At a tasting in New York in April, I was introduced to the owner of the Chateau d’Arsac and their vast selection of wines, including those from the Winemakers’ Collection. Chateau d’Arsac is one of the oldest estates in the Medoc. The estate went through a series of trials and tribulations in the past centuries but in 1986, it was bought by Philippe Raoux who rebuilt the vineyards and the buildings. Today, the winery counts 112 hectares, 54 in the Margaux appellation and 58 in the Haut-Medoc Appellation. Eric Boissenot is the winemaker.
I was quite surprised to see familiar faces such as that of Ntsiki Biyela on some of their labels. I had no idea that this 900 year old Chateau, best known for their estate wines, also had winemakers from other parts of the world come and make wines on their property. I like the blending of the old and new and was interested to see this kind of openness to change at a winery of this stature.
According to the winery’s website, “each year, always on the same terroir the one of Château d’Arsac in the Médoc, a guest winemaker has “Carte Blanche” to create the ideal wine, the nectar of his or her dreams. From the work in the vineyard to the bottling operation, from the time and type of harvesting through to the maceration, this guest star makes every decision in the manufacturing process. He or she signs the wine in their sole name. Each year, an episode will be written and acted out by a different winemaker.”
The vineyards are planted with 40% Merlot and 60% Cabernet Sauvignon for red and rose wines and Sauvignon Blanc for their whites. They produce 650,000 bottles per year under the labels Diagonale d’Arsac, Chateau d’Arsac, The Winemakers’ Collection, Chateau Le Monteil d’Arsac, Ruban Bleu d”arsac, Cuvee Celine and Baronne d’Arsac.
I very much enjoyed their wines that I was able to taste. While still young, one could see their finesse and elegance and what they might be like in 5-10 years. I hope to have the occasion to taste them at another moment in their lives.