If you are looking for both quality and value, the vineyards of the Médoc and the Haut-Médoc are certainly worthy of exploration. These two appellations frequently have, I think, much more to offer than the more famous communes of the left bank such as Pauillac or St Julien. When small domaines come up for sale in these latter appellations, there is often a financial bunfight to snap them up, their wealthy neighbours eager to expand their own vineyards. As a consequence, over the years, as these little vineyards have been absorbed into more famous estates, the number of cru bourgeois domaines gradually shrinks, and the number of domaines offering affordable Bordeaux does the same.
Thankfully, outside these more famous appellations, this practice is much less common. Domaines still change hands from time to time, but even when one wealthy buyer acquires several properties there is not usually the same merging and blending of vineyards and names. Witness the estate of Jean Guyon, one of the largest landholders in the Médoc appellation. He owns numerous properties around the hamlet of By, in Bégadan; they have each maintained their individual identities (there is no advantage to merging one estate into another), and thus the diversity within the region has been maintained. One of the more notable of Jean Guyon’s acquisitions is Château Greysac.
Château Greysac: History
There has been viticulture up in the Médoc for centuries, and useful works of reference dating from the 19th century including the writings of Wilhelm Franck and the various editions of Cocks et Féret all provide some detail on the wines of By and Bégadan, often much more information than they did for the likes of St Emilion or Pomerol. Despite both sources listing a large number of vignerons in these parts, I have not been able to link any of them to the modern-day Château Greysac. We know that the château was built during the 18th century prior to the French Revolution, presumably by some nobleman looking for an isolated rural retreat, or perhaps by some well-to-do merchant who was making a success of his vineyards. If the latter is true, however, it is strange that it is not more easily identifiable in the catalogues of the time.