Château Les Mangons | Estate winery in the Sainte-Foy region on the right bank of the Bordeaux regionBordeaux-born financier Michel Comps and his wife Brigitte acquired the estate in 1989 from its family owners.

Vineyards | There are 32 hectares of land in a single piece and of this 18 hectares are under vineyard. There are 16 hectares of red (50% Merlot, 45% Cabernets, 5% Petit Verdot) and 2 hectares of white (75% Semillon + 25% SG + SB). Vine density is 4,700-5,500 vines/hectare. The vineyard sits in a single block on clay, clay-limestone, limestone, boulbènes and iron-rich soils, on the border between the communes of Pineuilh (effectively a rural suburb of Sainte-Foy-La-Grande) and La Roquille, whose south facing clay limestone slopes are potentially some of the finest in the Bordeaux Sainte Foy appellation.

Biodynamics | The estate has farmed cereal crops since the C18th. Before its purchase in 1989 by Michel Comps the vineyard had been farmed without weedkillers, and although the practice of ploughing weeds out was continued from 1989-200 a limited amount of chemical sprays were used to deal with vine pests and diseases because Comps was not always on site. From 2001 Biodynamic methods were adopted, with François Bouchet consulting, and Comps being more hands-on here. “The first year of conversion was tough to be honest, as the vines reacted by losing a lot of leaf colour and giving very meagre yields. But since then they have become stronger gradually. The vines were reaching a new level already in the second year of biodynamics,” he told me. After François Bouchet died in 2005, Comps hired Jacques Mell for the Biodynamic side, and learnt how to make his own Biodynamic compost 502-507 with advice from Paul Barre. Biodynamic spray preparations are stirred (dynamized) in a 900-litre clay-mortar dynamiser with wooden paddles bought from François Bouchet. It takes two mornings/afternoons to spray horn manure 500 across the vineyard, using 3 tractors. Other sprays include Maria Thun’s barrel compost and plant-based teas made from willow, stinging nettle and common horsetail.

Certification | 2003 The first vintage with full organic certification. | 2010 The first vintage with full Demeter Biodynamic certification. | 2016 Still Demeter certified Biodynamic.

Winemaking | Machine picking.

Wine production2002 29hl/ha. Mildew and green harvest. 2003 35 hl/ha. Very small berries. 2004 Yields of 40 hl/ha are needed, Comps say, to make the enterprise work financially.

White wines

Sainte-Foy Blanc Sec AOC, Château Les Mangons | 2000 75% Semillon, 25% SB. Nice fruit at Millésime Bio January 2004. | 2005 Oxidised at Millésime Bio 2009. €6 prix public. | 2011 A bit flat at Millésime Bio 2012.

Sainte-Foy Blanc Sec AOC, Château Les Mangons Cuvée Armance | A dry white named after a Stendhal novel and the Comps’ daughter. 2002 75% Semillon, 25% Sauvignon Blanc. In conversion. Oaky at Millésime Bio January 2004. | 2005 Nice rich oak covers the fruit at Millésime Bio 2009. €6 prix public.

Bordeaux Clairet AOC, Château Les Mangons | 2000 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Sainte-Foy Rouge AOC, Château Les Mangons2000 Soft chocolate, clean at Millésime Bio 2004. | 2001 Mint, pepper at Millésime Bio 2004. 2002 50% CS, 50% Merlot. Youthful, light at Millésime Bio 2004. Dead at Millésime Bio 2009. €8.50 prix public. | 2010 OK, rich, not bad if a bit flat at Millésime Bio 2012.

Sainte-Foy Rouge AOC, Château Les Mangons, Vieilles Vignes | The old vines bottling (‘Vieilles Vignes’) can be tannic initially, and comes from 20% Cabernet Franc plus 80% Merlot. This was planted in 1956 and 1964, on two plots facing the château, one on clay slopes (perfect for Merlot) and one on boulbènes on the more exposed plateau. | 2000 OK at Millésime Bio January 2004. | 2001 A bit tannic at Millésime Bio January 2004. | 2002 Woody, nice aromatic fruit at Millésime Bio January 2004. | 2005 Old oak = brett at Millésime Bio 2009. €12 prix public.


Château Les Mangons

Les Mangons No. 3, F-33220 Pineuilh (Gironde), France

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