Chateau La Conseillante is widely regarded as one of the most emblematic properties of Bordeaux’s Right Bank, located just east of Saint-Emilion in the Pomerol appellation. This stunning property has survived throughout the centuries and become a true legend among the wines of Pomerol. Let’s take a closer look at this historical chateau, where ultimate refinement means great winemaking finesse.
A Rich Family Heritage
The story begins over 300 years ago with the acquisition of the property in 1734 by Catherine Conseillan, a metal merchant from Libourne who ended giving her name to the estate. In 1871, the property passed to the Nicolas family, who maintain the 12 hectares of parcels unchanged from their beginning. For more than 146 years, the heirs of Louis Nicolas have remained passionately committed to the elaboration of fantastic wines, with their key motive being to offer a pure expression of Pomerol’s legendary terroir. In 1960, the heirs of the Nicolas family formed the “Civil Society of Nicolas Heirs,” whose members would supervise the actions of the Chateau’s manager and make strategic decisions. While the family does not currently reside on the property, the latter is still owned and overseen by Bertrand and Jean-Valmy Nicolas, who represent the 5th generation of the family’s history at Chateau La Conseillante.
The Flagship Terroir of the Pomerol Appellation
The one true flagship of the Pomerol appellation, shared by all of the famous chateaux that reside therein, is its prestigious terroir, one of the most widely regarded on the Right Bank of Bordeaux. It is this same combination of climate, soil and local know-how that has elevated chateaux like Petrus, Cheval Blanc and Chateau l’Evangile to become some of the best known wines not just in France but in the world. Planted on 12 hectares of vines, the vineyard of Chateau La Conseillante enjoys a rich and colourful mosaic of gravelly clay soils and some iron deposits, which is especially characteristic of the terroirs of the prestigious Petrus. It is this richness and complexity of the soil that allow the Merlot (a varietal representing 80% of the estate) to achieve its signature roundness and complexity. Merlot is truly considered the black pearl of the Grands Vins de Pomerol. Contributing to this complexity is the elaborate structure of Cabernet Franc (20% of the vines), which brings just the right dose of freshness to the blend. Combining these two all-stars of the Right Bank allows the wines of Chateau La Conseillante to express the characteristics of the land and the varietals most suited to them.
Tradition Among the Vines, Modern Excellence in the Winery
One of the most unique features of Chateau La Conseillante is how little the vineyards have changed throughout the 145 vintages produced there. Out among the vines, the estate relies on environmentally conscious methods of agriculture (without the use of herbicides), patience in awaiting the perfect maturity of fruit, and a strict control of both yields and sorting to ensure consistent high quality in the wines. Harvest has been manual since the foundation of the estate. But while the terroir has been left largely alone to do what it does best, the winery has seen a wave of new technologies to keep up with the times. The various replanting programmes are coupled with a remarkable plot-by-plot vinification tool, to ensure that each of the estate’s 18 plots are individually represented. The state-of-the-art winery feature a modern harvest reception facility with four sorting tables and a bunch destemmer, which makes possible a very gentle separation of berries from the stems. The winery’s unique oval-shaped cellar houses 22 epoxy-lined vats designed to facilitate easy pump-overs.
In the vats the grapes undergo a cold soaking at 10-12 °C for a period between 48 and 96 hours, depending on the vintage. Next, the fruit undergoes alcoholic fermentation and 2 weeks of maceration in order to get the most out of the beautiful red skins of Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes. The marc left behind after the free-run wine is removed is pressed in a traditional vertical press and the juice aged separately. Depending on the vintage, some of the press wine may be added to the free run in order to add tannins and enhance structure. The wines are aged for 18 months in oak barrels, out of which between 50-80% is new. The wines are racked twice to eliminate deposits and then fined with egg whites to clarify the liquid before bottling. In the spring the wines are blended and bottled into a unique bottle made from a specific mould.
The Wines of Chateau La Conseillante: A Legendary Style
The exceptional wines of Chateau La Conseillante have become known for their signature style, which has changed very little since the founding of the winery centuries ago. The estate produces wines that shine through in elegance and finesse, perfectly balancing acidity, alcohol and tannin. If one were to pick the most defining characteristics of these wines, it would no doubt be the fragrances of violets that first comes to mind. Powerful, with a deep aromatic complexity, the wine evolves notes of jammy red fruits and subtle hints of leaves and forest floor. A true signature of the house since 1871 is the purple capsule adorning each bottle, chosen in tribute to the most characteristic fragrance of the Cru. The silver-cut label and borders surround the “LN” coat of arms is also a lasting reference to the heirs of Louis Nicolas. Since 2007, Chateau La Conseillante has produced a second wine called “Duo de La Conseillante”, which follows in the footsteps of its illustrious big brother. The elegance of the house is complemented with younger fruit, notes of liquorice, the floral sweetness of violet and fresh red berries. These wines pay homage to the outstanding clay and gravel terroir of the parcels from whence they are sourced, statuesque cuvees of exception from this famous micro-appellation.
Focus on One of Our Favourites from Chateau La Conseillante
Chateau La Conseillante 2009
At tasting, the Chateau La Conseillante 2009 displays an expressive nose, combining aromas of black fruits, violets, fresh almonds and liquorice. The wine is perfectly silky, offering well-integrated tannins on the palate. It shows off great power, without dryness or astringency. This is a balanced wine with a remarkably long finish. To be consumed before 2040. Discover this Wine