Château Clos de Boüard
I confess it is a few years since I last ventured into the vineyards of Montagne-Saint-Emilion, one of several Saint-Emilion satellites which orbit the much grander central appellation. I was visiting Château Guadet Plaisance, and it was an eye-opening afternoon. The soils were rich in clay and peppered with hard, craggy lumps of limestone, surely the equal of anything that could be found in the vineyards of more famous properties in more prestigious appellations.
As for the wines they were very good, rich in texture and full of dark and convincing fruit. It struck me that this appellation was a huge and untapped resource, but I had to ask myself, why should consumers not opt for one of the many good wines from the appellation’s more prestigious neighbour, which with 5,000 hectares of vines also offers many good-value options? What would it take for us to see past the ‘lowly’ Montagne-Saint-Emilion appellation on the label?
The answer, perhaps, is for the name of the proprietor to eclipse the name of the appellation. There is a reason, for example, why the wines of Roc de Cambes sell like hot cakes, and it isn’t anything to do with the Côtes de Bourg. So too with Château La Fleur de Boüard in Lalande-de-Pomerol, an estate reborn in 1998 when it was acquired by Hubert de Boüard de Laforest of Château Angélus in 1998. He took a floundering estate in an overlooked appellation and, with the help of his daughter Coralie de Boüard (pictured below), turned it around. Today it is a well-regarded and well-received wine, which I suspect achieves one of the highest (if not the highest) prices in the appellation.
I suspect we are going to see the same phenomenon in Montagne-Saint-Emilion, only this time it is Coralie rather than her father Hubert who is leading the way. This profile looks at her work at the family’s most recently acquired estate, Château Clos de Boüard.