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An ancestral know-how

Château Dauzac, a 5th growth Grand Cru Classé Margaux wine according to the 1855 classification, has the privilege of having a one-block 49 hectares vineyard: 45 hectares with the Margaux appellation and 4 hectares with the Haut-Médoc appellation. Located near the Gironde estuary whose influence on the vineyard’s ecosystem is critical, the property is protected from ocean winds thanks to 120 hectares of meadows and forests. This agronomic bubble and unique terroir have made it possible to develop precision farming through plot selection, highlighting the exceptional characteristics of this Grand Cru Classé wine.

A unique terroir

As every great Medoc estates, Chateau Dauzac is over looking the Gironde river. Truly distinctive, Dauzac’s terroir is fittingly made up of a deep bench of large-sized gravel, in a geological vein specific to this wine. These layers of large gravel of varying thicknesses, remnants of old alluvial terraces, sit on a sub-soil of clay and gravel. The secret lies in the ability to understand and best manage this terroir and its various plots, in accordance with each vintage’s characteristics. This delicate work of plot selection provides a wonderful diversity of wines with a great potential.

A preserved environment

The diversity of the property’s 120 hectares, combining vineyards, meadows and forests, has undoubtedly determined the way in which the Château Dauzac ecosystem is managed. An overall approach has been implemented, starting with the development of a vegetable garden and arboretum. This was followed by the installation of around 15 bee hives that produce Dauzac honey (two or three harvests per year). Two-hundred fifty metres of hedges were then planted by our teams as refuges for certain species. These teams are currently involved in a three-year herbarium project that will involve harvesting and drying the plants that grow in the vineyards and park and that are used to treat grapevines. They will also be tasked with drawing up each plant’s characteristics.

Virtuous wine-making

In keeping with the Médoc tradition, the vineyard with a planting density of 10,000 vines per hectare is made up of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot and 2% Petit-Verdot grapes. Yields are naturally limited by a strict cultivation policy, implemented upstream so there is no need for green harvesting. The work accomplished for more than 30 years, with the implementation of new techniques, has enabled the property’s vineyards to produce complex and superior-quality grapes. Surveys and cross-sections at a depth of three metres have made it possible to identify homogeneous plots and adapt the choice of grape varieties and rootstock all while implementing management practices tailored to each plot. Meteorological sensors for every unit of land and a weather station constitute precise decision-making tools. Château Dauzac is engaged in highly integrated farming using organic fertilizer. The ecological control of grape berry moths, introduced around 20 years ago, has prevented the need for insecticides. Grass is grown on some plots to better regulate the water supply. A gradual shift is occurring, to migrate to the very best of biodynamic agriculture with the ultimate aim of using techniques that best respect our terroir. “Double Guyot” pruning with disbudding is used and significant “green” work is undertaken manually to achieve a uniform degree of ripeness.

Careful wine-making

Harvesting is naturally manual, respecting the integrity of the fruit. Grapes are transported upstairs in small crates to take advantage of gravity and are carefully sorted twice. They are then put in a latest-generation grape stemmer preserving the quality of the grapes. Every plot is vinified separately in thermo-regulated vats, for the gentle and homogeneous extraction of tannins in the cap. Since 2015, the use of wooden vats with transparent double staves, designed by Seguin Moreau at the request of Château Dauzac, has provided insight into vinification by going to the heart of the vat, where fermentation takes place. Cold maceration lasts around eight days and is tailored to each plot and vintage, thus revealing the subtlety and complexity of this exceptional terroir. The Technical Director and Cellar Manager work particularly on the expression of press wines, with the support of computer-assisted vertical presses that contribute to a meticulous selection process, essential for complex blending.