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    06:55 AM
  • Wine average?

    90 Tb
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    645
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  • Popularity ranking?

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History

"We bought Château la Garde in June 1990, totally seduced by the exceptional quality of the terroir, which is quite possibly one of the finest gravel outcrops in the Pessac-Léognan appellation. Motivated by this ambitious project, worthy of this magnificent terroir, considerable time and finances have been invested and have been rewarded with the increasingly frequent production of delicate, elegant and appealing fine Pessac-Léognan wines." Patrick Jestin

 

The origins of the Château date back to the 18th century, when Domaine de “Lagarde” already featured on the “carte de Cassini”, the first general map of France drawn by the Cassini family in 1756. The picturesque Charterhouse, built in 1732, was at that time surrounded by valleys and woods. The “Bourdieu de Lagarde” was then passed down through the Blanchard family, until its purchase in 1877 by the Lacoste family, who were negociants in Bordeaux. Vines were thus cultivated on this magnificent stony terroir and the winery was built in 1881. After the First World War, Louis Eschenauer, a well-known negociant on the Place de Bordeaux at the “Chartrons”, was looking for good quality vines in the Bordeaux area. He became interested in the vineyards around the summit of Domaine de La Garde, which he subsequently bought in 1920, and in so doing became the leading proponent of the wines produced in the Martillac area, where he also owned Château Smith Haut Lafitte. Sometimes referred to as Domaine de La Garde, Clos de La Garde, then Château La Garde, even at this time a crest featured on the estate’s wine labels inspired by weapons thought to be from the region of Aquitaine during the 100 years’ war, displaying the leopard with a lion’s head.. 

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Vineyards

Almost half of the vineyard extends across three stony outcrops, with intermittent visible clay, containing varying proportions of sand. One of these outcrops, known as the “Plateau” extends over more than 10ha, and is made up of a layer of large stones reaching 4m in depth. The Plateau is ideal for the cultivation of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit-Verdot, which impart complexity and elegant structure to the great wines of Pessac-Léognan. At the base of the outcrops, the stones diminish in size and intermingle with sand, making these vineyard plots the ideal terroir for the production of delicate and fruity Merlot. To the north, an impressively deep chalky vein intersects the property and is totally unique in this appellation.

This very early-ripening terroir is perfectly suited to the cultivation of Merlot, characterised by abundant aromatic freshness. This calcareous vein stretches from the other side of the stream, where there is a higher clay content and a northerly aspect. Here the terroir is cooler and more suited to white grapes such as Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. In addition, two complementary, later-ripening parcels made up of clay sandy gravel (30% pure clay), produce powerful, tannic Merlot. Pedo-geological studies carried out at the time the vineyard was remodelled have provided an excellent understanding of the terroir at La Garde, and these, combined with almost 20 years of experience from the Dourthe teams here on the estate, ensure that rootstocks and grape varieties are perfectly suited to each vineyard plot or micro-plot.

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Winemaking

The viticultural regime adopted will vary according to the intended quality of the resulting wines. The canopy is rigorously managed to control the vigour and yield per vine and in so doing play an important role in improving grape ripeness. Severe pruning will promote even budburst, while bud stripping, secondary shoot removal, lateral shoot removal and leaf stripping optimise the circulation of air around the grapes and promote healthy fruit. If necessary, green harvesting during mid-veraison ensures that only grapes of consistent ripeness are retained. Studies carried out on the estate to analyse the development of grape ripening in correlation to the soil and subsoil profile of the vineyard, have resulted in a highly detailed mapping, identifying rows or micro plots in each vineyard which mature at the same rate. It is now possible to fine-tune canopy management techniques in each area to effectively control water shortages and practise selective harvesting. Only ripe and perfectly consistent grapes make it to the tanks. Finally, Château La Garde was one of the first properties to embrace integrated agriculture, the production of premium quality grapes with total respect for the environment and for mankind.

 

The grapes are harvested at optimum ripeness. Careful handling of the fruit continues from vineyard through to winery, where the grapes are rigorously protected from damage on receival, with optimum protection against oxidation for the white grapes, using inert gas and dry ice, and selecting only the finest red grapes by hand on sorting tables. The white grapes are vinified and aged in barrels, whilst the reds are vinified in a range of stainless steel tanks, where the size and number of the tanks ensure that each wine parcel maintains its individual character. Each year, the equipment in the winery is updated to incorporate the latest innovations, and helps the winemaking team constantly improve methods to select the finest grapes and optimise varietal expression in the fruit. Ageing of the wines for a 12-14 month period takes place in the underground barrel hall. Barrel selection and the proportion of new oak barrels meets strict criteria promoting greater fruit expression and the overall finesse and balance in the wine.

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Highlights

Latest news

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Wine Moments

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

 Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château La Garde . 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.

2d 11h ago

 Christy Canterbury MW, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château La Garde . In a tasting of  26 wines 

Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte 2013 Graves Cru Classé Blanc
This wine has a turbo-charged nose of fireplace smoke, passion fruit and beeswax. Round, supple and suavely textured with lightly glycerol on the palate, this is both a highly gulpable and strongly intellectual wine thanks to its compelling intensity. It drinks beautifully now, but there’s no need to rush.

10m 7d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château La Garde . In a tasting of  10 wines 

The wines of Maison Dourthe were tasted on Mai 29, 2020.

11m 11d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château La Garde . In a tasting of  66 wines 

2017 is a vintage bringing back Bordeaux to its roots, offering a very classic wine style with lower alcohol levels than in the previous years but with often excellent aromatic expression. 2015 and 2016 have surely been better vintages than last year, but based on a first impression 2017 seems to be better than 2014. The evolution will show, that 2017 is far from becoming a "forgotten vintage". Some nice surprises will be waiting for us.

2y 11m ago

 Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château La Garde . In a tasting of  45 wines 

2017 is a vintage bringing back Bordeaux to its roots, offering a very classic wine style with lower alcohol levels than in the previous years but with often excellent aromatic expression. 2015 and 2016 have surely been better vintages than last year, but based on a first impression 2017 seems to be better than 2014. The evolution will show, that 2017 is far from becoming a "forgotten vintage". Some nice surprises will be waiting for us.

3y 7d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château La Garde . In a tasting of  45 wines 

Château Haut Brion 2017 / 9900 cases made. 11600 in 2016 Ruby. Scented. Dark fruity, detailed, violets, some red fruits, blackberries, cassis, blueberries, floral, seductive nose. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, fruity, dark berries, anise, spices, structured, juicy and an incredible length, 14,25 alcohol. very long indeed. 96-98p

3y 12d ago

 Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château La Garde . 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.

3y 10m ago

 Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château La Garde . 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. 

4y 19d ago

 Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château La Garde . 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 ”

5y 13d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château La Garde . 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.”

5y 1m ago

 Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château La Garde . In a tasting of  22 wines 

“In general, the 2013 vintage seemed more positive for white wines. The dry whites from Pessac-Léognan and the Graves region have a pleasant character and are quite typical for its appellation. The sweet wines from Sauternes and Barsac showed some excellent examples.
With this information in mind, the Primeur tastings started as usually at the end of March, beginning of April 2014. The mood of the producers was not cheerful at all, as some articles condemned the vintage even before the Primeur tastings and some tasters even refrained from attending this tasting judging the wines as too poor. “The worst vintage since the war” was the title of an internet publication.”

5y 3m ago

 Jeff Leve, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château La Garde . In a tasting of  20 wines 

“Bordeaux 2011 Vintage part V -Fine Le Pin.”

5y 9m ago

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