“One of the stars of the appellation” is how the French wine magazine La Revue des Vins de France has described Chateau MONCONSEIL GAZIN, at Plassac, one of the best sites in the BLAYE COTES DE BORDEAUX appellation.
The slopes face south and south-west, ensuring optimal ripening conditions for the grapes. Clay-limestone soils and stony subsoil give excellent drainage, allowing the vines to develop deep rooting systems which protect against dry summers and encourage complexity in the wines. These aspects of terroir, combined with the meticulous winemaking of Jean-Michel Baudet, give the wines of the Chateau a consistently high quality.
The 24 hectares (60 acres) are planted with Merlot (two-thirds), with Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Cabernet Franc making up the rest. There are also 2 hectares (5 acres) of Sauvignon blanc and Semillon for the whites.
The estate was the first in its region to be certified for sustainable viticulture under TERRA VITIS, an independently audited regime practised by over 400 vineyards in France. This guarantees the use of practices to protect and preserve the environment, such as the use of organic fertilizers and encouragement of biodiversity in the vineyard. Impressive aspects of TERRA VITIS include the very low limits of copper and sulphur allowed (less than organic regimes), and the reduction of fuel used in working the vineyard.
Harvesting is carried out by hand and machine, and Jean-Michel combines traditional know-how with his expertise and modern techniques to produce wines that are balanced, concentrated and elegant.
The Chateau wins many awards for its wines in the major wine competitions, and is regularly starred by the top independent wine guide HACHETTE.
Chateau Ricaud is the neighbour estate to Monconseil Gazin and shares its south and south-west facing limestone slopes. The name “Ricaud” derives from “riches eaux”, or rich waters – the ancient site of a watermill where peasants from miles around brought their wheat to be milled, their wool to be washed, and their linen to be soaked. The payment for these activities brought riches.
In the 17th Century Ricaud was one of the largest and most famous estates, and prior to phylloxera had the most advanced winemaking facilities in the region, but phylloxera hit very hard, and the estate fell into disrepair. Michel Baudet, the father of today’s winemaker Jean-Michel Baudet, grabbed the opportunity to buy the estate in 1962, joining it with his existing property Monconseil Gazin. With a winery in lamentable condition, and a few vines growing amongst the brambles and rocks, the Baudets set about renovating and restoring this estate to its former glory.
Today Chateau Ricaud wines rival Monconseil Gazin. Awarded 90 points by Wine Enthusiast for the 2010 vintage, and with regular citings in the top independent French wine guide Hachette, Chateau Ricaud is a wine of consistently high quality and elegance.
VIGNOBLES MICHEL BAUDET – OTHER CHATEAUX / SECOND WINES: