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  • Country ranking ?

    1 707
  • Producer ranking ?

    21
  • Decanting time

    45min
  • When to drink

    Now

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The Story

One of the most ancient winegrowing estates in Bordeaux, Chateau Carbonnieux has made wine without interruptin since the 13th century. The chateau itself is an impressive building dating from the 4th century that had as many as twelve towers at one time.

The first owners - and accomplished winegrowers - were the Benedictine monks of Sainte-Croix abbey in Bordeaux, who made internationally-renowned red and white wines centuries ago. They also succeeded in introducing their pale-coloured, crystal clear white wine to the palace of the Sultan of Constantinople by labelling it 'Mineral Water Carbonnieux' to get around the prohibition against alcoholic beverages. 

For over fifty years, Carbonnieux has belonged to the Perrin family, winegrowers from father to son since the early 19th century.

Located on the highest point in the commune of Leognan, on soil that is perfectly drained by a stream called L'Eau Blanche, Carbonnieux's terroir is especially conducive to producing fine quality red and white wines.

VINEYARD 

Soil: Deep gravel and clay-limestone 
Average of the vineyard: 27 years 
Grape Varieties: 55% Cabernet Sauvignon / 35% Merlot / 5% Cabernet Franc / 5% Petite Verdot

 

VINIFICATION 
Hand harvesting. Double sorting in the vat room. Vatting for 3 to 4 weeks in thermo-regulated stainless steel vats. Barrel ageing from 15 to 18 months with 35 to 40% new oak.

 

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Wine Information

THE MONKS OF SAINTE CROIX TO THE FERRON FAMILY (1292-1730)

A deed of exchange dated April 2, 1292, between two monks of the powerful abbaye de Sainte-Croix de Bordeaux, bears witness to the mediaeval origins of the Château Carbonnieux estate. At the time, there was a vineyard forming an enclave in the dense Ornon forest, "Artigue" (cleared land), that had been cleared by the Carbonius family. After the trials and tribulations of the Hundred Years War, the district (quarter) of Carbonnieux, a noble fief, became the property of a Bordeaux apothecary, Jean Dupuyau, also known as Passerage.

In 1519, his widow, Guillemette, sold the Carbonnieux land to Jean de Ferron, who hailed from a powerful bourgeois family of Bordeaux which already owned vines in the 13th century. Ennobled, Jean de Ferron, to be worthy of his rank, had to own a great vineyard in the Graves region. His land purchase and consolidation policy continued under his successors for two centuries, until the domain was large enough to become a genuine noble house with a château, outbuildings and, of course, vines. Under the reign of Louis XIV, during the lifetime of François de Ferron, Carbonnieux reached its first peak.


THE RETURN OF THE MONKS BEFORE THE FRENCH REVOLUTION (1730-1789)

The last Lord of Carbonnieux, Charles de Ferron, ran into debt and sold his estate to the monks of Sainte-Croix, for 120,000 Livres. After two and a half centuries in the Ferron family, a new era began for Carbonnieux. Initially purchased to be "a mother Earth" for the abbey, the Carbonnieux estate soon became the major investment of the Benedictine monks, who did not hesitate to borrow huge amounts of money to take their Carbonnieux growth to the very top of white Graves wine rankings. In the ranking of the Guyenne Intendance, published in 1776, the white wines of the "Aux Bénédictins de Carbonnieux" growth sold for approximately 800 Livres per cask, for a production of 150 casks. Although the "premier cru de Pontac" (Haut-Brion) was the reference for red wines at the time (1,250 to 1,500 Livres per cask), Carbonnieux by far led the ranking of white wines of Guyenne. The famous bottle bearing the coquille Saint-Jacques attained worldwide renown, from Constantinople to the United States.

The clear white wines of Carbonnieux, with their pale colour, sneaked their way into the palace of an Ottoman sultan. One of his courtesans, the reputed Aimée Dubuc de Rivery, captured by pirates and offered to Abdul-Hamid I, became his first sultana and claimed they were a rare and invigorating water: «the mineral water of Carbonnieux»


In 1786, Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States and a great wine lover, selected a few famous estates to visit during a trip to France. His diary shows that he came to Carbonnieux to taste the "Wine of the Odalisques", as it was then called in the United States.

FROM THE BOUCHEREAU FAMILY TO THE 20TH CENTURY (1789-1956)

In January 1791, following a fierce auction, Carbonnieux was sold as "national property" to Elie de Bouchereau, for 366,000 Livres, which was 170,000 Livres above its estimated worth. Back from the Indies, where they had made a fortune in sugar cane, the Bouchereau family settled at Château Carbonnieux for 87 years. Prior to the Phylloxera attack of 1871, the estate comprised 137 hectares, half of which were planted in noble Bordeaux grape varieties, painstakingly selected thanks to the ampelographic research of the Bouchereau brothers.

From 1828 to 1871, Henry-Xavier Bouchereau started a unique collection of French and European grape varieties at Carbonnieux, that included up to 1,242 different specimens. Like most owners during the "disease crisis", the Bouchereau family sold their estate in 1878.

The estate then passed through numerous owners. Finally, at the beginning of the 20th century, Doctor Martin decided to resurrect the vineyard. In 1920, the estate was purchased by a Bordeaux trading company, which subsequently sold it to an industrialist, Jean-Jacques Chabrat.

In his time, Château Carbonnieux was classified as a Grand Cru de Graves for the first time in 1953, for its red and white wines. The final classification of 1959 confirmed this ranking. In the meantime, the Perrin family had taken over the estate.

THE PERRIN FAMILY: A lineage of winemakers

In 1839, Philibert Perrin, the descendant of a family of winemakers from Nuits Saint-Georges, entered the service of Alphonse de Lamartine, poet, politician and wine merchant. In 1845, Philibert was asked by his master to leave Milly en Mâconnais and to go to Algeria, where he ended up being a self-employed real-estate trader. His son Antony (born in 1860) graduated top of his class at the Montpellier Agricultural Institute. He built up a wine estate that became the largest in the entire Oran region: Château Tirenat-les-Pins.


At the beginning of the 20th century, the château covered some 300 hectares and produced 6,000 hectolitres. It continued to grow until the situation deteriorated significantly in Algeria. Marc Perrin then turned to the opposite bank of the Mediterranean and purchased Château Carbonnieux during the frost of February 1956. When the Perrin Family was forced to leave Algeria in 1962, they found the château and its vineyards in a very sorry state.

At the time, Carbonnieux had only 30 hectares of vines, with very low yields. The facilities had to be entirely revamped.


THE PERRIN FAMILY: THE PEAK OF CARBONNIEUX, FROM 1956 TO THE PRESENT DAY

As soon as he bought the château in 1956,Marc Perrin tackled its renovation. He first started a significant replanting campaign, that took the estate to 45 hectares in 1970, then to 70 hectares in 1980, to reach almost 92 hectares today. Antony, who was appointed manager in 1983, built a new fermentation cellar and modernised the cellars to adapt them to new vinification methods. He continued the restoration of the chateau and vineyards, and focused on increasing the renown of Carbonnieux and of Bordeaux wines throughout the world. He was one of the forerunners of the Pessac-Léognan appellation, created in 1987. He also purchased new estates in the appellation: Le Sartre and Bois Martin, today owned by his sister.

He gradually passed on all his skill and the family winemaking heritage to his sons, Eric et Philibert : growing and vinification methods, painstaking care and a sense of quality…

Today, the estate is at its peak and the torch has been passed to them.

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Origin

Bordeaux, Graves
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