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Chateau Labegorce

Chateau Labegorce Winery
The origins of Labégorce lie in a large estate in the northern parts of the commune of Margaux which belonged to the Gorce (or Gorsse) family, perhaps as long ago as the 14th Century. The family were originally merchants, gradually climbing the social ladder in Bordeaux, assuming a more aristocratic standing in the community as they did so. They were still the proprietors here in the 18th Century, and documents from that time indicate that there was viticulture on the estate, the vineyards dotted between fields of wheat and pasture where cattle grazed. This was the situation at the time of the French Revolution, when like so many other estates in Bordeaux, Labégorce was divided and sold off, giving rise to three estates that still estate today. The first, that which concerns us here, is Chateau Labégorce and the second is Labégorce-Zédé, named for Pierre Zédé who acquired the estate in 1840. The third is the curiously named L'Abbé Gorsse de Gorsse, an estate long defunct as far as viticulture is concerned, but which is still clearly visible on the currently available maps of the commune. Following the break-up of the original estate the modern-day Labégorce first passed to a gentleman named Capelle, and subsequently changed hands a number of times, most recently coming into the ownership of Hubert Perrodo in 1989.

The Labégorce vineyards include three main plots, totalling 70 hectares in all, although only approximately 40 hectares are fully planted up. All three plots lie in the northernmost part of the commune. The largest plot, accounting for about two-thirds, lies just northeast of the fine chateau, which was constructed by the renowned architect Courcelles. There is a second plot around the chateau itself, accounting for about a quarter of all the Labégorce vines, while the smallest plot lies a little further north around the church in Soussans. The vines average 30 years of age, with the oldest vines, of which there are just four hectares, dating from between 1902 and 1950. More date from 1951 to 1985, whereas a quarter date from 1989 when extensive replanting took place. Vineyard practices involve careful use of chemicals, with no herbicide used at all, and yields are typically 50 hl/ha. Harvesting is by hand, and fermentation begins with a short, cold maceration followed by a temperature controlled process. Each parcel of vines, of which there are many, is vinified separately. The blend is 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Malolactic fermentation takes place in oak, 30% of which is new, where the wine spends up to fifteen months. It is fined using egg whites before bottling. The grand vin is Chateau Labégorce, and the second wine is Chateau Tour de Laroze. There is also a third wine, produced from a 4 hectare plot entitled to the Haut-Médoc appellation, called La Mouline de Labégorce

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