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A landscape, of stone, light and vines in the heart of the Saint-Emilion appellation.
A family property, an architectural and winegrowing heritage, an uncompromising and convivial spirit.
A history rooted in Saint-Emilion and influenced by the 18th century Age of Enlightenment.
A new page, a new sustainable winemaking inspiration.
A way of life, an understated, elegant and open-hearted hospitality.
Since 1750, when it first appeared under its current name, the Montlabert estate has always coupled winegrowing with family ownership.
Between the purchase in 2008 and the inauguration in 2020, the Castel family invested time and resources into drawing up the outline of a new history and a new ambition. A convergence of affinities, history and vision took place.
Saint-Emilion has a unique history and landscape that is reflected in its finest properties. In 1999, UNESCO included the vineyards and the eight villages that make up the Saint-Emilion “jurisdiction” on the World Heritage List as a "cultural landscape“.
This listing consecrates a 1,000-year-old history, a unique architectural and winegrowing heritage and an example of the virtuous interaction between land and people, nature and culture.
The Castel family’s love of Saint-Emilion can be seen in its commitment to the local community, and particularly through its representation within the Jurade.
Membership of the Jurade highlights Montlabert’s commitment to promoting its vineyards, and confirms its position as one of the Saint-Emilion Grand Cru appellation’s most prestigious properties.
Everything comes down to the work in the vineyards. So that is naturally where the Castel family chose to start. More than ten years passed between the acquisition of the property and the construction of the winery: the time needed to understand and listen to the soil in order to reveal the uniqueness of the terroir while respecting the eco-systems.
Château Montlabert has 21 hectares dedicated to producing its Grand Vin, Château Montlabert, and its second wine, Château la Croix Montlabert.
The plot of land adjoining the family home, used for the production of the Grand Vin, is planted with 80% merlot and 20% cabernet franc, growing in deep sandy-gravel soil with a clay subsoil.
The soil cuts taken during the recent construction of the cellar reveal veins of blue clay on the surface similar to those found at the appellation's prestigious neighbours and which are typical of the great merlot terroirs.
The vine requires time and commitment. The continuity of our team is a major asset.
Ludovic Hérault has been the estate manager since 2009 and is virtually part of the family. He supervises, manages and assesses all the stages of the estate's evolution, in the vineyards and in the cellar, alongside the technical teams.
Since 2011, Hubert de Boüard has been supporting and advising Château Montlabert in its search for an ever more precise and high-quality definition of its wines.
Certified Terra Vitis since the 2011 vintage, Château Montlabert manages its vineyards using sustainable growing methods. The property’s different plots are tended like a garden, with the greatest of precision and care.
Every autumn, cereal seedlings (barley, wheat, rye, etc.) are planted between the rows of vines. Taking advantage of the humidity of the Bordeaux climate, the seedlings grow throughout the winter and spring. This allows them to compete with the vigour of the vines, while adding nitrogen to the soil. At the end of spring, the soil is ploughed and the plant cover is destroyed using a mechanical de-earthing machine and without any chemical weed killers.
The design and construction of the new winery were entrusted to the architect Olivier Chadebost, renowned for his work for some top Bordeaux châteaux.
His architectural interpretation for the design of the high-level, sustainable winery came from a respectful understanding of the spirit of Saint-Emilion and the uniqueness of Montlabert.
Viewed from the outside, the cellar is a traditional construction in terms of its proportions, shapes and materials, blending in with the rest of property and the Saint-Emilion setting. Like the rest of the property, it is designed to stand the test of time and facilitate a productive and natural dialogue between the property’s winemaking and family vocations.
However, the winery also incorporates innovative solutions, which are always justified by oenological and ecological requirements. Technologies from other cutting-edge industries have been adopted in both the processes and the materials.
Most of a wine’s character comes from the terroir and the grapes. The winemaking process aspires to draw out the purest expression of the terroir. The entire process, from the reception of the grapes to the transfer into barrels, is gravity-fed in order to preserve the integrity and quality of the raw material as much as possible.
Sixteen bespoke temperature-controlled tronconic vats, tailored to the individual vineyard plots, have been produced in order to respect the identity of each individual plot right through to the blending. The decision to combine inverted truncated cone-shaped stainless-steel vats with concrete tanks enables the winemaker to optimize the depth and density of the marc cap, bringing out the individual expression of each plot.
The winemaking space preserves a visual relationship with nature through openings, vistas, and graphic metaphors that are all evocations and escapes to the vineyards, gardens or the Chartreuse. The route the visitor follows, like that of the grapes, passes from light into darkness until the final reveal of the tasting.
The barrel cellar has two areas separated by a thermal buffer zone - one for even years and one for odd years - to bring the malolactic fermentation stage and the 18-month ageing process closer together without moving the barrels which can upset the wines.
Crafting fine wines requires both hard work and humility. For over 10 years, the Castel family and the Montlabert team have worked patiently and diligently to define the personality and style of its wines, inspired by balance and elegance.
The wines of Château Montlabert wines play on elegance rather than power. Throughout this complex and precise score that the blending work represents, the characteristic notes of the cabernet franc and merlot gracefully intertwine.
The most iconic vintages, 2012, 2015, 2016, show a refined structure, a controlled natural acidity, a lovely texture on the mid-palate, an aromatic and tannic elegance. In these wines, the merlot often reveals an almost Pomerolian softness, its roots drawing deep down into the veins of blue clay.
La Croix Montlabert is the Chateau’s second wine: a little indulgence, bursting with intense, fruity flavours. This blend of merlot and cabernet franc is aged for 14 months in French oak barrels; its molten tannins give it a feeling of smooth freshness.
Château Montlabert is one of the jewels in the Castel Family Estates crown. The Family Estates are an expression of our expertise, our passion for terroir, and our commitment to sustainability.
We have specialized in French wine since our establishment over 60 years ago. As both winemakers and wine merchants, Castel Châteaux & Grands Crus’ fine wine expertise has continually grown and evolved to the present day.