Spend enough time visiting Bordeaux and the roads soon start to become familiar; châteaux are no longer famous names, known only from labels on bottles, or from the pages of a studious tome which, let’s face it, is as close as the majority of us get to a bottle of Petrus or Le Pin. Instead they become familiar sights, landmarks for navigation. Turn right at Vieux Château Certan for Petrus, turn left just before Petrus for Château Lafleur, straight past Château Lafleur for Château Le Gay. Over time, the network of roads criss-crossing the Pomerol plateau have become old friends.
Of course, no matter how many times you visit a region, I think it is impossible to know every nook and cranny. There are a myriad undiscovered gems in Pomerol, small estates turning out interesting wines which are too often overlooked in favour of more famous names. Often these estates lurk in the darker corners of the appellation, on the vineyards of sand and crasse de fer that run along the railway line north of Libourne into the most south-eastern recess of the commune, or on the far side of the D1089, on the sandy soils that slowly decline towards the meandering course of the Isle, the Dordogne’s Libourne tributary.
Not every under-appreciated name in Pomerol lurks in this manner though. One that sits proud, seemingly hiding in plain sight on the Pomerol plateau, is Château Bourgneuf. In this profile I examine the history of this ancient but unsung estate, a neighbour to Château Trotanoy (which gives some indication of its central position), which has been in the possession of the same family for nearly two centuries.