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Château Laroze : Sky, earth... Laroze


Winegrower St-Émilion
The family domain in Saint-Emilion produces a distinguished, feminine wine, rich and powerful, the result of the passionate work and the long-term vision of Guy Meslin, descendant of the vineyard’s founder. Made with passion, this fine wine fully expresses its terroir.

The Meslin family have been cultivating the vine on Saint-Emilion soil for four centuries. Genealogy reveals that the family’s first vineyard was established in Mazerat in 1610. In 1882, the great-great-grandmother of the current manager, Guy Meslin, created the vineyards in Laroze. “A wealthy, young widow, she embarked on the adventure,” recounts Guy Meslin. Something which couldn’t have been easy for a woman on her own at that time. And yet, business took off and the domain is still thriving today. Laroze wine retains the finesse and elegance of this woman of character. “I’m often told that our wine is feminine,” says Guy Meslin. Delicate, elegant, whether a Grand Cru Classé or a Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, Laroze wines remain rich and powerful, benefitting from a fine, rare terroir of clay covered with silica. ‘The finesse is the result of the silica whilst the clay gives structure to the wine,’ points out Guy Meslin.

Changing the composition of grape varieties

60% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc with the remainder Cabernet Sauvignon, the grape varieties on the domain are undergoing change. Guy Meslin’s idea is to increase the percentage of Cabernet Franc to 40% because, to his mind, this long-neglected variety deserves to be developed. The owner has also invested in the modification of plant density, going from 5600 plants per hectare to 10 000 plants per hectare. The objective is to produce a richer wine and a superior yield from the 27 and a half acres. “We have not expanded, but we have optimized the area because I am among those who think that letting grass grow between plants is absurd. In fact, we should be encouraging natural competition between the vines,” insists Guy Meslin. Laroze has relied on high density planting since 2005.
In the wine cellar, every effort has been made to ensure that the latest technological tools serve his terroir. “We are investing in quality to see us through the next 50 years,” he states. A vibrating table to eliminate damaged berries, a de-stemmer, a system for separating three qualities of grapes and finally a lift to enable the grape berries to be poured into the tanks from above. Everything is done to ensure the quality of each vintage’s grapes and to ensure the best expression of the terroir.

Back to roots

Guy Meslin did not decide to take on the property on a whim. He took his time. He travelled all over the world, from South Africa to Australia, eventually realizing that, “We have everything we need at home.” The youngest of three children, he returned to his roots and Laroze in 1986. At the age of 29 he was ready to take on his childhood domain. At first with his father, and then from 1990, alone. His travels have given him an open mind and a taste for simple pleasures. “Wine is an invitation to travel. It should open up a world as rich as possible, sparkling with multi-faceted tastes and smells,” insists Guy Meslin. The time needed to make a wine symbolizes the route taken when travelling. It is about discovery rather than the destination.

Dominique Salomon

The opinion of an expert Bordeaux wine taster

Jean-Marc Quarin has been publishing his wine tasting notebooks for 20 years. Chronicles, analysis of primeur wine and detailed reports according to growth and vintage can be found on his website On this same site, you can also find a database giving access to 20 000 notes on numerous vintages and châteaux, mainly in the Bordeaux area. Its originality lies in giving information on the scoring system, the observations made at different stages in the life of the wine and current market prices with a value for money rating.
A subscription, which gives access to the database plus the chronicles and detailed reports, costs 90 Euros per year. ‘This is a lively guide based on the link between my scores and up-to-date prices of wines on the market,’ states Jean-Marc Quarin.

What are the characteristics of Château Laroze wines?

The growth is based on sandy clay soil. The sand gives the wine tenderness while the clay gives it structure. An attractive wine since 2001/2002.

Which vintage has impressed you the most?

Laroze wines have been increasing in intensity, especially since 2002, which was the first vintage to inaugurate automatic sorting by grape quality. The 2003 vintage is the most memorable. The clay and its freshness prevented the heat wave from hindering maturity, giving an unctuous wine while others are dry. 2005 was a great wine and 2008 very good.

What do you like about Chateau Laroze?

The meticulous work that has gone on for many years. This chateau has managed to produce a wine which price does not yet reflect its quality because you need about 10 years to build a brand.

Chateau Laroze in Jean-Marc Quarin’s data base

118 Chateau Laroze vintages, from 1988 to 2008, appear in the database across 68 reviews. The scores range from 14.5 to 16.5. Prices listed vary between 15 and 30 Euros.

Jean-Marc Quarin

Château Laroze
1, Goudichau - 33330 St-Émilion
Tél. 00 33 (0)5 57 24 79 79
Fax. 00 33 (0)5 57 24 79 80