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N°166

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Château Marquis d’Alesme

14/02/2020
a nugget in Margaux

You can’t get past Château Marquis d’Alesme and not admire its palatial appearance. The classic facades of this 3rd Classified Growth of 1855 with its arcades and pilasters, reminding the best Bordeaux traditions, delight the eye while the surprising perspective leading directly to the forest of Château Margaux arouse curiosity.
 

Once opened the door of the “Hameau”, a warm and cozy welcoming place, you embark onto a fascinating journey between tradition and modernity. Founded in 1585 by François d’Alesme, esquire and adviser of the King Henry III in the City Council of Bordeaux, in 1810 the estate became the property of Jan Bekker Teerlink, a famous and energetic Dutch trader. That's when the domain got its worldwide recognition.

Today, the Perrodo family continue to write the fascinating story of this estate. In 2006, the brilliant businessman and founder of the oil company Perenco, Hubert Perrodo acquires the estate, but unfortunately a few months later he died in the accident. After a difficult time of grief and hesitation, his daughter Nathalie Perrodo, 27 years old then, took over and on behalf of her family gave a new impetus to the property.

The mission of reconstitution of the wine estate is then entrusted to Bordeaux architect Fabien Pedelaborde. His renovation project of Château Soutard was awarded the Best of Gold Wine Tourism Architecture and Landscape Award 2012. During the next five consecutive years, with craftsmen and companions of 23 companies overall, all local, he transformed the cellar and made of it a bridge between the East and the West, highlighting the dual Franco-Chinese family culture.

The dragon watches over Marquis d’Alesme. Symbol of wisdom and imperial power in China, this mythical creature is already waiting for us at Hameau (or Eng. Hamlet) where his representations are part of the allegorical decoration of the wine cellar. His real kingdom is, however, within the vathouse. The railing above the vats, consisting of 22,000 brass scales, all shaped and riveted one by one, thus represents its tail. Protector by its nature, this mythical animal keeps an eye on the harvest here.
 

Nothing is left to chance and it is under the supervision of the chief winemaker (cellar master) that the evolution of every batch of wine takes place. All the more so as the new building takes over the natural declivity of the ground and now makes it possible to work by gravity from harvest until bottling. The installation of 80 hl wooden, stainless steel or concrete vats enables plot vinification.

Everything has its symbolic meaning and refers to the versatile Mother Nature. The walls are adorned with embossed concrete bas-reliefs, representing mountains, waves and clouds, reminiscent of the Tao philosophy and its five elements. A sequence of Moon doors, inviting to admire a performance in the Chinese gardens, stages here a ballet of barrels. The tranquility worthy of a divine temple allows a perfect aging of the even vintages in oak barrels (100% French origin) during about 18 months. The quest for precision is permanent, the final blend will be consolidated only after the aging which is undertaken in 60% new barrels and the rest in those of one-year. The two vintages never meet each other. Another cellar upstairs hosts the odd vintages.

 

www.marquisdalesme.wine