The Chateau without a Chateau, Built with Passion and Succeeding in Receiving the Grand Cru Classe Classification, Chateau Pouget.
This 17 hectare estate is located in Cantenac, in the Gironde department of Aquitaine, France and is one of the very few estates that do not have an actual chateau in accordance with the 1855 Grand Cru Classe classification system, created by Emperor Napoleon where he rated the wines according the location and the chateau as well as the quality of the vineyards.
Most of the estates in the region have a chateau that was built as far back as the 11th century, but for Chateau Pouget, there is a completely different story to tell and even though they do not have a chateau, they do have their classification of the Medoc, Bordeaux estates and they are one of the very few classified growths that sell their wines exclusively to one negotiant, the Cordier Group.
Legend has it that the estate was first owned by the monks, but records show that the first owner was Etienne Monthil who held the property in 1650 and then handed it down to his granddaughter, who then bequeathed it to Francois, who then built the chateau.
In a tiny street not too far off from the village of Margaux, Chateau Pouget was a cellar where the front portion was turned into a house in 1748.
Francois Antoin Pouget, a wine lover who was awarded the coat of arms for his chateau during the classification system, inherited both the estate and the vineyards, keeping it in the family until 1771, when a portion of the estate was annexed due to the French revolution.
However, his daughter and her husband managed to keep the chateau for almost 150 years before it was sold to the Guillemet family, who still own it today in this century.
The coat of arms is present on their bottles of wine today and the terroir consists of gravel and sandy soils, in the Margaux appellation.
The vineyards are farmed using organic methods and pruning is manually performed in winter so that it can determine what number of shoots the vine will carry for the following spring, which is when they remove unwanted shoots and placing them in better positions which will allow for a good production of fruit.
August is when the grapes become a dark purple colour which means that they are matured and ready to be harvested, although period tasting is required to determine the actual date when they begin to hand pick the grapes and prepare for fermentation.
Fermentation takes place in cement and stainless steel vats that are temperature controlled and monitored.
The wine is barrel aged in split oak barrels for 12 to 24 months where they separate from their lees, enhancing the characteristics of the wines.
Grapes from each section of the vineyard are kept separately and tasted in order to use the best ones for the Chateau Pouget and the other ones, mostly the younger lots are used to create the second wine, Antoinette Pouget in honour of the first owner Francois Pouget, king councillor during the reign of King Louis XV.
The technical director of the estate today is Lucien Guillemet, who has vast experience and knowledge of wine making with the belief that the wines produced on the estate should resemble their terrain.
He manages the estate with subtlety and conviction.
In the Cellar
Chateau Pouget is the personification of Margaux wine, with the grace and style of a perfectly ripe Cabernet Sauvignon, blended with red and black fruit, possessing a depth and finesse.
It is a 4th Grand Cru Classe wine and has a production of 3000 cases per vintage per year.
With a beginning centuries ago, there are no limits to what the Chateau Pouget will come up with, especially as they strive to achieve the best vintages with the careful and meticulous farming methods and the cellar masters and time old knowledge that has been passed down from generation to generation.
2009 Chateau Pouget was made when the summer in France was named one of the best years as the heat was not excessive.
This wine is uncomplicated and easy to drink
2010 Chateau Pouget has a floral and blackberry character with a fresh round end note.
Visit Château Pouget
Visiting the chateau is a must do on your list as there are so many interesting facts to learn about when going on a tour.
Not only for the process and production but to hear people who are passionate and ambitious enough to have succeeded through the centuries, whilst maintaining the classification of a good wine, even though there was no château to begin with.
Route de Jean Faure 11
33460 Cantenac 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 🙂