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News

INTERVIEW WITH LAURENT FORTIN

Laurent Fortin joined Château Dauzac in 2013. There he discovered an exceptional terroir, where the vines are tamed beyond time or trends. Q&A with Dauzac’s Chief Executive Officer

 

avec-laurent-fortin

Why did you join Château Dauzac?
Promoting a Grand Cru classified in 1855 is an opportunity you can’t refuse. Over the course of my career, I had the chance to work for big wine producers, to head a cooperative federation and to create my own company. I worked for 16 years in the USA and 4 years in China, and I am now thrilled to be back in my home country to face this new challenge.

 

What is it about Dauzac that won you over?
I was immediately moved by Château Dauzac’s uniqueness. I discovered a remarkable terroir, talented men, who are passionate about their work, and a rich history.

At Dauzac, time seems to pass more slowly. Each moment is quieter and fuller than anywhere else. But we’re not stuck in the past, either. Dauzac has stayed true to its legacy as a pioneer of the Bordeaux mixture and thermoregulation.

Innovation is nothing short of a state of mind at Dauzac, but it is always paired with the greatest respect for nature and our terroir.

 

What are your dreams for Château Dauzac?
Promoting and sharing the emotion of a great wine, by restoring it to its rightful place as one of Margaux best Cinquièmes Grands Crus Classés, as well as strengthening the status of our first and second wines on the Bordeaux market and abroad.

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History

One of the oldest viticultural estates in Médoc
Evidence of wine-making dating back as far as the 12th century has been found in Médoc, and the ‘Bourdieu de Dauzac’ is mentioned as early as 1545 in the records of the Benedictine monks of the Sainte-Croix de Bordeaux Abbey, which the estate was part of.

 

An estate shaped by great wine merchants
In 1622, Jean Cousseau, Prosecutor at the Bordeaux Parliament, purchases the estate. In 1685, a wealthy wine merchant, Pierre Drouillard, buys Dauzac and turns it into one of the most flourishing vineyards in Médoc. After his death, he leaves behind an estate that produces “excellent and high-priced wines”. His daughter, Elisabeth, who was married to Thomas-Michel Lynch, inherits the Château. Born to a family of Irish merchants settled in Bordeaux, the latter continues the work of his father-in-law. Their son, Jean-Baptiste Lynch, a lawyer and the Mayor of Bordeaux from 1809 to 1815, follows in his father’s footsteps, fostering the sustained growth of the estate until his death, in 1836.

 

Château Dauzac: a reference among Margaux wines
The Wiebroocks, which buy the estate in 1841, secure the recognition of Château Dauzac as a Cinquième Cru Classé, in the 1855 ratings. In 1863, the Johnstons, who already owned Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, buy the estate from the Wiebroocks.

 

Innovation: a fundamental of Dauzac’s excellence
Nathaniel Johnston, who had a passion for viticulture, formulated the Bordeaux mixture, which saved vineyards across Europe from mildew. Jean-Jacques Bernat, who buys the estate in 1929, paved the way for thermoregulation applied to vinification, by using blocks of ice to limit temperature variations in the vats during the fermentation process. In 1978, Félix Chatellier and sons, a farm real estate company, hires Emile Peynaud, father of modern oenology, to assess every step of the vinification process.

 

The renewal of Château Dauzac: creating emotion
In 1988, MAIF, a French insurance company, buys Dauzac. In 1992, the company entrusts Vignobles André Lurton with the task of running the estate. Christine Lurton-de-Caix initiates a complete restoration of the vineyard and the Château. In 2013, a new development plan is adopted. Dauzac’s new Managing Director, Laurent Fortin, is setting out to continue Dauzac’s renewal. His ambition is to create emotion by offering the unique experience of enjoying a Grand Cru unlike any other. Dauzac is becoming the perfect expression of its terroir and of a certain idea of the art of living.

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Vineyards

It is the terroir that shapes a wine’s complexity and creates the chemistry to which Château Dauzac owes its success. It is a precious legacy, preserved and exalted by Dauzac’s experts. 

“Great terroirs look out onto the river” 

Proximity to the Gironde is an undeniable marker for Médoc’s Grand Crus. Château Dauzac’s vineyard is no exception, as it stretches along the estuary, less than 400 yards from the edge of the water, over an outcrop with a deep layer of gravel. The vineyard is located in a unique geological vein, which gives its terroir its specificity. These layers of gravel, a remnant of an old fluvial terrace from the Quaternary deposited by the Garonne river, lie over a subsoil consisting of finer gravel from the Pyrenees. Blessed with optimal sun exposure and sheltered from oceanic winds by surrounding woods, the vineyard stretches contiguously over 45 hectares, 42 of which under the Margaux designation and 3 under Haut-Médoc

Because excellent wine requires excellent grapes… 

Since 1993, efforts to restructure the vineyard have been made on the basis of core drillings and digs, to help select the right grape varieties and rootstocks depending on the various soil and sub-soil types. This initiative made it possible to reveal the full personality of this exceptional terroir. A terroir-based agronomic approach At Dauzac, each plot of land gives clues as to how Man should tend to the vines planted on it. Thanks to our team’s work, vines take the most of this deep layer of gravel and can thus reveal their essence.

