Haut Bergey has an interesting and chequered history. First records of wine-making at this estate date back to the 15th century. By the end of the 18th century the domaine boasted some 100 hectares under vine. In the mid 19th century the magnificent chateau was constructed, but wine production had ceased. It wasn’t until the mid 20th century that wine production started again. The present owner Sylviane Garcin-Cathiard, purchased the estate in 1991 and has transformed its fortunes. The 28.5 hectares of vines are based in Leognan on excellent gravelly, pebbly soils deposited by the Garonne at the end of the Tertiary era. Most of the vineyards are devoted to the production of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, however, the estate also has 2 hectares devoted to Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.
These wines, like the other Garcin-Cathiard chateaux (Clos L’Eglise and Brannon) can be challenging to taste from barrel. Extractions often appear a bit heavy handed, however, after elevage and time in bottle, they blossom into really interesting wines. Recent tastings of the 1998, 2000 and 2004 proved that the tannins soften and one is left with sleek, perfumed Pessac Leognan fruit. Patience is a virtue!
The region has one first growth, Château Haut-Brion, whilst other renowned Chateaux currently doing well are La Mission-Haut-Brion, Pape-Clément, Smith-Haut-Lafitte and Haut-Bailly. Soils are gravely and well-drained and the plantations are similar in proportion to those of the Médoc, consisting mostly of Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The region is also well known for its long-lived whites that can be varying blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon oaked or unoaked. The most lauded are Domaine de Chevalier, Haut-Brion, Pape-Clement, De Fieuzal, and Laville-Haut-Brion.