diamond”
Living a dream is wonderful and not many of us get to follow through, but when you find someone that has successfully made their dreams come true, it is an interesting story to find out how they achieved their goals and what the driving force is behind their dreams.
Bernard Magrez is one of those people who have lived their dreams and he is one of the oldest producers of Bordeaux wine in the Haut- Medoc appellation and is the sole owner of four classified growths in various appellations.
Bernard was born in 1936, made his fortune as the founder of a spirit’s company and also owns a large number of wine producing properties in many countries and Bordeaux wine estates; Chateau Pape Clement, Fombrauge, Clos Haut – Peyraguey and Chateau La Tour Carnet.
La Tour Carnet is one of the top producers in the Haut Medoc appellation in the south west of France on the left bank of the Gironde Estuary and it originates back to the middle ages, built as a fortress in the medieval era.
The estate was first named Chateau de Saint Laurent but the land was inhabited by the English in the 12th century and eventually fell under French rule.
It was an important fort that had a moat and drawbridge, which is still there today and some parts of the building, especially around the tower date back to the 11th century.
The tower was built by Count Jean de Foix, who then owned the property and his squire Jean Carnet is whom the chateau is named after.
Due to the loyalty of Count Jean de Foix to the King of England, both he and his squire would not bow down to the king of France.
Because of this, the castle was under attack until Count Foix died and left the fortress to his squire, who had a siege in the castle until he was defeated and the King of France demanded that the building be destroyed.
After centuries of war, the property changed ownership a few times before it was purchased by Charles de Leutken, a Swedish nobleman and wine merchant, and due to him being foreign, the chateau was not subject to revolutionary laws.
In 1855, the second generation Leutken’s wife Angelique Raymond established a Grand Cru Classe classification for the estate and it continued on for generations until the phylloxera got the better of the vines and the estate took a beating, losing its status until there was a major decline in the property’s value.
In 1962 the estate was taken over by the owner of a towing company, who renovated and restored the chateau.
Lipschitz replanted the vines and for the next ten years spent his time rehabilitating the viticulture and buildings.
In 1978 the estate was given to his daughter Marie – Claire Pelegrin who completed the work of her father with the help of her husband Guy Francois, inventing a rotating sorting table as well as restoring and conservating the estate until it was almost back to its former glory.
It was in 1999 when Bernard Magrez purchased the estate and wanted to continue on to restore the chateau.
The Vineyard and Winery
The vines are an average age of 30 and the rich mineral content found in the gravel, limestone and clay soil is good for the production of wine, not to mention the old school ways of doing the harvesting manually and Magrez has introduced drones into the vineyards to analyse the plots so that the vines are planted into the correct soils.
After the grapes are placed onto the sorting table, they are transported into the vats where both stainless steel and wooden ones are used.
The fermentation process involves hand plunging and the extraction of unwanted substances.
Gravity, oak vats and hand plunging are traditional methods used to produce complex, silky and balanced wines.
Ageing is done in new barrels and these are replaced each year except for the Grand Vins which are matured in 50% new French oak barrels for 18 months.
Egg white fining is used and one month before bottling the wine is returned to the vats to be rounded off and this is when the vintage is revealed.
La Tour Carnet is continuously doing research and experimenting with ways to protect the Bordeaux from future problems that they might incur due to climate changes in the region as they fear that the weather might get too hot for the Merlot grape and with the extensive research they intend on protecting the heritage and quality of the wines.
Anti-counterfeiting measures have been implemented for the bottles produced by La Tour Carnet with the old methods of etching and adding invisible ink to the labels of the 100% Merlot cuvee, “Servitude Volontaire,” in order to protect their brand.
Servitude Volontaire as an annual production of 500 bottles and is exclusive to retail stores owned by Magrez.
The Chateau La Tour Carnet has many vintages produced and roughly 15000 bottles of each are sold annually.
It is a deep garnet wine with aromas of blackcurrant and plum ending on roasted notes and ripe fruit with hints of mahogany and biscuit.
Les Douves de Carnet is the second wine produced and is a deep red wine with elegant spices and aromas of fruit and spice
Sire du Chateau La Tour Carnet is a red wine with scarlet and dark purple hints, aromas of vanilla and red fruits ending with a rich and aromatic balance.
Visit Château La Tour Carnet
There is something about knowledge and wine, but without ambition and determination, production is not possible as we are required to have goals and the drive to create what has been created at Chateau La Tour Carnet and giving them a visit would be like finding a polished diamond.
Château La Tour Carnet
33112 Saint-Laurent-Médoc Bordeaux, France
Editor-in-Chief and Wine Writer
Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