It is an honour to be one of the UK agents for the Guinaudeau wines. At first glance, one might think that their portfolio is an unlikely alliance; a Bordeaux AOC at little more than £10 a bottle alongside one of the most revered and collectable wines on the planet, namely Chateau Lafleur. Surely one has nothing to do with the other. It would be quite incongruous for Bentley to enter the economy hatchback market… However, the Guinaudeaus want to share their wines with all wine lovers – not something easily achieved with a few hectares of Pomerol. Broadening their portfolio not only allows for greater production, but when you visit these estates and see the synergies and the devotion bestowed on each cuvee it begins to make perfect sense.
This is very much a family affair; Jacques, Sylvie, their son Baptiste and his wife Julie are absolutely hands on in every respect. It often feels that their small team is also part of the wider family, such is their loyalty and passion. Lafleur is the crown jewel; one of the greatest terroirs in the world, a vineyard capable of producing haunting wines with alarming regularity. It is also their ability to make ‘Grand Vin’ in even the most challenging vintages - a philosophic decision made by Jacques and Sylvie, which makes them almost unique. One might think this position could breed a sense of complacency, but that is not the Guinaudeau way… This is a team committed to the relentless pursuit of quality.
This is where Grand Village plays a vital role. Baptiste fondly refers to this Chateau as an ‘experimental’ estate. Trialling a new idea at Lafleur is too risky, not to mention potentially costly; so viticultural and oenological advances are tested here. This affords a humble (but very beautiful) farm on the outskirts of the Fronsac appellation some of the most advanced techniques and some of the best travelled and knowledgeable wine-making savoir faire in the business; and thus produces wines of a far higher quality than should be reasonably expected. If these methods are successful at Grand Village, they may also be adopted in Pomerol.
All six wines produced from the three Guinaudeau estates are unique, yet they are all borne from the same devotion and an uncompromising commitment to excellence.