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Chateau Lafleur

ch-lafleur.jpgThe four-and-a-half hectares of vines that comprise Chateau Lafleur is a single plot that has four distinct soil types within it - varying proportions of gravel, clay and sand of different depths.  From these soils one of Bordeaux's most distinctive, unique, and greatest wines is produced (in sadly tiny quantities).  

The non-descript property that houses one of the world's great wines is both home to a young family, that of Jacques Guinaudeau's son, but also Lafleur's winery and barrel room (such as it is!).lafleur-vats.jpg

The vineyard is planted 50/50 Cabernet Franc and Merlot, an unusually high proportion of Cabernet Franc, but most is on soild well-suited to the variety, close beside Vieux Chateau Certan's plot of Cabernet Franc as it happens.  Vinification is quite straightforward, with the first (and most important) sorting done in the vineyards, as multiple passes or harvests are made, ensuring only perfectly-ripened fruit is picked.  The grapes are placed in small vats, some stainless steel and several small concrete vats utilised for the very best plots.  The wine has a two to three week maceration, before being placed in 50% new oak for 18 months, with malolactic fermentation taking place in barrique.  The wine is racked every three months prior to a light egg white fining and bottled unfiltered.

m-guinaudeau.jpgSelection is extremely strict here.  A second wine, Penses de Lafleur, is produced (often primarily from a 0.7 hectare plot of vines, as well as any barrels not up to standard) and remaining wine that is not deemed of suitable quality is sold off in bulk.  Further, in poor vintages (such as 1987 and 1991) no wine is released whatsoever.

These wines are extraordinary, and extremely rare.  Without doubt, they are the qualitative equivalent of the likes of neighbouring Petrus or Le Pin, yet with their own distinct personality.