When Roederer bought Château Pichon-Lalande in 2007 they also acquired the less well-known Haut-Médoc estate Château Bernadotte. This vineyard had been acquired by May-Eliane de Lencquesaing in 1997, and had thus been part of her estates for a decade prior to its sale. It did not, however, remain with Roederer for quite so long; in late 2012, in what looks like the second step in a streamlining of their Bordeaux portfolio (having sold off another minor estate earlier the same year), Roederer sold the property to a Hong-Kong-based retail and travel organisation, King Power Group.
Curiously, the château was named in honour of Jean Baptiste Jules Bernadotte, a military man who served as a maréchal to Napoleon I. Remarkably, in 1810 Bernadotte was made heir-elect to the Swedish throne, by the will of the Swedish people. When the Swedish monarch Charles XIII died in 1818 without an heir, Bernadotte succeeded him, and he ruled Sweden (and ultimately Norway as well) until his death in 1844.
The château is attractive although its impact is somewhat muted due to its position at the centre of Le Fournas, a slightly sprawling village almost directly west of Pauillac. A prominent street corner position is one thing, but I can’t help feeling an expanse of vineyards and perhaps a tree-lined avenue would have done wonders for its style. It was built in 1860, some years after Bernadotte’s death, and extensively renovated in 1989 by the then owner, Curt Eklund, a Swedish industrialist. Despite his Swedish origins it was not Eklund that named the estate for Bernadotte, however, as under his tenure the estate was known as Château Fournas. Indeed, harking back to this time, even some of the literature concerning the estate produced by subsequent proprietor Roederer referred to the estate as Château Fournas Bernadotte.