Organics and Biodynamics at Château Pédesclaux, February 2021
It was only a couple of decades ago that Château Pédesclaux was a complete unknown, certainly to me, and I suspect to many others who were reporting on the wines of Bordeaux. The property operated outside of the umbrella of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux, so its wines were never presented at the many tastings hosted by the Union, whether at tastings of barrel samples during the Bordeaux primeurs, or of bottled wines. And with a generally underwhelming reputation few bothered to visit to find out more; there were already too many high-ranking properties in Pauillac that demanded a visit to taste the latest vintage.
The turn-around began in 2009, when the property changed hands. The previous owners, the Jugla family, handed the keys over to Jacky Lorenzetti, who had also just purchased Château Lilian Ladouys in St Estèphe. Eager to install some fresh young talent, Lorenzetti gave responsibility for the revitalisation of both châteaux to Vincent Mulliez, best known for his tenure of Château Belle-Vue in the Haut-Médoc appellation, and his right-hand man Vincent Bache-Gabrielsen (pictured below). Tragically within a very short period of time Vincent Mulliez died of a heart attack, and the task fell solely to Vincent Bache-Gabrielsen.
Jacky Lorenzetti had made his money in real estate, having founded the Foncia group in 1972, a business which he floated on the French stock exchange in 2001, and then sold in 2007. With the considerable proceeds he bought a struggling Parisien rugby team and a couple of struggling Bordeaux châteaux, to be followed shortly afterwards by a 50% stake in not-so-struggling Château d’Issan. Thus no expense was spared at Château Pédesclaux, the greatest evidence for which was the extensive refurbishment and remodelling of the château and associated buildings, with its new glass wings, as well as newly built and equipped cellars. Perhaps less immediately apparent to the eye, however, the estate has also experienced a viticultural revolution, led by Vincent. Earlier this year I met up with Vincent over Zoom, to hear about his work on the property, and to taste some recent vintages, not least some private bottlings of his organic and biodynamic trials.