Château Cambon la Pelouse
The very image of modernity, the rather anonymous box-like buildings of Château Cambon la Pelouse (pictured below), which occupy a prominent roadside position on the edge of Macau, give no clue to this estate’s illustrious story. The story of Château Cambon la Pelouse is in fact one of great highs and lows, it being an estate that, just a few hundred years ago, was one of the best known not only in France but across all Europe. And yet, during the century that followed, its fortunes slumped to an all-time low, only for the domaine to then be rescued and restored to some semblance of its former glory by 20th-century proprietors.
Its position, for a cru bourgeois estate making its way in the world, could not be more favourable. The vineyards, situated on the highest point in the commune of Macau, are sandwiched between those of two classed growth estates. Little wonder that, after many decades of effort, the wines produced here today are among the very best to wear the cru bourgeois designation, and I suspect they could easily hold their own if tasted blind alongside some of their cru classé rivals. And yet the property, unlike some other well-known and high-flying non-cru-classé estates such as Château Sociando-Mallet and Château Phélan-Ségur, remains firmly below the radar of many Bordeaux drinkers.
In this profile I explore the rather patchy history of Château Cambon la Pelouse, from a time of great renown through to the era of desolation and then recovery, before moving on to look at the vineyards, the winemaking and the wines made here today.