Sauternes is one of the world's most miraculous wines. For this wine to be produced several natural miracles must happen year after year at the same time. Garonne should cool down, Ciron should stay warm, their waters must unite right at the time when the weather is generous on hot and dry afternoon winds. A wine that requires a lot of collaboration with nature, like it or not! Below my impressions after visiting the only one organic Sauternes winery that was classified as First Growth under the 1855 Classification.
History of Chateau Guiraud
Chateau Guiraud had many owners - passionate people whose kids weren't so passionate to continue the demanding wine affair :)
Pierre Guiraud arrives at the chateau in 1766. Coming from a wine merchant family he had the money but didn't want to do the same thing as his parents. He wanted to start his own winery. Pierre wasn't a typical chateau owner either - most of the neighbours were aristocrats, Catholics and monarchists. Him - a casual young man that came from a rich family and was a protestant. And he actually planned to emphasize this difference. His goal and obsession were to build a protestant chapel on the territory of the chateau.
Then his son took over and he was the one who worked the most on the label. Those times labels would be written with classical, curved English letters, while Chateau Guiraud switched to a straight and simple font that is known as Helvetica today. The label became black, the letters - golden. Chateau Guiraud has the oldest unchanged label among other classified chateaux in Bordeaux.
The third generation of Guiraud worked mainly on the technical side. It's basically their achievement that the winery was classified as First Growth during the 1855 Classification. In Sauternes village - the best after d'Yquem (guess who is their main competitor and who they want to overcome nowadays?)
This is where the period of sales and purchases starts. There were too many owners to list here but it seems like since 1983 stability has returned to Chateau Guiraud. In 1983 Xavier Planty was recruited by the former owner to manage the winery. He was a young man with several diplomas, including an enological one.
In 2006 Xavier Planty and three other men became co-owners of Chateau Guiraud. And most probably you've heard their names too - Robert Peugeot (yes, the CEO of Peugeot Investment Holding), Stephan von Neipperg (operates Château Canon La Gaffelière and La Mondotte, 1er Grands Crus Classés of Saint-Emilion) and Olivier Bernard (manager of Domaine de Chevalier, Grand Cru Classé de Graves in Pessac-Léognan).
Although all these men contribute to the growth of Chateau Guiraud enormously, Xavier Planty is the one who's been helping the biodiversity to take over the vineyards of Guiraud for more than 30 years. Now, he's half-retired (in wine you never fully retire) and his son, Luc, took over the management of Chateau Guiraud after his father. Luc Planty already has a son of his own, so the workers of the chateau hope for the recovery of dynasties at the estate.
Biodyversity and sustainable viticulture at Chateau Guiraud
If you allow nature to recreate itself it will help you to fight most of the diseases in order to recreate its' balance. This is the philosophy of Xavier Planty and us - conscious wine lovers that know - vine is only a part of an immense ecosystem that we should aim to protect.
So how do they achieved an abundance of biodiversity here:
Leaving lots of green spaces, herbs, flowers to grow between the ro