Often referred to as ‘Bordeaux’s most charming wine.’ This former Lafite-Rothschild vineyard is now managed by Andrew McInnes, and Magali Guyon, who are constantly searching for finesse and harmony, to produce truly memorable wines that fully express the nature of their unique little plots of land that sit on the highest plateau in the Médoc.
“At Château La Cardonne, it’s not simply a marriage of soil and climate. It’s the gentle slopes offering themselves to the sun, the hare that leaps happily over the vines, the birds who nest in their trees, the bees who come to visit in search of wild flowers, and the sea of clouds that float past us in the early morning.
It is the communion with these surroundings that allow us to compose their wines, embracing it all, and bottling it for others to love.” Most importantly they have the patience required to leave the wines gracefully ageing in their magnificent underground ‘cathedral’ for 5 years and more, until they’re ready to be truly enjoyed by wine lovers all around the world.
Wine-growing at Chateau La Cardonne began in the 17th century, when its gravel and clay-limestone soils in the northern Medoc commune of Blaignan, five miles beyond the St-Estephe appellation, was first planted with vines. After many years of ownership by Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, who completely restructured the vineyard in the 1980's, the estate was fortunately acquired by the Charloux family in 1990. Their first step was to install state-of-the-art winemaking facilities, and build the largest underground bottle cellar in the Médoc, locally known as "The Cathedral".
The vineyard is planted with a grape mix of 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc, and the vines average 30 years of age. After vinification specially adjusted to suit each varietal, Chateau La Cardonne wines are blended and aged for 12-14 months in French oak barrels, after which they are bottle-aged in the chateau's spectacular underground cellar.
One of the most—if not the most—famous red wine regions of the world, the Medoc reaches from the city of Bordeaux northwest along the left bank of the Gironde River almost all the way to the Atlantic. Its vineyards climb along a band of flatlands, sandwiched between the coastal river marshes and the pine forests in the west. The entire region can only claim to be three to eight miles wide (at its widest), but it is about 50 miles long.
While the Medoc encompasses the Haut Medoc, and thus most of the classed-growth villages (Margaux, Moulis, Listrac, St-Julien, Pauillac and St. Estephe) it is really only those wines produced in the Bas-Medoc that use the Medoc appellation name. The ones farther down the river, and on marginally higher ground, are eligible to claim the Haut Medoc appellation, or their village or cru status.
While the region can’t boast a particularly dramatic landscape, impressive chateaux disperse themselves among the magically well-drained gravel soils that define the area. This optimal soil draining capacity is completely necessary and ideal in the Medoc's damp, maritime climate. These gravels also serve well to store heat in cooler years.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the best of these are densely hued, fragrant, full of fruit and boast a structure that begs for cellar time. Somm Secret—Blends from Bordeaux are generally earthier compared to those from the New World, which tend to be fruit-dominant.