The exact origins of Château Berliquet are uncertain, this being an ancient vineyard, perhaps not surprising when we consider its position on some of the best terroir of the region. It sits a stone’s throw from some of the leading and longest-established names in the appellation, including Château Canon, Château Beauséjour and Château Bélair-Monange. We know with certainty that the vineyard was already established midway through the 18th century, as it appears on the Belleyme map of 1768, at which time it was in the hands of the noble de Sèze family. I suspect, however, that these slopes were planted long before this date.
Even at this very early stage the wine was highly regarded. It was during the early 19th century that the first written classifications of the wines of Bordeaux were published, and although the best known are those held in the Tastet et Lawton archives, or the various classifications of Wilhelm Franck, both of which were essential precursors to the 1855 classification, the writings of a broker named Paguierre are also worthy of our attention. In 1829 he rated Château Berliquet among the top five grands crus of St Emilion, high praise indeed, and more than one or two authors since that time have also spoken very highly of the terroir and, in some cases, the wine.
One has to wonder, then, why the domaine is not more renowned today. I suspect this relative anonymity can be traced back to the decisions taken here during the 20th century. Before we come to these events, however, we should explore in more detail what can be gleaned of this domaine’s rather obscure origins and history.