There is sometimes a sense of mystery surrounding the less well-known names of the famous Médoc communes, especially in Pauillac and St Julien. Cru Bourgeois estates are still relatively common sights in Margaux and St Estèphe, especially in the latter where they outnumber their classed growth peers in the way that girls used to outnumber boys at the Cabin, Liverpool’s stickiest nightspot. In Pauillac and St Julien, however, châteaux and vineyards not entitled to the cru classé moniker are increasingly rare beasts. They do exist, although even when we find them their history is somewhat soured by association with the grandees of the appellation. Looking at St Julien for example, the ever-popular Clos du Marquis essentially started out as a second wine for Château Léoville-Las-Cases while Château Moulin Riche, initially an independent estate, suffered the same fate on behalf of Château Léoville-Poyferré before it was reborn as a separate entity in the 2009 vintage.
The story of Château Lalande-Borie also owes much to one of the classed growths of the appellation, although here the association seems wholly positive. This is an estate which, until recently, did not even exist. It was born with the purchase of a parcel of vines by the Borie family, and rather than absorb their new vineyard into that of Château Ducru-Beaucaillou the parcel and wine it yielded was kept entirely separate. And it remains so to this day.
The genesis of this estate can be traced to 1970, at a time when Château Ducru-Beaucaillou was in the hands of Jean-Eugène Borie. He had inherited this second-growth estate from Francis Borie, who had purchased it in 1941 after which he had undertaken a monumental renovation. After his death, his work was continued by the aforementioned Jean-Eugène.