Château de Malle

I’m not quite sure how I managed to overlook Château de Malle on my first ever visit to Sauternes, but overlook it I did. It is, I suppose, not an estate that enjoys the same level of press attention as the likes of, for example, Château Doisy-Daëne and Château Doisy-Védrines, although to be fair one of these estates has long benefited from being in the ownership of the accomplished Dubourdieu family, including until recently the late Denis Dubourdieu (1949 – 2016). Nor does it seem as well known as Château Filhot, which is perhaps understandable, Château Filhot’s production being rather large and its distribution therefore wide. Yet all are deuxièmes crus, and Château de Malle is certainly not the least impressive of this quartet.

Château de Malle

Indeed, Château de Malle has a lot going for it. The wines are good, and appear to have improved considerably over the last couple of decades, under the direction of the current proprietors. It also has an impressive history; like Château Filhot, this property was once possessed by the Lur-Saluces family, influential local nobility who seemed to own at least half of Sauternes, including Château d’Yquem, at one point. And the château is visually stunning, comprising a central grand maison, with a mansard roof, flanked by two pavilions, each one terminating in a fat, rounded tower, the dramatic pointed roofs of which perhaps resemble the qubbat of a mosque more than anything you might expect to find on a building of the French Renaissance. It is only its rather isolated position (and maybe that is why I first missed it), tucked away in the northern part of the Sauternes appellation, squeezed between the autoroute on one side, and the railway on the other, that detracts from its overall impact.

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