Château Sociando-Mallet is one of those properties which makes a mockery of the 1855 classification of the Médoc. Never entered into the classification of cru classé châteaux, and subsequently classified as a cru bourgeois in 1932, this estate consistently turns out wines which outshine those produced by many of its more illustrious neighbours. This apparent error was further highlighted in 2003 when a revised Cru Bourgeois classification was drawn up, led by nine Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel properties. Château Sociando-Mallet was nowhere to be seen – the confident proprietor Jean Gautreau (1927 – 2019) opting instead to remain outside of the system, perhaps feeling that participation would actually lower the standing of his château, but perhaps also discouraged by some of the petty politics that seemed to surround the process.
Jean Gautreau (pictured below, during the 2012 harvest) continued to fly solo, neither cru bourgeois nor cru classé. During his golden years Jean remained actively interested and involved, but the responsibility for the running of the estate increasingly fell to Vincent Faure, who fulfilled the role not only of technical director, but also of son-in-law. Sadly Vincent left for pastures new in 2015. Jean’s daughter Sylvie Gautreau took on the running of the property in 2017, and she hired a new technical director, François Hugueniot, in 2018. With Jean’s passing in 2019 it is today Sylvie and François who run the domaine, and there is no sign that they might be slowing down; with continued investment in both cellars and vineyard, Château Sociando-Mallet remains one of the must-visit estates in Bordeaux, producing one of its most reliable wines.
The history of Château Sociando-Mallet extends back at least as far as the early 17th century, as records reveal that the estate was the residence of a Basque nobleman named Sossiondo (the obvious origin of Sociando) in 1633. Otherwise the ancient history of the estate is sketchy, although the owner at the time of French Revolution is known to have been a prominent lawyer named Guillaume de Brochon (1719 – 1814), an unfortunate individual who was prosecuted and stripped of his estate, which was then broken up for sale. The new proprietor was a négociant named Jean Bernard Lamothe, who just happened to be Brochon’s father-in-law. He passed it as a dowry to a naval captain by the name of Achille Mallet, who married his niece, Marie-Elisabeth Allaret. With Mallet’s acquisition, the property was renamed Château Sociando-Mallet.