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News

Margaux third growth Château Cantenac Brown has been sold to Frenchman Tristan Le Lous for an estimated €150 million.

A 40 year-old agricultural engineer acquired the property from the British-Syrian Simon Halabi.

Local paper Sud-Ouest mentioned that the estimated price paid was €150m but the financial details of the sale have not been disclosed.

Le Lous commented: “The first glance of Château Cantenac Brown can really make your heart swell. Every time I see the Tudor-style castle overlooking the Gironde estuary through the morning mist I have a strong emotional reaction.”

In a statement issued by the new owners, it was revealed that a large investment plan is planned which will, among other things, add a new winery with a vat room that will allow parcel vinifications.

It was also made clear that Le Lous plans to continue the estate’s commitment to environmentally-friendly viticulture and winemaking – which has been the case since 2006 – with plans to evolve and develop farming methods further.

Le Lous continued: “This project is in line with our family’s passion for vines and my predilection for fine wines, especially from the Bordeaux region, which I have come to know thanks to my wife who is from the area.

“Château Cantenac Brown is one of the crown jewels of the Médoc region. As an agricultural engineer, I have very high expectations for this grand cru, given the exceptional quality of its terroir. Our challenge, with the recognised expertise of José Sanfins and the entire team, will be to provide the utmost precision at each step of the technical manufacturing process to produce, year after year, one of the best Margaux wines.”

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History

John-Lewis Brown (1769-1851) acquired the estate in the early 19th century and decided to build in the village of Cantenac, a Tudor style chateau reminiscent of his Scottish origins.


The building is one of the most unusual in Médoc region and is surrounded by a remarkable English-style ground. The quality of the wine was acknowledged in the 1855 classification, when Château Cantenac Brown was included into the growths. The Bordeaux winemerchant and owner of several estates in Médoc, Louis Armande Lalande (1820-1894), extended the building, keeping the same architecture.

One hundred fifty years later, the Simon Halabi family has given a new impetus to this estate with a British atmosphere…which they are determined to raise to the very highest level.

 

José Sanfins presently manages Château Cantenac-Brown. He does his utmost to make the best of the magnificent terroir, lavishing the greatest of care on the soil and the vines, with great respect for the environment. This meticulous attention to detail continues into the cellar, where everything possible is done to produce an exceptional wine.

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Vineyards

With José Sanfins in charge, methods have changed.

The vineyard is managed in a more environmentally friendly way: the “sustainable approach” goes without saying. The vines are cared for throughout the year and yields are perfectly controlled. Strictly plant-based fertilizers are applied in a moderately and balanced way in tune with the needs of the vines.

This respect for Nature explains why the Château Cantenac Brown team continues to use the traditional soil maintenance techniques, which gradually enhance the structural, chemical and biological properties of the earth.

 

“A perfect match between Men and Nature…”Over 400 000 vinestocks are managed every year. Pruning, removal of buds, leaves and secondary shoots, hand harvest …, several times per year the whole team works vine by vine and checks each single cluster. Such a sharp selection does not replace the environment. The finest wines are given by the Nature.

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Winemaking

September – October: Harvest put in concrete form the work after a whole year, the season is as hectic as friendly for the team.

Over hundred pickers come and help us during several weeks.
The team work is of prime necessity.
According to their maturity, parcels are harvested one after each other.
Hand-picked grapes are transported to the stainless steel temperature controlled vats.

Hand-selected grapes

First, the harvesting team sorts manually bunch by bunch; A second selection happens on vibrating sorting tables or with an optical sorting machine. Then start fermentations:

  • Alcoholic fermentation lasts for around ten days.

  • Malolactic fermentation occurs in barrels and vats.

  • Plots are vinified separately according to grape variety and age, which allows for great precision in selection when Château Cantenac Brown is finally blended.

 

After fermentation, the wine is aged for 12 to 15 months in French oak barrels (made of split oak staves form the forests of Central France) 50% to 70% of the barrels are new and 50% to 30% are one-year old. Air slowly penetrates through the pores in the wood and gently oxidizes the wine. The oak contributes to the elegance of its tannins. At the same time, the restricted volume of the barrel facilitates the precipitation of the lees over the months. During this ageing process the wine is finely racked, thus separating the clear wine from the lees. Each racking process is carried out from barrel to barrel and clarity is checked by holding a glass of the wine before a candle. Two cellar workers are responsible for this job throughout the year. When one racking cycle has been completed, it is time to start the next one.

 

Once aged, the wine is returned to the vats to prepare for bottling. At this point, and to ensure that all bottles are perfectly identical, another assembling operation is carried out: The wine from the new barrels and the wine from the one-year old barrels have aged differently. The following fining process uses egg whites to clarify and stabilize the wine and any particles precipitate to form a deposit, preventing the sediment being transferred to the bottle.

