Château Durfort-Vivens is a Biodynamic estate winery in Margaux on the left bank of the Bordeaux region. It makes red wines under the Margaux AOC. It is the first 1855 classified growth in Margaux to be certified biodynamic.
Owner: Gonzague Lurton since 1993, succeeding his father Lucien Lurton. Trained economist. Managed the family shipping firm. Gonzague is married to Claire Villars, daughter of the late Bernadette Villars of Château Chasse-Spleen. Claire Villars also owns Château Ferrière in the Margaux AOC and Château Haut-Bages-Liberal in the Pauillac AOC.
History: Durfort is named after the Durfort family of Duras which settled in Margaux in the C14th and owned the greater part of the present day appellation. Belonged to the Durfort de Duras family in the late-1600s. Through intermarriage Durfort came into the hands of the Marchioness de Montalembert. In 1787 Thomas Jefferson, then Ambassador to France, rated it behind Lafite, Margaux and Latour. The Viscount of Vivens, nephew of the Marchioness de Montalembert, had his name added in 1824. In 1937 Durfort was purchased by the company set up to run Château Margaux, whose main shareholder at the time was François Lurton. In 1961 Durfort was purchased, and replanted by François Lurton’s son, Lucien (the vendors Ginestet retained the chateau). Lucien Lurton gave Château Durfort Vivens to his seventh child, Gonzague, in 1993.
The château: The original château building is no longer part of the estate (see above).
Classification: 1855 Classification Second Growth.
Biodynamics: The conversion to organics and ultimately Biodynamics began in 2009 on around 20% of the estate. Only from 2013 was the entire vineyard farmed biodynamically (see certification, below).
Certification: 2016 Full biodynamic certification (Demeter France) from the 2016 vintage. | 2017 Still certified.
Wine style: Under Lucien Lurton ‘this almost all-Cabernet wine wine seems to want keeping for ever,’ said Hugh Johnson (Wine Companion: 1991, p.52). Roy Richards wrote to me saying he considered ‘Durfort to be one of the most under-appreciated Bordeaux. Gonzague produces classic, Cabernet Sauvignon based wine, and makes no effort to pander to Parker’s vulgarian tastes. It ages brilliantly and has a wonderful, understated rigour to it. The conversion to organic farming has not been easy: in 2013, he panicked and had to machine harvest to save the crop and the result was poor, but then he made one of my favourite wines in the unfancied 2012 vintage, and a stellar 2009 with real backbone.
Margaux AOC, Château Durfot-Vivens: 2009 Notable for its backbone. | 2012 A success in what was an otherwise unfancied vintage due to September rains. | 2013 Machine picked to save the crop, moderate at best.
F-33460 Margaux (Gironde), France
Tel+33 (0)18.104.22.168.02 | www.durfort-vivens.com