 

The estate has implemented en eco-friendly initiative, respectful both of the environment and the plants and is determined to honor this commitment: sexual confusion to hinder the proliferation of grape worms, organic fertilizers, etc. Honoring Médoc grape varieties Château Dauzac’s vineyard has a planting density of 10,000 vines per hectare and raises two varieties: Cabernet-Sauvignon (65%) and Merlot (35%). The most common variety in MédocCabernet-Sauvignonproduces wines with a nice aromatic complexity. Merlot brings more roundness, sweetness and fruit to the assemblage, to create expressive, perfectly balanced wines.

 

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Winemaking

A terroir-based agronomical approach
At Dauzac, we put a great deal of passion into cultivating the wealth of know-how that has been passed down from generation to generation. Man’s interventions are as scarce as possible and have only one goal: to reveal the very essence of the plant, with the greatest respect for nature. This terroir-based agronomical approach, which is so important to Philippe Roux, gives every vine the possibility to fully express itself. The restructuring of the 45 hectares of vineyard undertaken in 1993 is now bearing fruit. Planted with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, the vineyard has slowly gained in maturity. It yields grapes of excellent quality, which are the perfect expression of the gravel soil on which they are grown.

 

Delicate harvests
Because each berry requires the greatest attention, the grapes are harvested by hand at Château Dauzac. The harvest is carried out plot by plot, to respect each plot’s micro-identity and protect the berries’ integrity. Plucked from the vines at optimal maturity, the clusters are placed in small crates and brought to the cellar. Crates are then emptied with care onto the sorting table, where we select the best clusters by hand. Using slight vibrations, the destemmer separates the berries from the stem and the peduncle. Gravity-flow makes it possible for the berries to reach the vats without being crushed.

 

Vinification methods adapted to each plot
Each plot of land is unique and receives specific care, season after season. In order to preserve this typicity, vinification methods are adapted to each micro-terroir and implemented plot by plot. After vatting, the grapes are left to macerate before we begin the cold fermentation process, which usually lasts around six days. Only then does fermentation begin.

 

Dauzac’s style revealed during the assemblage
Shaping the personality of the wine through subtle expertise, this is the Cellar Master’s privilege. Assisted by our Consulting Oenologist, he selects the wines to create the final assemblage. Working in unison, they attempt to find the balance between the estate’s style and the character of each year’s harvest. With infinite sensitivity and intuition, they mix the wines produced on various plots with the press wine to reach the right combination of freshness and complexity, of delicacy and tannin strength. And to create vintages that invariably flirt with perfection.

 

The poetry of time
Wines are left to mature under the watchful eye of the Cellar Master. Elaborated from oak wood produced in the most beautiful State-owned forests, the barrels used to mature the wine bring even more complexity to it. Château Dauzac has selected five talented and renowned master coopers, each with their specificities, which makes it possible to gain even more subtlety and nuance during the maturing process.

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Highlights

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Christer Byklum / Leading Scandinavian wine blogger, Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Dauzac . In a tasting of  55 wines 

Finally, after some busy days tasting back home in Oslo, here is 2016 Margaux. A vintage with a lot of success in this commune as well. Beautiful texture, pure fruits and that gorgeous scented in abundance almost Margaux typicity that is shining very clearly this year. Another stellar commune in 2016.

3m 25d ago

 Izak Litwar / The most important Scandinavian Bordeaux Critic, Pro (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Dauzac . In a tasting of  161 wines 

Bordeaux 2016 vintage!

4m 1d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW / Best Sommelier in the World 1998, MW (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Dauzac . In a tasting of  272 wines 

BORDEAUX VINTAGE 2016 / Tasting "en primeur" is a challenge every year. The wines tasted are showing a tendency only and it is still the beginning of a longer process of evolution and maturation in the barrels. There might be some changes during the next year and a half until the wines will be bottled, but already today the tendency is quite clear. For most of the red wines it will be an outstanding vintage, a vintage for Cabernet, old vines, limestone and clay soil. It was a challenging year for the vintners. An incredibly wet spring was worrying the winegrowers and at the beginning of June, the spirits were down. However warm and dry weather between June 3 and June 11 creating an close to ideal situation for the flowering and good weather conditions starting in mid June changed the nature of the vintage. The fine weather continued into July and August. The month of August was featuring hot weather and a remarkable amount of sunshine but the absence of rain let to water stress. Heavy rain in mid September set an end to water stress and when the sun returned on September 20 the vintage was saved as there was excellent weather till to the end of the harvest. The effects were various. the white wines are on a good quality level and display fruit and flavour but the acidity is lower than in previous vintages and the white wines show an opulent and rather soft style. The noble sweet wines are extremely pure and are more on the rich and powerful side than on the freshness. For the red wines originating from the right terroirs and old vines, the vintage an be called outstanding. Water stress was managed well on limestone and clay terroirs, Cabernet varieties did extremely well and old vines found water even during the stressful dry periods of summer. In some few red wines the tannins are slightly harsh, almost bitter, a result of water stress and/or intense extraction. In general the red wines are on an excellent level with an advantage for the left bank, mainly the Médoc area, and the classic great terroirs of Saint-Emilion and Pomerol. 

