Château Pédesclaux is a winery located in Médoc area of the Bordeaux region, France, more precisely in the village appellation of Pauillac.
The château is one of the 18 fifth growths classified in 1855, or Cinquième Grand Cru Classé.
Established in 1810 by wine broker Pierre Urbain Pédesclaux, the estate has changed hands several times since.
Acquired in 2009 by the current owner, Jacky Lorenzetti, who also owns Château Lilian Ladouys in Saint-Estèphe and the Racing 92 rugby club around Paris, Château Pédesclaux has recently gone through a complete renaissance, visible not only through the modern design of its winery buildings, but also the quality of its wines.
With the new acquisition of vineyards nestled in between Château Laffitte and Mouton Rothschild, Pédesclaux’ estate now covers about 50 hectares (125 acres) and is planted primarily with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with also small plots of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.
Read along as we dig deeper into Château Pédesclaux’ History, its story and its wines.
Château Pédesclaux Wine Reviews & Related Posts
Just 45 years after the estate was founded, Pédesclaux saw its name carved in the stone of the 1855 classification. The status of fifth growth (‘Cinquième Grand Cru Classé’) it was awarded represented much more than a mere heritage – it also imposed stringent requirements for the future.
- The wine estate is established by Urbain-Pierre Pédesclaux, also working as a wine trader. In 1821 he purchases some plots from Mr. Lacoste, the owner of Château Grand Puy in Pauillac.
- Construction of a winery in the very centre of Pauillac. The vineyards cover 7.8 hectares.
- Financial difficulties resulting from bad investments force Urbain-Pierre Pédesclaux to transfer ownership of the estate to his son Pierre-Edmond.
- Pédesclaux is granted the status of fifth growth. The classification commissioned for the Exposition Universelle is based on reports from wine traders, and the hierarchy is constructed on the basis of sale prices.
- Death of Pierre-Edmond Pédesclaux. His widow assumes control. In 1883 she purchases land from the Cruse family, owners of Château Pontet-Canet in Pauillac.
- The cru is sold to Gabriel de Gastebois.
- Gabriel de Gastebois’s heirs entrust management of the estate to Lucien Jugla, a man from a family with a history in the Médoc dating back to the Middle Ages. Jugla ultimately purchases the estate in 1951. The winery buildings become dilapidated and are destined for demolition.
- Lucien Jugla adds Château Belle-Rose, a 13.7-hectares estate which he has been farming since 1943, to Pédesclaux. Belle-Rose’s bourgeois building becomes the home of the classified growth and appears on the new labels.
- Death of Lucien Jugla. The estate is passed on to his five children, and the oldest, Bernard Jugla, takes the reins. In 1970 he purchases another chateau located a stone’s throw from Pédesclaux, Colombier-Monpelou. He continues to manage the two estates until 1996 when he hands the reins over to his son and sister-in-law. Colombier-Monpelou is eventually sold to Mouton-Rothschild in 2007.
- Having owned Château Lilian Ladouys (Saint-Estèphe) since 2008, Françoise and Jacky Lorenzetti acquire Pédesclaux. Within a few years they expand the vineyard’s area from 35 to 48 hectares through the successive acquisitions of Château Haut-Milon (neighbour to Mouton and Lafite) and of vines from Château Béhèré.
- Architect, planner and designer Jean-Michel Wilmotte is known for the eclecticism of his production and the elegance and finish of his projects. Changes of scale and programme keep him on his toes and enable him to question and ‘reinvent’ himself every time, with the same constant quest for quality and attention to detail. At Pédesclaux, Wilmotte is behind a project returning ‘production to the heart of the estate in an efficient and unified building, made integral with its environment and chateau’: a facility of excellence which makes sense in light of the estate’s history.
- Jacky Lorenzetti joins forces with Emmanuel Cruse by purchasing half the shares in Château d’Issan, a Margaux classified growth. Emmanuel Cruse also becomes the managing director of Pédesclaux.
The vines of Pédesclaux sit upon a geological masterpiece whose origins date back 40 million years. It is this unique terroir, the Médoc par excellence, which was recognised by the 1855 classification.
The Médoc’s exceptional geology was truly revealed to all during the 17th and 18th centuries. Europe and the world discovered that this terroir had a gift for producing wines of incomparable finesse. The great chateaus began to emerge, and with them the first attempts at classification.
The 1855 classification is the most famous. Commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce for the Exposition Universelle in Paris, it differentiates between 61 red wine crus, 18 of which are in the Pauillac commune alone. It was drawn up by traders on the basis of the sales prices recorded in their archives. 160 years later, the 1855 classification still inspires dreams, as do the terroirs recognised at the time.
