Bordeaux may extend over a large area from right to left bank but it takes more than the 100km drive from Pauillac to Saint Emilion to stop some owners and winemakers spanning both banks.
Several examples spring to mind, The Domaines Baron de Rothschild owns Bordeaux vineyards from Chateau Lafite in Pauillac down south to Chateau Rieussec in Sauternes and across to Chateau l’Evangile in Pomerol. Axa Millesimes follows a similar path of Classified growths from Chateau Pichon Longueville in Pauillac via Chateau Suduiraut in Sauternes and Chateau Petit Village in Pomerol and Chanel is also spread across the Gironde from Chateau Rauzan Segla in Margaux to Chateau Canon in Saint Emilion, to name but a few.
Now another left back icon has firmly established itself on the right bank. In 2009 Domaine Clarence Dillon purchased classified growth Chateau Tertre Daugay from the de Malet family, owners of first growth Chateau La Gaffelière in Saint Emilion. As well as being an historical player in Bordeaux, Clarence Dillon wines are moving with the times and this purchase seems to be part of a continued strategy by the group to create a coherent Bordeaux offer. The family purchased first growth Chateau Haut Brion in 1935 and the neighbouring Chateau La Mission Haut Brion in 1983, both in Pessac. In 2005, under the current management of Prince Robert of Luxembourg, they introduced their Clarendelle branded wine in red, white, rosé and amber (Monbazillac) and then simplified the identity of their Chateau wine brands in 2009. In 2013 they purchased Tertre Daugay’s neighbour; Chateau l’Arrosée, also a Saint Emilion Classififed growth, to make a single and unique estate : Chateau Quintus.
The new name takes it’s inspiration from the roman history of the region; the remains of a roman villa and traces wine making from the era have been found in the area of Chateau La Gaffelière and trenches dug into the limestone at neighbouring Chateau Bellevue, are thought to indicate signs of roman vine plantations.
The Romans named their 5th child Quintus so following on from Haut Brion white and red and La Mission white and red here is their 5th child, the repeated ‘V’ type face is a bit of a give away . The second wine, Dragon de Quintus, refers to the protection offered by the mythical beast, a tenuous reference to the look out tower on this promontory offering protection to the town, which also features on the label. It just so happens that it may also prove popular with the Asian market and it certainly looks great on the label.
Along with the purchase of Chateau L’Arrosée they also inherited the incumbent regisseur; Francois Capdemourlin, whose local knowledge along with the skills of the Clarence Dillon team bodes well for the 28 ha of vines. With an average age of 30 years the vineyard is planted in the traditional blend of Merlot (66%), Cabernet Franc 26% and Cabernet Sauvignon (8%).
The property enjoys a spectacular position on south-western edge of the limestone plateau that dominates the appellation. It’s a good neighbourhood; this plateau is where most of the 1st growths of Saint Emilion are found. It is a unique position; at 62m above sea level it dominates both the southern and northern facing slopes giving a complex terroir of limestone on the south slopes and a mixture of clay limestone and some gravel on the northern slopes.
Wine making takes place in the circular vat house in a mix of stainless and oak vats and blending, as at the other Dillon properties, takes place prior to barrel ageing in 100% new oak. The first vintage under the new label is 2011 now available on the market in a bottle reminiscent of the Haut Brion bottle, embossed and with sloping shoulders modelled on a 19th century bottle of Haut Brion found in a pirates treasure trove. Guarded by a dragon perhaps?
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