The land between the five communes of the Margaux appellation to the north and the suburbs of Bordeaux a few kilometres to the south is a happy hunting ground rich in under-rated vinous treasures just waiting to be discovered by those prepared to put in a little time. Some châteaux are well-known, and as you head south on the D2 it is not long after passing the rather grandiose gateway to Château Giscours, with its cobbled driveway, cast-iron railings, flagpoles and fountain, that you come across one of the Haut-Médoc’s most famous names, Château Cantemerle, and just a couple of kilometres further on is the appellation’s highest-ranked name, Château La Lagune.
Hidden behind these grand estates, however, are many others with names less immediately recognisable and yet in a number of cases no less worthy of our attention. The châteaux may not be so ostentatious, the grounds and gardens less formal, the facilities more functional, but some of these tiny châteaux turn out lovely wines, classically styled, correct and occasionally even seductive. Sitting right on the side of the D2 is one such estate, a petit château of pale stone which bears more than a passing resemblance to a Pomerol farmhouse such as Château Lafleur or, especially with its pale green shutters, perhaps even the old (original) Château La Fleur-Pétrus.
But this is of course neither; this is Château Belle-Vue, a property which burst onto the Bordeaux scene in the early-21st century with some very attractive wines made by Vincent Mulliez, a banker by trade who returned to his childhood home, Bordeaux, to try his hand – with evident success it seems – at making wine. Before we get to Vincent’s dramatic revitalisation of this estate, though, we first need some history.Please log in to continue reading: