Discovering an estate such as Château d’Agassac is one of the rewards of looking beyond the classed growth châteaux of Bordeaux. The vineyards in this particular corner of Ludon-Médoc, just around the corner from Château La Lagune, although certainly not the most famous, have frequently received recognition through the region’s various classification systems. The 1932 Cru Bourgeois classification, for example, listed a number of relevant estates including Château Fontbonne-Agassac, Château Ludon-Pomiès-Agassac and Château Pomiès-Agassac, and in more recent years the modern-day Château d’Agassac has regularly appeared in the annually renewed Cru Bourgeois listing.
The problem is that much of what is written about Bordeaux and its wines fails to look beyond the upper echelons to these Cru Bourgeois properties. This is a mistake, as anyone who should ever be fortunate enough to set eyes on this château, or indeed taste its wines, will perhaps realise. This is a truly ancient estate, its history stretching back to feudal times, to at least the 13th century. Nevertheless a remodelling in more recent centuries added a number of Renaissance features, and thus the château now has the appearance of a Hollywood-esque fairytale lair, complete with moat. And the grounds are immaculate, the property surrounded by acres of tightly clipped grass, which radiates an emerald green.
The wines aren’t to be sniffed at either. Standing proudly behind his most recent vintage, the régisseur Jean-Luc Zell cuts an imposing figure. As I tasted his wines, he told me something of the estate, and his philosophy when it comes to the Agassac range. Before we come to this very recent chapter in the story of Château d’Agassac, however, it is time for a little history. With such ancient origins, my research has uncovered a huge amount of detail which I have tried to distil into as succinct an account as is possible. It will, however, be surplus to requirements for some readers, so for detail on the domaine today skip to page three, and detail on the vineyards, vinifications and my tasting notes are on pages four and five.