One Bordeaux maxim I learnt many years ago, probably on my very first visit to the region, is that a wine’s status or appellation is not always reflected in the grandeur of the château. And, indeed, vice versa. There are estates producing wines of great renown where the vineyards encircle little more than a farmhouse or some tumbledown property, perhaps the most obvious example – until the rebuild, completed in 2011 – being Le Pin, in Pomerol. Here a hectare of vines, responsible for one of the region’s most highly prized and costly wines, surrounded a drab and dilapidated maison which looked as though might blow over in a strong gust of wind.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, some of the left bank’s most grandiose châteaux are to be found not among the ranks of the classed growth estates, but among the cru bourgeois properties of the Médoc and Haut-Médoc appellations. Perhaps one of the most wonderful is Château Larose-Trintaudon, a fabulous château which occupies a prominent position at the side of the Route de Pauillac. With at least four stories, multiple facades, a mansard roof festooned with chimneys and best of all an impressive central tower, it looks as though it should be at least a classed growth, perhaps one ranked alongside its namesake Château Gruaud-Larose in St Julien.
The story of this estate is not a straightforward one though, the building having fallen into ruin less than a century after it had been erected. On this page and the next I present a history of Château Larose-Trintaudon, a story much of which is intertwined with that of its close neighbour, Château Larose Perganson, a property I will mention here but which deserves a full and dedicated profile of its own. Of course, I continue on the third and fourth pages with an examination of the vineyards and wines, and my opinions on recent vintages and my tasting notes.