Château Fleur Cardinale
When I first visited St Emilion I was inevitably drawn to the town, which is not exactly short on charm, and some of its most famous names, led by the likes of Château Ausone and Château Canon, among others. It was only during the years that followed that I pulled myself away from these châteaux in order to look into this appellation’s peripheries. To the west lie the likes of Château Angélus, Le Dôme, Clos des Jacobins and many other famous estates. Those châteaux that lie to the east, however, should also not be overlooked.
Perhaps the most notable on the road that winds its way towards Castillon-la-Bataille is Château Valandraud, once more commonly known as Château Bel Air Ouÿ. Close by, on the opposite side of the road to Château Valandraud, lies Château de Pressac; while the wines of these estates differ in terms of texture and winemaking (and price too, of course) I sense there is a common theme running between them, in fruit profile if nothing else. Another estate nearby that seems to continue this theme is Château Fleur Cardinale.
The property seems to date from at least the 18th century, and the vineyard from the 19th century. Land registry documents dating to 1819 clearly show the presence of buildings and a well laid-out vineyard, with multiple parcels of vines, in the lieu-dit of Thibeaud. At this time the property was known as Clos Bel-Air. It only took on its modern name in the second half of the 20th century, when it was rechristened by Jean-Louis Obissier, who purchased the estate in 1975. The Obissier family were keen horse-racing enthusiasts, and their favourite two horses were named Fleur and Cardinale. Legend has it that when one of these two steeds died, the estate was renamed in their honour.