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Château Tronquoy-Lalande

The phoenix of Saint-Estephe

A few months after they bought Château Montrose, 2nd Grand Cru Classé of Saint-Estephe, Martin and Olivier Bouygues bought Château Tronquoy-Lalande in Saint-Estephe in 2006. Rather than absorb this confidential property that they could have attached to Montrose, they decided to make it a phoenix. Story of a spectacular resurrection.

Paolo Basso, Hélène Brochet et Yves Delsol

"The soils of the cellars had a dirt floor, the vineyard was fragmented, with a large number of missing stocks, the commercial ambition was limited to the exclusive sale entrusted to a single trader of Bordeaux ... The 16-hectare estate finally waited for a buyer to revive," says Hélène Brochet, director of communication. Ten million euros have been invested over the three years following the acquisition to rebuild this "nugget" historically known as one of the most beautiful terroirs of Saint-Estèphe. The first phase consisted in reconstituting the original vineyard, now 30 hectares, then in replanting the missing stocks and opening the way to a viticulture that will soon be 100% organic.

On the lands that dominates the Gironde estuary at an elevation of 23 meters high, composed of beautiful deep gravels mixed with blocks of clay, very different from those of Montrose, the Merlot dominates in the planted grape varieties, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% of Petit Verdot. In the replanting projects, the owners decided to dedicate 1.8 hectares to the development of a grand white wine, a blend of two grape varieties: Sémillon and Sauvignon Gris. In 2008, the second step consisted in refitting the technical premises with a totally modern equipment, from the harvest reception to the vat room, the barrel cellar, the bottling line, the storage ... Facilities worthy of a Grand Cru. Yves Delsol, director of the château for several years, is pleased to show his new kingdom: “During the harvest, we carry out a very precise intra-plot selection. Each tank then keeps its identity during vinification, which allows us to reveal the best of our terroir”. Today, the property produces about 150,000 bottles of red wine, out of which about 20% is the second wine, Tronquoy de Sainte-Anne, and since 2011 a confidential cuvée of about 5,000 bottles of Château Tronquoy-Lalande White.

"Although it is not a Classified Growth of 1855, we work like a Grand Cru. Tronquoy-Lalande is a wine that combines the powerfulness of a Saint-Estèphe with aromas of ripe fruit and silky and fine tannins," says Hervé Berland, the manager. It is now distributed by about fifteen merchants from the Bordeaux trade and the estate is now open to visits and tastings. The 13 years of the Bouygues era revived Tronquoy-Lalande. The saga can now continue.

Bénédicte Chapard