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Essence de Dourthe

AOC Bordeaux

"Once consumed by the taste and passion for wine, the desire to always do ‘better’ and ultimately to achieve the ‘ideal’ becomes an obsession. Here at Dourthe, we often dreamt of this ideal wine, made from the best grapes from the finest terroirs in Bordeaux… the Art of Blending in its most ultimate form." Patrick Jestin

~~ Find out more ~~

Estates director
Frédéric Bonnaffous
Surface area: 14 Ha
Histoire Essence de dourthe

While vines have always played an important role in Dourthe’s history, our real foray in viticulture began in 1979, when we took over Château Belgrave. Activity intensified in the early 90s with the further addition of Château La Garde, followed by Château le Boscq in 1995 and Château Grand Barrail Lamarzelle Figeac in 2005. In addition to these four major properties, Vignobles Dourthe currently comprises nine châteaux in Bordeaux.

Over the course of time, we have acquired an increasingly in-depth knowledge of the terroir on each estate, and our research has highlighted a number of extremely high quality plots, capable of producing exceptional wines.

This in turn has generated the desire to go even further, to aim even higher and create a new, different and original wine, reflecting our own specific vision of fine Bordeaux. And for that, we had to think outside the box. While “good” was not sufficient, “better” was no longer good enough. We wanted to create something unique, since what constitutes a truly great wine is not how much better it may be than another, and being inimitable is the ultimate aim.

We set about consulting the managers of our key properties in order to identify the finest parcels, where they were given free reign to harness the best of the soils and the very best of their abilities.

Terroir Essence de dourthe

From the nine estates which make up the Dourthe vineyards in Bordeaux, four prestigious châteaux located within Bordeaux’s most iconic terroirs also play their part in the creation of Essence de Dourthe.

In the Haut-Médoc, Château Belgrave, which was granted Grand Cru Classé status in 1855, is an extensive, classic estate, comprising 59 hectares of magnificent gravel soils of varying depths. Here Cabernet Sauvignon thrives on the deep gravel plots, while Merlot is ideally suited to the more clay-rich soils.

Further north in Saint-Estèphe, Château Le Boscq is an 18-hectare, tiny gem of a vineyard, overlooking the Gironde Estuary from the top of one of the appellation’s finest gravel outcrops, and is known predominantly for its Petit Verdot of remarkable finesse.

To the south, in Pessac-Léognan at Château La Garde, 50 hectares of vines stretch majestically along one of the most remarkable veins of gravel located in the upper reaches of the appellation. The plot located on the Plateau is one of the finest terroirs for Cabernet Sauvignon imaginable.

An integral part of Dourthe’s portfolio since the 2005 vintage, Château Grand Barrail Lamarzelle Figeac, Saint Emilion Grand Cru, is set in 15 hectares of outstanding soils, intersected by a seam of blue clay. Here Cabernet Franc naturally flourishes to reveal its ultimate potential.

Viticulture Essence de dourthe

The Essence vines currently account for 14 hectares selected for their unique character, and essentially the ideal soil for each grape variety and the optimum age of the vines. In this way, the vines are managed on a strictly individual basis. Each vine is effectively considered as a specific entity, benefiting from tailored management techniques to produce the finest quality grapes possible. Throughout the year, each vine receives no less than fifty different treatments before the harvest. In order for the grapes to be harvested at optimum maturity, ripeness levels are monitored through analyses, tastings, and also by appearance. This rigorous process is echoed during harvesting, which is carried out by successive passages through the vines.

Vinification Essence de dourthe

In the winery, there are no limits… Picked and transported in small trays, the grapes are destemmed, sorted and then transferred by hand to small-capacity oak or stainless steel tanks for a period of pre-fermentation cold maceration prior to alcoholic fermentation. Some of the parcels are also vinified in barrel. The vinification process is approached with the utmost care and precision in order to attain absolute purity in the wines and the finest expression of the terroir. The wine is left to mature in new oak barrels in the cellars of each individual property, separated in individual batches. 12 months maturing provides the finishing touch to the creation of what would be nothing more than a selection of magnificent micro-cuvées from each estate, were it not for the blending, a fundamental stage in creating Dourthe Essence. The Art of Blending resides in the winemakers’ expertise in discovering the complementary qualities and perfect balance between the various components, to create a wine where the whole is infinitely superior to the sum of its parts.

To hone the wine to perfection, the final blend of Essence de Dourthe is then aged in our cellars for a further 10-12 months in one-year old barriques. Essence de Dourthe is an AC Bordeaux and a unique blend of the finest Bordeaux appellations – by definition, the ultimate Bordeaux wine.

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