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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 , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Cantenac-Brown . In a tasting of  28 wines 

2000 Bouchard Pere et Fils La Romanée / Bright ruby, garnet rim. Fruity nose, red berries, vanilla, some sous bois and leather, elegant nose, evolving. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, slightly leaner palate, refreshing, could be more nuanced, long. 93

4m 18d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW , Pro (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Cantenac-Brown . In a tasting of  100 wines 

Bordeaux 2018 - TOP 100 Wines. "The best vintage of my live" says Christian Moueix of the Ets. Jean Pierre Moueix in Libourne. In fact, 2018 is a vintage with wonderfully ripe tannins which taste almost sweet and are characterizing wine with excellent structured. However this vintage was everything else than easy-going. The first six months of the year saw the complete annual rainfall for the Bordeaux region, over 800mm. Mildew attacked the grapes, what meant a reduction in quantity but as the leaves have not been attacked the maturity process continued and the lower yields brought concentrated grapes. Another problem where hailstorms bringing further damage. Some Châteaux like Château Guiraud have lost the complete harvest. "We went from hell to heaven" summarizes Véronique Sanders from Château Haut-Bailly in Pessac-Léognan the vintage. After the deluge in the first half of 2018, there was a dramatic change for the second half bringing great, dry weather with a lot of sun. The partially high daily temperatures were in change with lower night temperatures and created a tension for aromatic wines. The correct amount of extraction and maceration was crucial and some vintners have changed their maceration processes and made great wines with a lot of freshness. These vintners are amongst the winners of the vintage. If 2018 will belong to the greatest vintages in Bordeaux for the overall production might show the future. However already today there is a number of Châteaux performing 

11m 29d ago

 Winnie Wing-Yin Ng , Wine Writer (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Cantenac-Brown . In a tasting of  18 wines 

Margaux region enjoyed the best weather in the left bank in 2015 vintage. They had similar weather as like Pomerol and Saint-Emilion, and didn't get that much rainfall as like in northern Medoc. Grapes were fully ripened with plenty of concentration, complexity and freshness.


 

1y 11m ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Cantenac-Brown . In a tasting of  100 wines 

1928 Château d'Yquem; Huge expectations, the best wine I've had, 28 Suduiraut, if there is a wine to beat it..... Difficult to read label, cork states quite clearly Yquem, Lur-Saluces, 1928. B/C level fill, above mid shoulders. Pale amber with broad green yellow rim. Nuts, apricots, apple, lemon, raisins, minerals and even schistes. A glorious, layered and transparent in the best sence of the word mix of mature and more youthfull flavours. Perfect balance in a different league, great acidity, such finesse, pineapples comming to join the elegant party, even coconut and papaya, acidity is tender, doing its job gracefully like the queen greeting her guests. Gorgeous length. Minutes again. But this bottle do not beat the Suduiraut, and that is mainly because of the Suduirauts length and even better freshness. The 28's seems to be marvels! 99

2y 4m ago

 Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Cantenac-Brown . In a tasting of  21 wines 

In 2016 the resources available to winemakers is astonishing. Over the last twenty years, particularly, there has been a revolution to winemaking approach. Many of Bordeaux’s most prominent Chateaux have invested millions of Euros into the reconstruction of their wineries. Ch Calon Segur, Ch Beychevelle and Ch Pontet Canet are just a few that have been recently completed or in progress.


These have followed more high profile examples including Ch Margaux with its Sir Norman Foster designed winery, Ch Petrus, Ch Cheval Blanc, Ch Latour and Ch Montrose. Vineyard mapping drones, Grape hydro-coolers, sorting machines, gravity fed contraptions and stainless steel vats looking like large nespresso capsules are some of the expensive playthings of contemporary winemaking. Yet this equipment, rather than industrialising the process of vinification, is all about personalizing individual plots of land and taking a gentle approach to handling the fruit.

2y 9m ago

 Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Cantenac-Brown . In a tasting of  24 wines 

The 2016 Bordeaux vintage will be remembered as one of the great years of the 21st Century. I have not been so excited about the prospects of such young wines since the remarkable back-to-back 2009 and 2010 vintages. At that time China was at the zenith of its extraordinary fine wine ascendency where the very top estates, particularly Chateau Lafite, had become a baksheesh currency. Every man and his dog, with a connection with government, curried favour or accepted gifts with Grand Cru Bordeaux, particularly First Growths. During this extraordinary time, the prices of Bordeaux started to move up at a more rapid speed than Sydney Real Estate. When we were filming Red Obsession in 2011 the Bordeaux wine market had become a classic bubble, even though the main actors still believed otherwise. Self-entitlement and denial always go hand in hand. Nonetheless, it has taken five years for the market to reset itself. Bordeaux is more confident again. Even interest from China has grown again. The market is now around 280 million Euros annually, which illustrates the resilience, power and track record of Grand Cru Classé Bordeaux wines.

2y 10m ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Cantenac-Brown . 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.

2y 11m ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Cantenac-Brown . In a tasting of  161 wines 

Bordeaux 2016 vintage!

2y 11m ago

 Markus Del Monego MW , Pro (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Cantenac-Brown . 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. 

2y 11m ago

 Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Cantenac-Brown . In a tasting of  104 wines 

“Bordeaux Vintage 2015 Part I / Vieux Château Certan 2015:100 points: Deep colour. Fresh aromatic musky dark plum aromas with praline, fine espresso, vanilla oak. Sweet dark cherry, musky plum praline violet flavours, beautiful long fine chalky silky tannins, superb savoury oak complexity and mid palate viscosity.  Fine dry grainy finish with beautiful flavour length. A very sophisticated wine with lovely freshness and line. Finesse and elegance. ”

3y 11m ago

 Markus Del Monego MW , Pro (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Cantenac-Brown . 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.”

3y 11m ago

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