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Château de Malleret : following in the great tradition of Bordeaux châteaux

Winegrower BordeauxThe director of Château de Malleret, Bruno Von der Heyden, has a passion for fine wines, conceiving and producing them as if nurturing children. On an exceptional terroir, with childhood memories still vivid, he takes his inspiration from his surroundings ensuring that each vintage is worthy of being part of the family.

Located just 15 km from Bordeaux, Château de Malleret is aptly named. It is a castle, a real one, dating from the 17th century and once owned by one of the king’s squires. Protected by its 290 hectares of parkland, the magnificent building accommodates several worlds. The world of wine making which dates back to its origins and the world of horse breeding with its magnificent stables built following the English model of the 19th century. And of course, the Chateau itself, giving the premises its essence.

Despite its prestigious past, Château de Malleret knows how to be discreet. The vines are hidden from the Lord and Lady of the house and certain parcels are still surrounded by a training track, a vestige from the days when there was a stud farm for race horses. These historic buildings now have another destiny. The stables host concerts, exhibitions and other gala evenings, while the residence, Château d’Hôtes, organizes high class receptions, primarily for groups and businesses..

Nurturing a wine to maturity

The spirit of the wine produced at the chateau owes much to the domain’s three soil types. Deep gravel, sand-clay and clay-chalk. “You need to be a bit of an artist and know how to put together the aromas that the nature of the soil gives you,” explains Bruno Von der Heyden. “The wine should be treated humanely and not as an industrial product....” He extends the metaphor by saying that, “the fermenting room is where the wine is born and the barrel cellar the place where it blossoms. You have to be patient, authoritative and affectionate at the same time, you have to know how to juggle freedom with constraint”. Once mature, the wine should express fully the aspirations of its creator while at the same time developing its own personality, its own character.... its originality.

Bruno Von der Heyden concludes modestly, “Even if it is important to be close to one’s wine and to nurture it as a father nurtures his child, I still genuinely believe that quality begins in the vine. Don’t forget that the grape is essential!”

“This chateau is in my blood”

Bruno Von der Heyden’s personal history is closely linked to that of the chateau. “I used to come and visit my cousin when I was about ten years old because the property belonged to my uncle”. “Born astride a barrel” and into a family involved in the world of fine Bordeaux wines, he explains his career choice in simple terms. “We naturally turn towards what’s around us, to what we know and then it becomes a passion.”

In the image of the ‘cosmopolitan’ trading Bordeaux of the 18th century, Bruno Von der Heyden is a mix of Dutch, Irish and Scottish blood as well as North-American, having lived there and worked from the East to the West coast. He concedes in short that, “This chateau is in my blood." Since his return to Chateau de Malleret in 2006, the director has created new memories, ‘good memories’ marked by, "the modesty that’s necessary when hoping that one can give soul to one’s wine!”

Dominique Salomon

Château de Malleret
33290 le Pian Médoc - Tel. 05 56 35 05 36 - Fax : 05 56 35 05 38 -