Château Puygueraud, near the little village of Francs to the east of St Emilion, clearly has ancient origins; its thick stone walls and round towers ooze centuries of history. It started out as a fortified rural farm, the first stones laid here during the 15th century. During the many hundreds of years which have since passed it has seen periods of great prosperity, as well as decline and dilapidation. Happily, under the direction of its current owner Nicolas Thienpont (pictured below), perhaps best known for his direction of Château Pavie-Macquin and Château Larcis Ducasse, and until recently Château Beauséjour and Château Berliquet as well, it seems to be enjoying a more prosperous era.
Sadly, very little (if any) information pertaining to the estate from its origins through to the early 20th century exists. Many older documents concerning the wines of Bordeaux simply did not bother with these more peripheral vineyards, even though many were trading under the name of St Emilion for much of this time. Even when the authors of the Bordeaux bible, Cocks et Féret, began calling on the estates of the Saint-Cibard plateau in what would eventually become the Francs Côtes de Bordeaux appellation, there was no mention of Château Puygueraud, only the nearby Château Puyfromage, and a handful of smaller growers. As well as Château Lauriol, which has more relevance than is at first apparent.
The modern-day era for Château Puygueraud began in 1946 when it was acquired by George Thienpont (died 1997), from the same Thienpont family that today owns Vieux Château Certain and Le Pin, and during the early-20th century their portfolio also included Château Troplong-Mondot. George (he went by this spelling, rather than Georges, distinguishing him from his father) took on a rather tired old château and a failing vineyard, the wine difficult to sell after a decree passed in 1921 had forbidden its sale under the name St Emilion. Despite the family’s strong presence as viticulteurs on the right bank, George uprooted the vines and turned the land over to polyculture; within a few years he had a 29-hectare estate on which he established an apple orchard, and pasture for grazing cattle.