Cru la Maqueline, the original.

Published 09.09.2021
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Acquired in 2006 by Catherine and Philippe Castel, this property in Macau, just to the south of Margaux, is a beacon of originality in the heart of the Médoc, combining production of a lively red wine, a crémant, and a horse ranch.

When they decided to add Cru la Maqueline to the Castel Family Estates collection of properties, Catherine and Philippe Castel brought together two of their passions. Winemaking, thanks to the property’s 36 hectares of vines, and American culture, thanks to stables dedicated to the discipline of “reining”, a western riding competition. A surprising blend of styles, which defines the special atmosphere of the vineyard nestled on the banks of the Garonne, complete with a Western-style acacia ranch, a world away from the surrounding châteaux. This identity is proudly displayed on the labels of the two wines produced at the estate, in the form of a horse’s head and a vine leaf.

A sparkling and a red wine

Like many of its prestigious neighbours – including Château Siran and Château Dauzac – Cru La Maqueline produces a red wine. However, from the very first vintage produced at the property back in 2010, a decision was made to differentiate the property from the wines for laying down most readily associated with the Médoc. Instead, inspired by the New World, Cru La Maqueline red (AOC Bordeaux) is fruit-forward and accessible in the prime of its youth. The grapes are harvested at peak ripeness, offering an explosion of jammy dark fruit aromas, with toasted, moka notes. To preserve the purity of the fruit, barrels have been abandoned in favour of a combination of alternative vessels. The result is a forceful, balanced wine with a smooth, creamy mouthfeel.

In 2019, to complement the signature red, Castel Family Estates decided to revive the traditional production of sparkling wines at the estate. Well before the creation of the Crémant de Bordeaux appellation in 1990, the property’s owner late-19th century owner Nathaniel Johnston produced his own “Royal Mousseux Médoc”. Today, Cru La Maqueline’s crémant is made up of majority merlot, with a touch of petit verdot completing the blend. Made from the juice of black-skinned grapes, the wine is produced using the traditional method, with double fermentation, and aged for at least 18 months on racks without dosage. Fresh, attractive and elegant, Le Crémant de Bordeaux de Cru La Maqueline is currently the only sparkling wine to be produced at the Castel Family Estates.