4m 1d ago

 Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Dauzac . In a tasting of  109 wines 

“Bordeaux 2015 Part II / Château Margaux 2015 / 100-points / Medium deep colour. Lovely cherry, cola, herb aromas. Silky smooth beautifully balanced wine with red currant, red cherry plum flavours with graphite, espresso, chinotto notes, fine loose knit lacy slightly graphite textures and roasted coffee mocha notes. Fruit expands towards the back palate with light graphite plume at the finish. One of the great wines of the vintage and an evocative salute to Ch Margaux’s great winemaker Paul Pontallier (22nd April 1956 – 27th March 2016). 98-100 points ”

1y 3m ago

 Markus Del Monego MW / Best Sommelier in the World 1998, MW (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Dauzac . In a tasting of  502 wines 

“2015 will be one of the excellent vintages however hardly to compare to 2009 and 2010 or 2005. In 2015 the region played a major role, terroir was the key to success. For red wines, the limestone plateau in Saint-Emilion performed extremely well as there was water available during the hot summer days and drainage proved to be ideal during rainy August. Therefore the best wines of Saint-Emilion come from limestone soils. The sandy parts of the appellation produced a quite heterogeneous result. In Pomerol it looked the same with very successful wines from the central plateau and more heterogeneous qualities from the areas around. In Fronsac it was not only the terroir which proved important, the vintners decision had a major impact. Pessac-Léognan did extremely well in this vintage with a homogenous quality. The Médoc was divided. The southern part, mainly Margaux and the southern part of Saint-Julien have seen less rain and produced more powerful wines. The northern part of the Médoc, especially Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe have produced a very fine and elegant style with excellent persistence. On the good terroirs, the seeds were ripe which results in very ripe tannins with a silky or velvety expression. In addition the cooler conditions of autumn provoked a very pure and fresh fruit. For the dry white wines the quality depends very much on the origin again. Due to the hot and dry growing season, a lot of white wines show very mild, almost soft acidity but also some phenolic hints in the aftertaste. A few dry white wines are standing out, having preserved freshness and acidity. The sweet wines are remarkably good, very rich in character and the best of them have a crisp acidity balancing the opulent sugar. The tasting conditions were rather good, however the weather was quite mixed affecting the presentation of the wines. The wines were tasted blind where possible and open. The final decision on the rating is based on both tasting types.”

1y 4m ago

 Mélanie Laurent / Sommelier, Pro (France)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Dauzac . In a tasting of  16 wines 

“Our wine list includes 16 Bordeauxs from 2003 vintage - it is the best selling vintage at the moment.”

1y 5m ago

 Christer Byklum / Leading Scandinavian wine blogger, Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Dauzac . In a tasting of  25 wines 

“Previously, this cuvée was called “Larmandier-Bernier Tradition”, a name that was chosen in the 1970’s by Pierre’s parents.
We decided on “Latitude” since it seemed to give a better description of this cuvée, with its fully round, rich, charming style.
It is composed exclusively of Chardonnays originating from the same “latitude”: the south of Vertus. This is a generous terroir: the cuvée Latitude is the perfect festive Champagne, which still retains the characteristic pureness of our Estate’s Champagnes.
For this cuvée, the grapes were harvested by hand in 2009. Reserve wines made in 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 and 2004 make up one third of the blend.”

1y 6m ago

 Markus Del Monego MW / Best Sommelier in the World 1998, MW (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Dauzac . In a tasting of  25 wines 

“Some good wines from Bordeaux vintage 2013 and Cos d´Estournel 2013 /Dark purple red with violet heu and almost black centre. Very spicy start with multilayered flavour profile, pure and precise fruit, slightly closed character. On the palate well balanced with good mouthfeel and length, juicy fruit and well managed tannins. Excellent ripeness of the fruit. ”

2y 3m ago

 Markus Del Monego MW / Best Sommelier in the World 1998, MW (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Dauzac . In a tasting of  193 wines 

“Bordeaux Primeurs 2015 / Vintage 2014 wines from 88-94 points”

2y 4m ago

 Juha Lihtonen, Sommelier (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Dauzac . In a tasting of  16 wines 

“Felton Road pinots – sweet spots for any Burgundy lover! If I should name one New World Pinot Noir that can challenge great Burgundians, it has to be Felton Road. Thanks to winemaker, or as he call him self care taker, Blair Walter for setting a benchmark for New World pinots!”

4y 1m ago

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