The Story of a Dowry and a Yellow Chateau Lafon–Rochet
A fantastic thing about wine making and wineries is that there is so many stories and a history that go beyond the art of winemaking.
It is not just in the taste of a good wine, with its silky layers surrounding your glass, but with every sip that is taken, a character built through the vines and the trail that leads to the production of each and every bottle.
At Château Lafon – Rochet, there is a story and a history that tells the tale of the wine that began in the late 16th century.
The story began when Antoinette de Guillemotte purchased the land of Rochet as a dowry to her husband, a well-known Member of Parliament, Pierre de Lafon.
The chateau was renamed Lafon – Rochet and this estate was one of the very few that were not confiscated during the French revolution.
The owners of the property kept this estate in their name for over two centuries until the death of Madam Lafon de Rochet Camarsac when the chateau fell into a deep state of disrepair and was then sold to the Tesseron family in 1959.
The family renovated and altered the chateau completely as it was in such bad shape.
Not only was the property suffering, the vineyards were too, and they replanted and extended from a 17 hectare estate to almost double the size, which made the Medoc property a well suited place for wine making.
The vineyards were replanted with the vines being placed in the correct soils as most of what was left had been planted incorrectly.
Not only did they replant and repair the vineyards, but they built a completely new chateau, which strangely enough has the 1855 classification even though it was erected in the 20th century.
The cellar was replaced and the 45 hectare estate was reborn with its limestone, clay and marl soils, giving the vines the minerals that they needed to grow into a Bordeaux quality vineyard.
In 1999, Michel Tesseron took over from his father and with forty years of experience in the wine business, decided to alter the look of the 18th century chateau to a more modern and contemporary estate by adding -*bright colours, yellow, to the chateau with an artistic twist that is represented on the labels of their wines today.
He also altered the cellar and added circular wooden barrels that would preserve the family’s core values of sharing and respecting the vines and the vineyard, which was fulfilling his father’s dreams.
Michel’s son Basile Tesseron is currently the management of the chateau and at this estate they practice organic and biodynamic farming techniques.
Most of the vines are 35 years old, but they do have Merlot vines that were planted in 1938.
The cellar is equipped with stainless steel and concrete vats and the malolactic fermentation takes place in 50% new French oak barrels and 50% stainless steel tanks with ageing done in 100% new French oak barrels for 9 months before it has been moved to 1 year barrels for yet another 9 months.
The winemakers use optical sorting technology that allows them to have complete control as the equipment roots out damaged or unripe fruit, leaving only the best quality grapes behind.
The harvesting is done by hand with the same team of 40 every year.
Twenty five people permanently work on the estate throughout the year and this was the first chateau in the Bordeaux to join Googles 3d map viewing system.
The Château Lafon – Rochet Wines
Chateau Lafon – Rochet has two wines and the first wine is Lafon – Rochet, second is Les Pelerins de Lafon Rochet and Les Secrets de Lafon Rochet.
Now that we know the history and the diversity that is in the production of the wines, let us explore the tastes that have centuries of knowledge behind it.
Chateau Lafon – Rochet 2013 is 30% Merlot and 70% Cabernet Sauvignon with a red fruity personality and aromas of black fruit, made with the grapes from their oldest vineyard.
1990 Chateau Lafon – Rochet has aromas of tobacco, cherry, spices, stone and earth with rustic notes and it is a fully matured and medium bodied wine.
Les Pelerins de Lafon Rochet 2010 is the second wine in the Lafon Rochet collection. 2009 was the best grape growing season in the Medoc region since the 1950’s which makes this a good bottle with a good year.
This wine has lilac, plum and cherry notes with a chalky edge.
Visit Château Lafon – Rochet
A visit to this bright and colourful chateau is a fantastic idea.
With the history and the generations of knowledge and enthusiasm that can be tasted in the wines on the guided tour whilst you appreciate the reconstruction of the vines into what you can feel today as you tickle your taste buds in the cellars of the Chateau Lafon – Rochet.
Route de Blanquet
33180 Saint-Estèphe 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 🙂