CHÂTEAU DE CHAVRIGNAC in Fossès-et-Baleyssac in Bordeaux’s Entre-Deux-Mers region is one of France’s pioneering organic wine estates. It went organic in 1964 under Paul Bouron (b.1933) who had succeeded his father Auguste. Paul had been diagnosed with tuberculosis and, despite being given all requisite medical treatments, had been told by the hospital doctors he was going to die. Paul stopped using conventional treatments on the family’s vines, cereal crops and herd of beef cattle, adopted the Lemaire-Boucher form of organic farming and, in 1964, became one of the founder members of Nature et Progrès. Paul later handed over to his son Daniel (the 5th generation of the family here) who ran the estate with his wife Claudine Bouron. Paul Bouron was still alive in July 2012 when his son Daniel Bouron, who had succeeded him in running the estate, died. Daniel was a heavy smoker. In 2014 Château de Chavrignac was sold by the Bouron family to Gérard Lobre (born 1974), a Bordelais. Lobre’s family has been involved in wine in the region since 1734. Lobre’s previous activity (with a former associate) concerned a 70ha vineyard.

VINEYARDS In Fossès-et-Baleyssac. 28 hectares (70 acres) of red wine grapes–Merlot and Cabernet France 35% each), Cabernet Sauvignon (26%), and Malbec (4%); 4 hectares (10 acres) white wine grapes–Semillon (75%) and Sauvignon Blanc (25%).

BIODIVERSITY, BIODYNAMICS Under Daniel Bouron the compost was made from animal manure (sheep, horse) to which lithotham was added, or from green waste. Gérard Lobre told me (Friday 4th Dec 2015) “although we have no animals we do have pasture. The hay we cut goes to a neighbour whose beef cows eat it, and we get the manure back in return for our compost. We also add wood chips from our estate to our compost, when coppicing our own woodland, or when ripping out old vine trunks and their [untreated] wooden [acacia] support posts. Everything gets recycled.”

CERTIFICATION Full organic certification since 1964. 2017 Still certified (Agence Bio listing: Bio-Vins1964 SCEA).

WINEMAKING To the FNIVAB charter. Hand and machine picking with sorting table.

WINES

BORDEAUX BLANC SEC AOC Daniel Bouron told me he preferred to label his dry wine wines under the Bordeaux Blanc Sec AOC rather than with the Entre-Deux-Mers AC as he felt the latter was becoming associated with an excessively ‘gooseberry, cat’s pee’ style of Sauvignon Blanc imitating Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand. 1998 Bentonite fined. Good average plus, chalky, clean, modern, pineapple at Millésime Bio 1999. 2005 25,000 bottles. A bit of sulphur at Millésime Bio 2006. €3.55 ex cellars export price. 2008 Modern white with some minerality at Millésime Bio 2009.

BORDEAUX ROSE AOC 1998 Good average plus.

BORDEAUX ROUGE AOC 1997 Light, clean Cabernet Franc-style herby-liquorice fruit at Millésime Bio 1999. 1998 Bright cherry style, plum skin texture suggests presence of press wine at Millésime Bio 1999. 2004 100,000 bottles. A bit peppery at Millésime Bio 2006. €4.55 ex cellars export price. 2007 €4.77. Decent weight sugests some warm extended maceration when tasted at Millésime Bio 2009.

CONTACT Château de Chavrignac, Chavrignac, F-33190 Fossès-et-Baleyssac (Gironde), France / +33 (0)5.56.61.70.50 / www.chateau-chavrignac.com