"A member of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux, Château Rahoul boasts an exceptionally diverse range of terroirs. The history of Château Rahoul began in 1646, when Chevalier Guillaume Rahoul was responsible for the construction of this pretty chartreuse, and gave it its name. The management of the Rahoul estate was entrusted to Dourthe in 2007. Today, the Graves white is ranked among the finest of the appellation, while the red is a wine of great finesse and elegance." Patrick Jestin~~ Find out more ~~ ~~ Buy this wine ~~
Surface area: 40 Ha
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The history of Château Rahoul began in the second half of the 17th century, when Chevalier Guillaume Rahoul built this pretty chartreuse and gave it its name. In a fitting tribute, the label features the Chevalier’s coat of arms, which is still displayed today on the fireplace in the salon. After the French Revolution, the estate passed to the Balguerie family who were highly influential negociants and shipowners on the Place de Bordeaux, who extended and renovated the Château and developed the vineyard in order to sell the wines on the Place. A vine-growing estate since the 18th century, Château Rahoul would not be sold in bottle until the 1970s when the estate was acquired by David Robson, an Englishman with a passion for Bordeaux wines, who completely restructured the vineyard and proved his desire to create premium quality wines at Rahoul. In the early 80s, the remarkable quality of the wines was responsible for its ascent among the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux. Further to a spell of Australian and Danish ownership, Alain Thiénot acquired the estate in 1986. Dourthe Estates were entrusted with the management of the property in 2007.
Diversity of terroir, along the graves wine route
Today the vineyard extends over almost 40 hectares. Further parcels from the districts of Illats, Podensac and Saint-Selve have been added to the original historic “Tour du Château” vines in Portets, creating a diversity of soils where each grape variety can to be carefully matched to the appropriate soil type. The sandy-gravel profile of Château Rahoul is intrinsically linked to its proximity to the River Garonne and to global warming at the end of the glacial period which initiated extreme flooding, causing deposits of precious gravels. These extremely light, early-ripening soils, largely due to excellent drainage and their ability to retain their heat at night, promote excellent ripening in the grapes, creating prestigious, very elegant wines with delicate tannins. The new vines have been replanted at a density of 7,000 vines/ha to enhance the overall quality of the wine and focus on aromas and finesse. Merlot thrives on the sandy-gravel and sandy-clay soils of Portets and Illats. Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc yield their best results on the premium quality plots located in Saint-Selve (Jeansotte), while the Semillon flourishes on the sandy-gravel soils of Portets and Podensac, where it shows its true worth.
Painstaking vineyard management
Managing the vines is a 24-hour occupation, which requires patience, a meticulous approach and exacting standards. In spring, the vineyard takes on new life and the first buds appear, of which some will be sacrificed to allow improved circulation of air to the grapes and more uniform sunlight. This is also a critical time for vine health and with our sights firmly set on an environmentally-conscious approach, sustainable plant protection has been the preferred regime since 1995, with treatments strictly limited to staving disease pressure. July and August are critical periods that will determine the quality of future vintages. To channel the energy of the vine without compromising its vigour, the canopy is painstakingly management throughout the estate to ensure perfect fruit ripeness. Certain varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc will benefit from thinning out by removing some of the secondary shoots and early leaf-plucking at the start of the summer. This will enhance the fruit character of the grapes.
Harvesting and winemaking adapted to the complexity of the terroir
The harvest marks the end of an entire year’s work. The white grapes, which are predominantly Semillon, are harvested by hand in slatted crates to avoid any damage to the fruit. They are then pressed under inert gas to preserve the complexity of the aromas and the freshness of the musts. The Château’s former Orangerie was renovated and remodelled in 2012, providing optimum conditions for vinifying the white wines in oak barriques. The wines are then aged for 8-9 months on the fine lees, with regular stirring, in an environment with ideal humidity and temperature. The red grapes are vinified traditionally in the winery, where temperature-controlled tanks of differing capacities allow individual batches to be vinified separately. The wines are transferred to barrel immediately after malolactic fermentation and aged for 12 months in oak barriques, of which 20-30% are new.