Château Le Crock
Rather like the Médoc project Goulée from Cos d’Estournel, Le Crock is one of those names that perhaps doesn’t work quite so well in English as it does in French. The origins of the name are far from certain, but there does to be some local relevance at the very least, as evidenced by the coexistence of the Marais du Crock, a hook-shaped area of marshland which cuts into the St Estèphe heartland close to the hamlet of Marbuzet, at the tip of which sits Château Le Crock. This marshland wraps itself around the vineyards of Cos Labory and Cos d’Estournel and is contiguous with the marshy fields that run either side of the Jalle de Breuil, the drainage channel which passes just to the north of Lafite-Rothschild, and which forms the boundary between the St Estèphe and Pauillac appellations.
It seems plausible that the old French word croc, meaning hook, is the origin of crock as in both Marais du Crock and Château Le Crock, just as it also gave us the words crochet (the modern French word for hook) and croquet (relating to the hooks pushed into the ground I think). That the modern-day name Crock has evolved from the original term Cru de Croc, as used by a proprietor named Merman in the 1830s, lends a little weight to this theory. Nevertheless, the property did not begin life as Le Crock (or even Le Croc), nor did it originate with the Merman family. Its earliest recorded history concerns other names, some of which may be familiar to those with the châteaux of St Estèphe.
As is often the case this is another estate that began its life in the hands of a family of noble blood, in this case the Bastérot family who were active parliamentarians in Bordeaux. This was the situation during the 18th century, before the lands were fully dedicated to viticulture, the land used for growing of other crops, and certainly before the estate was blessed with the rather grand château (pictured below) that stands there today. Upon the death of Gabriel Barthélémy de Bastérot the property was inherited by his daughter, Catherine de Bastérot, who had married Joseph Marie, Comte de Ségur-Cabanac. Although viticulture was not dominant, by this time the estate – known as the Cru de Bastérot-Ségur – was already establishing a reputation for its wine. Remarkably, considering its rather low-key reputation today, very early classifications saw it ranked equal to or ahead of the precursors of Lafon-Rochet, Phélan-Ségur and Cos d’Estournel.