Oceanic climate with influence of the nearby Atlantic Ocean, typical of the Bordeaux region.
The soil is very poor with gravel, sand and limestone. In the universe of the famous Pauillac, Château Pédesclaux is just like its soil : complex. In this mosaic of soils, clays favor the power and gravels the expression of the elegance. Pédesclaux embodies the density of Pauillac moderated by a voluptuous remarkably.
Vineyards and grape varieties
- Studies have been ongoing since 2009 to draw out all the richness and diversity of the Pédesclaux soils. An uprooting and replanting plan was initiated with the aim of increasing the proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon to 70%, as the hot, well-draining soils are more conducive to this variety. The current vine population is 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc.
- As part of an eco-citizen initiative, sustainable cultivation practices are consistently used. No chemical weed killers are applied, and the soils are either worked or grassed over with green manure, whilst some plots are organically cultivated and others biodynamically cultivated.
- Since beginning work on the soils and the exclusive use of organic fertilizers, there have been notable changes in the vines and wines. The soil is softer, allowing the vines to establish deeper roots, the plants become more resistant to disease, and the acidity of the wines has significantly increased, giving them freshness and better balance.
- In 2009, Françoise and Jacky Lorenzetti were given the opportunity to acquire the 15 hectares of vineyards belonging to Château Haut-Milon, plots adjoining Lafite-Rothschild and Mouton-Rothschild. The quality of these clay-limestone and gravel terroirs enabled the bulk of their production to be included in Pédesclaux’s top wine from the very first vintage.
- In 2013, the vineyard again increased in size with the addition of Château Béhéré’s five hectares, with some plots adjoining the original Pédesclaux vineyard
Respect for the grape was paramount in the design of the vat house and these wineries, containing state-of-the-art winemaking and aging technology.
The terrain’s natural slope was put to ideal use and plays a key role in the site’s organization. The vat house and wineries were designed and laid out using an entirely gravitational process combining modernity with tradition.
Covering 2,000 m2, the vat house contains 116 double-walled stainless steel vats with volumes of 65 to 144 hl to enable plot-by-plot vinification and maintain separate batches up to as close to the blending as possible, promoting a pure expression of Pédesclaux’ various terroirs. The two-tiered vats enable gravity-driven runoff. Tapered and double-skinned, they are perfectly insulated with lower energy expenditure, and behave similarly to concrete whilst also offering the precision of stainless steel.
There is a 100% gravity-driven vat house and four 100hl aging vats, enabling every winemaking operation from extraction to bottling to be performed without any pumping whatsoever.
300m2 of cold storage rooms have also been put in place to preserve the quality of the grapes to the greatest possible extent.
The transparency of the glass-walled vat house partially displays the vats, which appear as columns supporting the building’s roof.
On the outside, another trick of transparency means that the vines are reflected on the windows. The interior layout of the vat house places visitors at the heart of the grape’s transformation into wine.
Above the vat house, the aging cellars (able to house 1800 barrels over three or four levels) cover 1400m2 with concrete pillars arranged in a design reminiscent of a cathedral. Relative humidity is maintained at 80% and the temperature at 15°C to ensure that the wines retain their original qualities and develop in every possible dimension. The light wood planks cladding the walls and ceiling echo the oak barrels and create a gentle, monastic light.
Plantings density: 8 333 vine stocks
Average age of the vineyards: 35 years’ old
10 hectares in organic and biodynamic wine
Jacky Lorenzetti was trained at the École hôtelière de Lausanne, Switzerland, where he first studied oenology. His wife is from the Gironde region, where her grandparents were wine-makers. For Jacky and Françoise Lorenzetti, the Pauillac master-plan was mapped out long ago.
Each member of the team shares the same high standards and, like senior managers Emmanuel Cruse and Vincent Bache-Gabrielsen, they are all committed to strengthening the wine’s growing reputation for excellence and enhancing its quality.
Shaped by a meeting of visionaries, the domain is dedicated to create “taylor-made“ wine from the precious but delicate riches of naturally-grown grapes. Together, Jacky and Françoise Lorenzetti have transformed this mission into their passion.
Production of first wine, Château Pédesclaux: 150 000 bottles
Production of second wine, Fleur de Pédesclaux: 115 000 bottles
3% Petit Verdot
Cellar door information
Open all year
Closed on Sunday
Open from Monday to Friday from December to March and from Monday to Saturday from April to November
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