"Since 1979, with Chateau Belgrave, we have been extremely privileged to manage this large, classic estate, which is amongst the finest in Medoc. This significant responsibility, continued source of investment and tireless, never truly assuaged quest for perfection, brings with it the immense satisfaction of in someway expressing the character of the soils and revealing in our wines the refinement, depth and personality of this outstanding terroir." Patrick Jestin
For Château Belgrave, sustainability is at the heart of its approach, and has adopted environmentally sensitive practices that respect Nature, the soils and humankind. Since the vintage 2018, Château Belgrave has benefited from Terra Vitis and High Environmental Value (HVE) environmental certifications.
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Surface area: 59 Ha
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Originally a highly reputed hunting pavilion during the reign of Louis XV, the expansion of the vineyards was particularly influenced by the Coutanceau family, whose name was first adopted for the estate’s wines during the classification of Bordeaux wines carried out by Guillaume Lawton in 1815. The “Bellegrave” designation first appeared in 1845, when Bruno Devès, a negociant in Bordeaux, remodelled the estate, favouring vine growing on the finest gravel terroirs. He built residences, tank rooms and wineries, and constructed the existing residence on the site of the original hunting pavilion. The wine was classified as a 5th growth in 1855, still bearing the name of Coutanceau, whilst the “Belgrave” name was only to be attributed at the beginning of the 20th century by Marcel Alibert, founder of the Syndicate of Crus Classés, and owner of the estate for almost 30 years. The link between the wine and hunting explains the ferret that features on the packaging, and also the name “Diane de Belgrave” given to its second wine.
Situated at the extremities of the St-Julien appellation, separated from its neighbour Château Lagrange by only a stream, Château Belgrave is one of the oldest Cru vineyards in the Médoc. In 1855 it was classified as a 5th growth because of the exceptional quality of its deep gravel soils. The soils at Château Belgrave show remarkable diversity. Two hillocks made up of gravel and pebbles deposited thousands of years ago by the Garonne river, overlying a bed of clay, rise to 23 and 26 metres. This type of soil is favourable to late-ripening grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit-Verdot, which now covers 4% of the surface area following remodelling of the vineyard. The gravel thins towards the foot of the hillocks, where the soil is a combination of gravel and sand offering good drainage, and clay outcrops, which are particularly adapted to the cultivation of Merlot.
A significant amount of work is carried out in the vineyard to ensure optimum quality of the grapes. Increasing the planting density per hectare to 10,000 hectares across 75% of the vineyard and increasing the canopy area moderates yields and improves the concentration of the grapes. Studies initially carried out at Château Belgrave to analyse the correlation between vine growth and the profile of the sub-soil and water supplies, have led to a highly detailed mapping of the vineyard that identifies rows or parts of rows within each parcel of vines that ripen at the same rate. The cultivation regime combined with sustainable plant protection throughout the growing cycle is then tailored to the mapping, including pruning methods, bud stripping, suckering, leaf plucking and cover planting. In this way, a perfect understanding of the vineyard and terroir will create perfectly healthy grapes of consistent ripeness, picked using selective harvesting and forming highly consistent cuves.
Since 1982, Château Belgrave has benefited from ageing and vinification tools capable of the most gentle winemaking methods. In 2004, the tank room was entirely remodelled, with the focus on preserving the character and diversity of individual parcels from selective harvesting. 33 stainless steel tanks of varying sizes and 6 small stainless steel cone-shaped tanks introduced in 2013, now allow even greater levels of selective vinification. 13 of these tanks are equipped with an integrated cap punching system. In 2007, updating the partly underground barrel hall to an ultra modern specification, continued a 15-year cycle of renovating the vineyard and winery facilities at Château Belgrave. In 2010, the large reception area was renovated, with its well-lit, understated style providing visitors with optimum tasting conditions.