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Château de La Dauphine

Biodynamic and touristic turn at La Dauphine

Completed in 1750, the chateau owes its name to the Dauphine of France and mother of Louis XVI, Marie-Josèphe de Saxe, who stayed there shortly after its construction. Still today she could marvel of the silent beauty of the places and be delighted with the feminine imprint that she left. Because here, out of 19 employees, the majority are women, in the management, tourism development or tractor team! But does La Dauphine therefore produce a feminine wine? What is certain is that it softens the appellation, still marked by a very virile reputation of solid tannins.

Paolo Basso et Marion Marker

The cellar with its gravity-controlled circular vat room and its arm that turns like a clock evidences the desire to respect the grapes (90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc) and the expression of its aromas: “Important investments have been done in the early 2000s. With Bernard Mazières’s help a top-notch vinification tool has been designed. The Labrune family continues to invest to raise La Dauphine up to their ambitions”, explains Marion Merker, in charge of wine tourism.

A look at the vineyard, and you quickly understand the subtleties of the desired philosophy: planting cereals between the vines so that their roots aerate the ground, beehives in the park, nest for bats ... At La Dauphine, life has reclaimed its rights. Here, we observe, we anticipate, we spray chamomile, horsetail or nettle against pest, at the days fixed by the lunar calendar. Same care in the cellar: plot selection of course with Michel Rolland provides advice for the blending, but also trials of aging in sandstone amphora and tulip-shaped concrete vats.

If it takes tenacity to impose organic and biodynamic viticulture, La Dauphine has adopted the same qualities to invent a fun and exciting wine touristic offer. A daring rewarded three times with a Best of Gold Award: “Architecture & Landscape” in 2014, “Restoration” in 2016 and “Enhancement of Environmental Practices” in 2018. Here, visits and workshops vary depending on the season. You can make classic visits and olfactory workshop with the game 'Nez du Vin', nature tours where you discover the work of the vine, the apiary, the biodynamic workshop, aquaponics, the vegetable garden in permaculture and the aroma garden to end with a tasting of 3 wines in a cocoon planted in the heart of the park, you can have lunch near the pool, picnic in the vineyards or have more refined meals. The Chateau also rents rooms, both for private events such as weddings or professional seminars. 4,000 visitors were welcomed last year, mainly English-speaking, to who are reserved 10% of the production. La Dauphine produces 200,000 bottles in two cuvees, Château de la Dauphine and the second wine 'Delphis de la Dauphine' which means 'dolphin' in Greek. Sold on the Bordeaux marketplace, the first wine is now one of the essential labels of the wine fairs but is also distributed in Asia and on the American market.

Bénédicte Chapard