Château Picque Caillou

When an intrepid vigneron first broke ground at what is today Château Picque Caillou, many centuries ago, he must have marvelled at his good fortune. He planted his first vines in a peaceful landscape of woodland and agriculture, far from the drudgery and dirty streets of Bordeaux, which lay to the east, huddled on the banks of the Garonne. But not too far, of course. The city was a good place to sell your wine, and to ship it overseas, the quayside lined with négociants, traders and warehouses, all ready to help you load your barrels aboard ships bound for England, the Netherlands and beyond.

Today, Château Picque Caillou exists within a very different landscape. The suburbs of Bordeaux have grown outwards, enveloping almost everything in their path. The vineyards of Château Picque Caillou are now surrounded by houses and criss-crossed by roads, and it is one of just half-a-dozen properties within the Bordeaux Périphérique that have survived this onslaught of construction. In some cases châteaux survive because the value of the wine and consequently the vineyard made it possible, with Château Haut-Brion being the prime example. In the case of Château Picque Caillou, the vineyard spent much of the 20th century under the protection of wealthy proprietors who lived off the proceeds of other business interests, and were thus under no pressure to sell off any of their vineyard to local property developers.

Château Picque Caillou

This period of ownership began with Etienne Denis, in the early 20th century. Before I come to this point, however, I should first look back to the vineyard’s history.

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