Friday, March 17, 2017
Tour and Tasting at Château Sociando Mallet, Appellation Haut-Médoc – Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Château Sociando-Mallet is a non-classified estate. However during the past decade the wines regularly outperformed other well-known estates and are regarded as wines of highest quality. The origins of the château go back to the year 1633 when the Basque nobleman Sièvre Sociando established his residence at this location. In the mid 19th century the widow Mallet bought the estate and linked the names to create Château Sociando Mallet. Château Sociando Mallet was a forgotten and dilapidated property with only 20 acres of vineyards when Jean Gautreau, a “négociant” from Lesparre bought it. He saw the potential in the fantastic vineyard sites right off the Gironde estuary and quickly expanded and replanted vineyards and brought the winemaking facilities to state of the art standards. Today Sociando Mallet has 200 acres under vine in the filet pieces of Haut Médoc.
Sybil Marquet was our host. We toured with her the winery and tasted some wines.
Lea and Sandeman: Sociando Mallet
Lea and Sandeman: The first village as you travel north out of Saint Estèphe is Saint-Suerin-de-Cadourne, home to a small cluster of cru bourgeois, not the least of which is Château Sociando-Mallet commanding fine views over the River Gironde to the east of the village. In the early 17th Century it was the estate of a Basque family called Sossiondo, the other half of the name coming from naval captain Achille Mallet who married the owner in 1831.
As with many Bordeaux estates, the late 19th and early 20th Centuries were not kind to Sociando-Mallet, so when local merchant Jean Gautreau happened upon it in 1969 it was in a sorry estate. Realising the potential, Jean bought the estate and owns it to this day. With only 5ha under vine, no cellar and the buildings in decay he had a lot to do. Vineyards were replanted, and plots were purchased from neighbours – today Sociando-Mallet, on various plots around the village spreads to 85ha – and the château and winery were refurbished and restored.
The amount of Merlot in the blend has slowly risen over the years and now accounts for 47% of the vineyard alongside 48% Cabernet Sauvignon with a little Cabernet Franc; average vine age about 30 years. The wines of Sociando-Mallet were once relatively under-priced but demand for the wine has risen as more people have come to know it, although being from outside the famous Haut-Médoc villages and the 1855 classification keeps the price under some control. Quite robust wines.
The Future: Sylvie and Arthur
On the eve of his 90th birthday, Jean Gautreau (born in 1927) is passing on management to his daughter, Sylvie, born in 1967. She is the only child of Jean and Colette Gautreau.
Sociando-Mallet was Sylvie's playground as a child. She accompanied her father from a very early age and learnt to observe the vines closely and to watch the grapes ripen. Nowadays she takes part in the regular technical tastings and enjoys choosing the final blend with the team.
She lives and breathes Sociando-Mallet, her land, and exemplifies the spirit of the château. She is Sociando. Furthermore, Sylvie is gradually instilling this spirit in her son, Arthur.
Château Sociando-Mallet prduces 3 wines: Sociando-Mallet, La Demoiselle de Sociando-Mallet and Jean Gautreau.
2012 La Demoiselle de Sociando-Mallet (wine-searcher average price in US$:24)
2012 Château Sociando-Mallet (wine-searcher average price in US$:41)
Sociando-Mallet: Château Sociando-Mallet produces full-bodied wines with a deep, dark colour. Their complex bouquet is usually dominated by black fruit aromas with a touch of minerality and well-integrated, elegant oak. Often somewhat "virile" when young, the wines gain in balance and complexity with age. They are fresh, straightforward, and have a wonderful length. Château Sociando-Mallet has always been a wine with great ageing potential. A wine to be enjoyed even after 30 years in great vintages.
La Demoiselle de Sociando-Mallet: The Demoiselle de Sociando-Mallet is produced from the younger vines of the property and the plots whose soil is more favourable to the production of very good Merlot. This grape variety represents half of the final blend of this wine. The vines for our Demoiselle cover around twenty hectares and receive the same care and are tended in the same way as the rest of the vineyard throughout the year. The "demoiselle" is a sort of dragonfly found in the Médoc. Like the dragonfly, this wine of the same name is light and elegant. The ageing of our Demoiselle de Sociando-Mallet is carried out mainly in vats, to preserve the freshness and fruitiness of the Merlot. This easy-drinking wine can be enjoyed young. It is an ideal match for grilled meat and fish or shellfish dishes.
Jean Gautreau: During the vinification at Sociando-Mallet, each vat is filled with grapes from well-defined plots. Depending on the year, a full crop represents about 20 vats' worth of wine. For many years, we have set aside three barrels of wine from each separate vat when the wine is run off to have a specific idea of the quality potential of each plot.
In 1995, our cellarmaster had the idea of selecting fifteen barrels from among these sixty to make a blend called "Jean Gautreau". The choice of barrels is made during a blind tasting after one year of barrel ageing. A committee consisting of the cellarmaster, the oenologist, Sylvie Gautreau, and Jean Gautreau evaluates wine from each barrel. The fifteen highest scoring barrels are blended and put into special bottles. These are brown and taller than the bottles used for Sociando-Mallet to avoid any risk of confusion between the two wines.
