The no-man’s land between Bordeaux’s ring-road, known to those that speed along it every day as the Rocade, and the most southerly of the grand cru classé estates – Château La Lagune is the first you encounter as you head north – is not renowned for its vines or its wines. Nevertheless there are vineyards here, not that many, although there are a few notable châteaux that provide wines which should interest us. A number of the most significant are centred around Parempuyre, and one of these notable names is Château Sénéjac. This château can be found in a rather isolated position, just to the west of Parempuyre, in the commune of Le Pian-Médoc.
The domaine is ancient, with a documented history stretching back at least four centuries, although as is often the case the true origins of the estate are much perhaps older, and rather uncertain. The château that graces the estate today is relatively modern, but deep within it there are substantial square pillars and walls, indicators that a much older building once stood here, dating perhaps to the 15th century. Nevertheless it is only during the 16th century that ownership of the estate – at this time known as Senilhac – is firmly identified, it being the residence of Nicolas de Bloys and his wife, Jeanne de Fleix, Dame de Maurian en Blanquefort. It seems accepted that it was Nicolas and Jeanne who established the vineyards. The estate subsequently came to their son, François de Bloys, and in 1583 he married Marie Benoîte de Lasgebaton, whose father was président of the Bordeaux Parliament. Thus Sénéjac came into noble hands.
During the 17th century the property was acquired by a keen hunter named Maréchal d’Ornano, a governor of Guyenne and a lieutenant in the service of King Henry IV (1553 – 1610) of France. After him it came to the Chatard family, who were the proprietors for nearly two centuries, and some of the buildings date from this time. These include a chapel associated with the château, and here Eusebius Chatard married Marguerite de Castelnau in 1782. Eusebius and his wife were some of the last Chatards to hold tenure here though, as the property was subsequently sold, and during the 19th century it passed through many different hands, including gentlemen named Baour, who made some significant expansions to the vineyard. It was under the tenure of Monsieur Baour that the domaine crops up in Traité sur les vins du Médoc (first edition, Chaumas, 1824) by Wilhelm Franck, who noted that the domaine at this time was turning out 50 to 55 tonneaux per annum.