If you’ve heard of wine, you’ve heard of Bordeaux. Celebrated as one of the world’s best wine regions, Bordeaux is a wine lovers’ paradise. The viticulture in Bordeaux is an art form steeped in tradition. A vineyard taking a more modern approach (or a far more ancient one, depending on your perspective), is Château Dauzac, fifth Grand Cru Classé of Margaux. Château Dauzac is 100% certified vegan. And the only vegan Grand Cru Classé in Bordeaux.
Château Dauzac Margaux:
I decide to take the bus from Bordeaux to Labarde, near Château Dauzac. I’ve been emailing Gaëlle, marketing & communication manager, to help me organise my visit, and she agrees to pick me up when I arrive in Labarde*. On our drive, we talk about my journey, my time in France so far, and of course about wine. I try to look at her when we talk but am distracted by the landscape outside my window. I watch as we drive past the seemingly never ending rows of vines. The vines are lush, and rich, and make me feel a little tipsy just looking at them.
Laurent Fortin, the manager of Château Dauzac and one of the main instigators in the vineyard’s vegan transition, welcomes me when I arrive. I talk with Mr. Fortin about the history of Château Dauzac, its present, and its future. He is passionate about wine (who isn’t!), and has a clear vision for the vineyard, involving further promotion of a strong ecological growth at Château Dauzac.
*For visitors wanting to enjoy the wine, scenery, or a tasting at Château Dauzac Margaux, the best way to get there is by car, taxi or in an organised tour.
Château Dauzac Goes Vegan:
Although, the production of wine in the area dates back to the 12th century, Château Dauzac only began to take shape in the 17th century, after being acquired by Bordeaux wine merchant Pierre Droullard. Château Dauzac soon became one of the finest vineyards in the Medoc. And in 1855, was awarded fifth Grand Cru Classé of Margaux.
In 2012, Laurent Fortin joined Château Dauzac as the Managing Director. Who worked with his Technical Director, Philippe Roux, on gaining better knowledge of the fermentation process. This lead to the development of wooden vats with transparent double staves, designed with the support of Seguin Moreau cooperage.
In 2017, Château Dauzac successfully transitioned from using egg whites in the fining phase to plant proteins in order to produce a biodiversity-friendly wine. Château Dauzac is the first Grand Cru Classé to offer a fully certified vegan wine production.
And they don’t stop there. Château Dauzac is encouraging the biodiversity of the land through the development of a vegetable garden and arboretum, and the installation of around fifteen bee hives which produce Dauzac honey (only two-three harvest per year). There are horses and sheep that feed and graze on the land, as well as egrets and herons.
I ask if the changes make the wine process more challenging. But according to Mr. Fortin, it doesn’t. “The main problem can occur if a neighbouring vineyard or property use chemicals or insecticides.” Thankfully, for Mr. Fortin his neighbours are on board.
I finish my afternoon at Château Dauzac with a tour of the grounds. I’m shown the vines which are: 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, and 2% Petit Verdot. The urge to pick the grapes from the vines is hard to resist, but I do. I visit the beehives, walk through the grounds, and past the pond. Château Dauzac is a magical and enchanting place.
Soon I’m inside surrounded by enormous wine vats. The smell is intoxicating. The wooden vats have double transparent staves, and I watch the wine inside hypnotically.
A Guide to Dauzac Wines:
There are a number of tours and tasting options visitor can choose from at Château Dauzac including: A Discovery Tour (two wine tasting), an Expression of Terroir workshop (three wine tasting), and Secrets Behind the Vintage (three wine tasting).
Wines First Class Magazine loves:
D de Dauzac: The first vegan wine at Château Dauzac. The blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in D de Dauzac is full and delicate, with a generous finish.
Château Dauzac, Grand Cru wine classified in 1855: Deep, full-bodied and velvety.
Haut-Médoc de Dauzac: Medium-bodied with silky tannins and a well-balanced finish.
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