This was never designed to be what is called a "garage wine" with extra-low yields and unusual winemaking techniques. "Jean Gautreau" is simply another version, indeed another vision, of the Sociando-Mallet spirit, offering a different blend from the estate's main wine, the taste of a captured moment. It is not more concentrated, or better, or a luxury product, or a marketing gimmick. It is just another way of apprehending Sociando-Mallet.
The "Jean Gautreau" has a higher proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon than Sociando Mallet and is a somewhat austere wine in its youth, requiring longer ageing in the bottle to reach its full potential.
Postings on the Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France (Posted and Forthcoming):
Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), France
Bordeaux Wine Tour 2013 by ombiasy
Bordeaux Wines and their Classifications: The Basics
Bordeaux - En Primeur, Negociants, Courtiers, the Quai de Chartons and the Place de Bordeaux – A Short Introduction
How Does the Negociant System in Bordeaux Work? Tour and Tasting at Millésima - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Dining and Wining on Boulevard Montparnasse in Paris: La Rotonde, Le Dôme and La Coupole, France – Pre-Bordeaux Wine Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours, France
Tour and Tasting from Barrel at Domaine de Chevalier, Graves, Appellation Pessac-Léognan, Grand Cru Classé, with Owner Adrien Bernard - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Dinner with a View: At Restaurant L’Estacade in Bordeaux City - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in Bordeaux City - An Update
Schiller’s Favorite Seafood Places in Bordeaux City, France - An Update
Saint Emilion Wines and their Classification, Bordeaux, France
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in St. Emilion, France
The Wine Empire of the von Neipperg Family in France, Bulgaria and Germany
Tour and Tasting at Château Canon La Gaffelière, Appellation Saint-Emilion, Premier Grand Cru Classé – Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Tour and Wine Pairing Lunch at Château Beauséjour, Appellation Puisseguin Saint-Emilion, with Owner/ Winemaker Gérard Dupuis - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Tour and Tasting at Château Figeac, Premier Grand Cru Classé B, in Saint-Émilion – Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Tour and Tasting at Château Beauregard, Appellation Pomerol – Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Tour with Dany Rolland: Château Le Bon Pasteur in Pomerol – Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Wine-pairing Lunch at Château Le Bon Pasteur, Pomerol, with Dany Rolland – Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Tasting were it all Started: At the "Garage" of Jean-Luc Thunevin, Owner and Winermaker of Château Valandraud, Premier Grand Cru Classé since 2012 - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Charcuterie and Fromage at Chez Pascal in Saint Emilion - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Tour and Tasting at Château de Fargues, Sauternes, with Prince Eudes d’Orléans - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Wine-pairing Lunch at the 1-star Michelin Restaurant Claude Darroze, with Marie-Hélène Lévêque, Owner of Châteaux Chantegrive - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Visit: Château de Chantegrive, Appellation Grave, with Owner Marie-Hélène Lévêque - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Visit and Tasting: Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Pessac-Léognan, Grand Cru Classé – Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), France
Lunch at the Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte Restaurant La Grand’ Vigne (Chef: Nicolas Masse, 2 Stars Michelin) - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Visit of La Cité du Vin - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Lunch at Pinasse Café, Cap Ferret - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Visiting an Oyster Farm at Arcachon Bay, Bordeaux: Raphael Doerfler at Earl Ostrea Chanca - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
The 5 Premiers Grands Crus Chateaux en 1855 of Bordeaux, France
What is a Bordeaux Cru Bourgeois? France
Tour and Tasting at Château Palmer, Margaux, 3ième Grand Cru Classé - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Tour and Tasting at Château Pichon-Longueville Baron in Pauillac - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Lunch at Château Pichon-Longueville-Baron with Chef à Domicile Bernadet Damien - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Tour and Tasting at Château Lafon-Rochet with Owner Michel Tesseron – Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
At the Invitation of Owner Michel Tesseron: Private Dinner at Château Lafon-Rochet, Saint-Estèphe, 4ième Grand Cru Classé – Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Tour and Tasting at Château Sociando Mallet, Appellation Haut-Médoc
How a Barrel is Made: Visit of the Cooperage Berger & Fils in Vertheuil
Lunch were the Locals eat: At Le Peyrat in Saint-Estèphe in Saint Estephe
Tour and Tasting at Château Léoville Poyferré, Saint-Julien, 2ième Grand Cru Classé, with Anne Cuvelier
Tour and Tasting at Château Margaux, Appellation Margaux, 1ière Grand Cru Classé
Tour and Tasting at Château Kirwan, Appellation Margaux, 3ième Grand Cru Classé, with Owner Nathalie Schyler
Picnic Lunch at Château Kirwan, Appellation Margaux, 3ième Grand Cru Classé, with Owner Nathalie Schyler
Tour and Wine Dinner at Château Haut-Bailly, Graves, Appellation Pessac-Léognan, Grand Cru Classé, with Daina Paulin