User login

Château Goubau : a story of passion

Winegrowers’ Portraits
Winegrowers’ Portraits Côtes de Castillon

Château GOUBAU


On the top of the Saint Philippe d’Aiguilhe plateau, the highest point of the Bordeaux region at the height of 100 m, Château Goubau appears at the bend in the yew-planted road that winds through the vineyard.
Two big hunting dogs come to welcome me, soon followed by their masters.
Béa and Stéphane Goubau come from the North, from Belgium exactly. Great connoisseurs and collectors of wines from all corners of the world, they have always had a weakness for the fineness and complexity of the Bordeaux wines. And one day: “A friend called us on a Monday morning to tell us about a lovely little Château in Bordeaux that was for sale. So we came to have a look …” Stéphane remembers. During their first visit in May 2005, the couple immediately falls in love with the place, the terroir, the people and the infrastructure. The soils of the vineyard, a direct extension of the plateau that hosts the greatest domains of Saint-Emilion, are of exceptional quality. Even if it is permanently exposed to the sun, the vineyard enjoys a continuous gentle breeze, which helps to avoid overheating of the grapes and to rapidly evaporate the stagnant humidity of the morning. Furthermore, the clay and limestone subsoil enables an optimal water regulation which keeps freshness in the roots and makes the plants more resistant to drought. It is for the Goubau the occasion to turn their passion for wine into the creation of their own product. The decision does not wait: “We bought it right away!”
Béa and Stéphane Goubau

But if the terroir of Château Gerbaÿ—as it was then called—is perfectly suited for the production of a quality wine, the former owner used to sell mainly bulk wines and privileged quantity. Transformations were necessary! In a very first time, to symbolize the revival of the Domain, the couple renames it “Château Goubau”. Then they undertake huge renovations and heavy investments in equipment of which an exceptional tool imported from Italy and unique in Bordeaux: 2 horizontal 100-hectolitre stainless steel vats Oenomost, with rotational blades which ensure an automatic continuous total immersion of the must and the regulated injection of oxygen. With an electronic setting of temperature for each vat, these ultrasophisticated installations enable an immediate cooling of the must continuously. Only just 20 estates in the world have such equipment!
“But the biggest transformation and most of the work, Stéphane confirms, have taken place in the vineyards. We restructured them completely. We wanted to make wine in the way we thought fair, it is to say that we adopted an organic approach. Of course we wanted to make good wine, it was thus necessary to work the vineyard and to reduce the yield to harvest quality instead of quantity. We raised the trellis of the vine stocks to increase the leaf surface area thus enabling a better photosynthesis.”

New techniques have been implemented in the vineyard: the disbudding of the end of the winter, the thinning out of the leaves in July and the green harvest of August. Two sorting tables, one vibrating and the other classic and long, take the fully ripe grapes in an irreproachable sanitary state to a vinification process which combines tradition with modern methods.
The harvest undergoes cold maceration (8°C) during 6 days before fermentation starts. Then three vinification methods are implemented to aim at a well-balanced wine of advanced quality. Part of the harvest is vinified in a traditional way in cone shaped wood barrels (foudre); another part will undergo its alcoholic fermentation in new oak barrels enabling a remarkable 'fattening' and stabilization of the colour from the beginning; the third part will ferment in the famous Oenomost vats which ensure to preserve the maximum of the aromas and a better extraction of the fruit.
The estate now is in its 3rd year of organic conversion, followed up by ECOCERT. It will obtain its certification in 2011 for the whole property. “Organic farming demands more work, observation and care than the use of pesticides, Béa explains with a smile. We had to persuade the staff of the interest of the new methods. Help them and guide them to change their spirit and habits when adapting to organic viticulture was the most difficult!”
Advised by Pascal Poussevin and Jean-Michel Ferrandez, respected oenologists in the Bordeaux region, Béa and Stéphane Goubau run with passion their 12 hectares, planted 90% with Merlot, 5% with Cabernet Franc et 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. They even plan this year to plant a plot of Petit Verdot on a sunny slope. Their avowed goal is to produce one of the best wines of the appellation Castillon-Côtes-de-Bor­deaux which, given the terroir of the domain and the quality of their work, could be similar to a Saint-Emilion wine, but at a more affordable price. And having tasted on the spot the very young 2010, already overflowing with subtle aromas, I have no doubt about the fulfilling of their hopes.

Dominique Peyral-Bon

Vignobles Goubau
78 Lieu-dit Gerbaÿ
Tél. : 00 33 5 57 40 27 16

Mob. : 00 32 477 78 96 08
Fax : 00 33 5 57 40 66 39