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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


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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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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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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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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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 Dauzac . In a tasting of  46 wines 

2021 Château Margaux / Ruby. Cassis, blackberries, anise, floral, violets, spices, dark fruits, anise nose, nuanced, layered, scented and detailed. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, dark fruits, anise, spices, liquorice, nuanced, elegant texture, long finish. 13,1% alcohol. PH 3,64. 97-99

7d 8h ago

 Markus Del Monego MW/BWW2022-Best Germany Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  4 wines  from  Château Dauzac . In a tasting of  742 wines 

This years "en primeur" tasting seemed like a journey in time. Bordeaux is back to a more moderate alcohol level and the style is lighter and more elegant. One could say the wines are reminiscent of the 80s, however made with more experience and the modern techniques today. It is not a powerful vintage. The wines are elegant, however the well made ones have an excellent persistence, depth and length. They offer a convincing potential for a long ageing and promote elegance in Bordeaux again. It is a true vintage of terroir although there is a lot of talk about a vintners vintage. However, terroir was the decisive factor in 2021.

Professor Axel Marchal has presented the 10 key points of this vintage on the occasion of the Union des Grands Crus press tasting:

"1. The start of the growing season was marked by severe frost on the 7th and 8th of April.

2. Wet and gloomy weather in May slowed down the vine growth although a providential window of fine weather helped flowering unfold in ideal conditions in early June.

3. Thunderstorms in June slowed down the onset of water stress.

4: Cool, dull weather in July increased the threat of vine diseases.

5. Véraison (colour change) was observed in mid-August, while vine growth had not stopped yet.

6. Thanks to a cool summer, the dry white wines are brilliant, lively and aromatic.

7. The wonderful Indian Summer allowed the red grape varieties to ripen in ideal conditions and preserved aromas.

8. The Merlots are fresh and aromatic while the Cabernets from the finest terroirs are well-structured with good balance.

9. The development of Botrytis cinerea in Sauternes was delayed by the cool summer and eventually triggered by rainfall in mid-September.

10. Despite low yields, the botrytised sweet white wines are of excellent quality."

It will be exciting to see the evolution of this vintage which produced in many cases yields on a very low scale. Arguably it will be a vintage praised for it finesse in the future. A vintage rated on finesse and persistence rather than on sheer power and opulence.

10d 5h ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Dauzac . In a tasting of  21 wines 

2017 Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Turque / Ruby. Scented, liquorice, spices, blackberries and blueberries, nuanced and deep, rich yet floral high notes nose. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, red and dark fruits, sweet liquorice and vanilla, layered and deep, long indeed. Stunning wine. 98

8m 13d ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Dauzac . In a tasting of  73 wines 

Château Langoa Barton 2020 – Sister property to Leoville Barton and similar to her big "sister" in terms of the quality. Big scaled on the nose and palate with creamy blackcurrants, graphite, fat tannin, strong backbone, and striking complexity. Classy stuff.  53.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot and 8.5% Cabernet Franc. 13.5% alcohol.


10m 14d ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Dauzac . In a tasting of  26 wines 

Château Margaux 2018 - 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Impressed greatly with an incredibly scented nose, elegance, sophisticated and refined touch, astonishing complexity, and length. Simply a proper "iron fist in the velvet glove"! Amazing stuff. 99-100p (98-100p).

11m 18d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW/BWW2022-Best Germany Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Dauzac . In a tasting of  650 wines 

2020 – the paradox vintage 

2020 began with mild temperatures even breaking temperature record highs at the beginning of February. These conditions led to a premature budbreak. Budding developed unevenly, very much depending on the locations although the coo and humid weather in April had not a very significant impact on slowing down the growth of the vines. Finally all the vines came into bloom at the end of May without any significant coulure or millerandage. At the start of June, frequent rain intensified the pressure of mildew. From mid-June, the weather changed. The whole Bordelais saw a period of very dry weather for two months. However, the earlier accumulation of water reserves prevented water stress. Around July 18 a heat wave began to build up but the cool nighty prevented water stress on the wines again. The veraison started at the end of July and went on till the beginning of August. The heatwave in August accentuated water stress, but shorter rainy episodes avoided a complete block. The dry and sunny weather in September encouraged the grapes maturity and harvest started on September 10 with a rather mild weather. Towards the middle of September, rain prevented the fruits from wilting but as its frequency was quite concerning, the haves was pushed forward. "Le diabolique" is the title given to this vintage by Véronique Sanders. It is a very special French word, which is not correctly translated with “diabolic” in English. In France, the expression means to overcome the devil. And the vintners succeeded. 2020 is clearly a vintner’s vintage which asked a permanent reinvention of the wineries, struggling hard with this difficult vintage. However, the vintage surprises with excellent wines, exemplary freshness and elegance and very dense structure. In former times it was said that the vine has to suffer to make exquisite wines, in this vintage the people have suffered to make a great wine. The first part of notes for this tasting with over 800 wines you will find today. More notes will follow over the coming days.

1y 8d ago

 Camille Meyrou / Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Wine Producer (France)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Dauzac . In a tasting of  12 wines 

Few different tasting blind and regular wine tasting

1y 13d ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Dauzac . In a tasting of  100 wines 

I'll repeat myself with the phrase, "Pomerol is one of the strongest districts in 2018"! The truth is that it's s an accurate and valid statement. Despite not tasting Petrus and Lafleur, to name some of the big hitters, I can assure, that there is enough exceptional goof for every taste from Pomerol. As everywhere in Bordeaux, there also are very few wines under the usual standard in Pomerol.


1y 2m ago

 Camille Meyrou / Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Wine Producer (France)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Dauzac . In a tasting of  27 wines 

A couple of Blind an half blind tastings with friends recently

1y 3m ago

 Markus Del Monego MW/BWW2022-Best Germany Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Dauzac . In a tasting of  51 wines 

The wines of the "Association des Saint-Emilion Grand Crus Classés" arrived on May 14 and have been tasted the day after, together with some few samples from other Châteaux. Again a very exciting tasting, confirming the quality of this vintage.

2y 9h ago

 Markus Del Monego MW/BWW2022-Best Germany Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Dauzac . In a tasting of  21 wines 

Another load of samples arrived on April 16, 2020 in Essen. This will be the third part of the primeurs tasting with some exciting wines.

2y 29d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château Dauzac . In a tasting of  38 wines 

2013 Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Landonne / Ruby. Peppery, spices, dark fruits, anise, liquorice, minerals, iron, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, all packed together in layers with depth. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, fresh, fruity, dark berries, intense, juicy, structured, firm and tight, detailed, layered, long. 96p

3y 7m ago

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