The Wine Estate

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A property of reasonable size...

Total wine estate acreage: 37 acres (15 ha) including 30 acres (12 ha) of vines.
Vine density: 2225 vines per acre (5 500 pieds/ha).
Average age of the vines: 55 years.
Soil and subsoil: Chalky-clay on a limestone base.
The grape varieties: Merlot 70%, Cabernet Franc 30%.

An ideal location at Montagne Saint Émilion...

"Château Beauséjour" is situated on the left bank of Dordogne River, at the top of the Montagne Saint Émilion hillside, 2.5 miles (4 km) from Saint Émilion.

This estate is the perfect example of the appellation, both due to the imposing appearence prestigious look of the buildings (castle and chai) and to the outstanding location of the vineyard, stretching from outside Saint Martin's church (12th- century Romanesque church, in the heart of Montagne village) to the five mills of Calon (2 of which have been perfectly restored and... are in working order).

An outstanding terroir...

photoThe various vineyard plots are named Paradis, Clos de l'Église, Clos 1901, Moulin, Caillou... and all of them have the characteristic of being located on the mountaintop of Montagne. They are composed of a 8 to 20 inches (20 to 50 cm) deep chalky-clay soil, laid on a fissured limestone base (the subsoil is full of quarries from which stones were used to build Bordeaux and Libourne in the previous centuries) wich redistributes water (drop by drop!) to the vines during the summer.

The plots are situated on a gentle slope, south and southwest facing, allowing natural drainage and a sunshine which are very suitable for the vines. The whole area is well ventilated (the numerous windmills attest to this...), ensuring to the vine a good, healthy environment, greatly reducing blight and allowing the grapes to be harvested at optimal ripeness.

Very old vines...

The age of the vines (some plots were planted in 1901, 1902, 1934 and 1946!) and this outstanding chalky-clay soil produce a distinctive wine, ideal for ageing, magnificently produced following the guidelines laid down by Stéphane Derenoncourt since the vintage 2005.

Château Beauséjour, created from this outstanding terroir, has now become one of the greatest Bordeaux wines.

The terroir

In the 7th edition of his book "BORDEAUX ET SES VINS" (Bordeaux and its wines) dated 1898, Edouard FERET describes this vineyard:

"The vineyard is situated on the highest chalky clay hillsides of the area. It is planted with our finest grape varieties grafted onto American rootstock and produces one of the most elegant and full-bodied wines of the village."

photoThe vineyard acreage is today 37 acres (12 hectares), shared between Merlot grape varieties (70%) and Cabernet Franc grape varieties (30%). The very old vines are pampered and preserved at all cost, along with their plant material (from varieties that no longer exist...), which is reproduced on site with the help of enthusiastic nurserymen, in order to preserve these vines on our plots, since they have enjoyed living here for so long, some for more than 100 years.

The pruning of the vines is in double Guyot and the number of vine buds is limited in order to reduce the yield.
As a result, the bunches of grapes are evenly distributed along the trunks of the vines, without being jointed, thus improving the maturation and preventing the development of different forms of blight.

photoThe vines are situated at the top of the hillside, on the south southwest-facing slope, stretching from outside the bell tower of the Montagne church to the mills of Calon. They benefit from very good chalky subsoil and a thin layer of chalky-clay soil. This is a warm terroir suitable for the maturity of the Merlot.

The outstanding terroir and the low yields allow us to practise integrated agriculture at Château Beauséjour. That is to say that the growing methods and the vine cultivation aim to limit as much as possible the use chemical products. They are used only when no other natural solution is possible.

The people

photoThe owners: Pierre BERNAULT and Children,

he used to work as a network engineer for the CEA (Commissionership to the Atomic Energy in France) and then, at Microsoft France. Enthusiastic for the world of wine, he attended classes on viticulture and oenology at the CFPPA (Professional Training and Agricultural Promotion Center) at Beaune in Bourgogne, and decided to set off on this adventure and make a dream come true. In 2004, he bought Château Beauséjour and settled there with his family. His goal: to rebuild the reputation of the Beauséjour vineyard, situated on the finest terroir of Montagne Saint Émilion, and produce there one of the greatest wines of the region.

photoThe consultant: Stéphane DERENONCOURT,

is today one of the most sought-after wine consultants. His web site: http://www.vigneronsconsultants.com/

When Stéphane came for the first time to walk among the vines at Château Beauséjour, to "feel" them and estimate their potential, he was immediately attracted by the outstanding character of the terroir and by the numerous vines that were more than 100 years old and in perfect condition. He still had not left the vineyard when he gave his agreement to Pierre Bernault to become the wine consultant to Château Beauséjour! His first harvest with him, the 2005 vintage, proves that this outstanding terroir can produce an outstanding wine!

Stéphane, who knows the estate by heart, works very regularly at Beauséjour, and is notably involved in all the key stages of the vine-growing and winemaking cycle.

The history

Château Beauséjour was built in 1851 . The rich family who built it owned several vineyard estates in the Bordeaux region and were also prosperous wine merchants. In those days, the large chai was used to store and age the most prestigious wines of the Saint Émilion and Pomerol regions (Cheval Blanc, Petrus, Beau-Séjour, Nénin, La Conseillante, ... and Château Beauséjour!)

The estate was purchased in 1994 by a group of wine loving investors. During this period, a Negociant Company was in charge of the management and the marketing of the wines.

Pierre BERNAULT has owned Château Beauséjour since December 2004; Pierre comes from a family of vine growers, who have been cultivating their own vineyards since 1850.

As soon as Pierre Bernault bought Beauséjour, Stéphane Derenoncourt and his team got involved in giving them advice on restoration of the vineyard and the soil, as well as on the rigorous stages of the process of making and maturing wine.

The effect of this excellent cooperation immediately appeared since the first vintage made in common between Bernault/Derenoncourt, the 2005 vintage, has been acclaimed by the press and tasters (see the press review) and has been listed by Gavin Quinney in the top 100 best wines of the Bordeaux region (see his web site)