Château La Clotte
The origins of the modern-day Château La Clotte lie in ancient times, and are perhaps shared with nearby Château Le Prieuré. It is located in Aux Menuts, just outside the St Emilion town walls, on the eastern side. It was here that the Cordeliers, a Franciscan order named for their simple belts made of cord, tended their vines, before they lost everything during the Revolution. It is, at the very least, a potential origin for the vineyard.
More certainly related to the origins of the domaine, the noble Grailly family also have a history of owning land and vines here, since at least the mid-18th century. They were not actively working the land though, and it was not until they made a move to partition off their land, during the latter years of the 19th century, that we can say the domaine was truly born.
The Grailly Family
It was at this time that the founder of Château La Clotte ordered the construction of a wall around his vines, clearly defining the boundaries of this new domaine. Although the identity of the responsible party is not entirely clear, it must either have been Henry Gaston de Grailly (1826 – 1913) or his son, Marquis Archambaud de Grailly (1852 – 1929). The Grailly family were, notably, also responsible for the construction of the rather gothic tower which still stands, sentry-like, over the vines today.
Despite having invested time and energy in the creation and upgrading of their domaine, in 1913 Archambaud de Grailly decided to sell the estate. The buyer was a neighbour, Sylvain Chailleau, proprietor of the now-defunct Clos Bergat-Bosson-Pigasse. Although this acquisition allowed Sylvain to unify the two vineyards he at first kept them separate, making two separate wines. He focused instead on the vineyard, which was extensively replanted at this time with the usual varieties, namely Merlot and Cabernet Franc, as well as some Malbec. It was sometime later, between 1922 and 1929, that he joined the two domaines together, in doing so creating Château La Clotte de Grailly.