A must-try from the prestigious Fronsac appellation, Chateau de la Dauphine is renowned for its elegant blends of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Recently, the estate has started converting to organic vineyard management in order to ensure only the purest expression of terroir in their fine line of wines.
Chateau de la Dauphine: An Early History
In the year 776, Charlemagne constructed a fortress in “Fronciacus”, which would later be known as Fronsac. Almost a century later, Cardinal de Richelieu purchased the land of the Duchy of Fronsac. Jean-Baptiste de Richon constructed Chateau de La Dauphine between 1744 and 1750. The property was named after Maria Josepha of Saxony (a.k.a. the Dauphine of France and mother to Louise XVI), who visited the castle shortly after its construction. The property was later sold to the Moueix family of Libourne. In the year 2000, the estate was acquired by Jean Halley, who passed it on to his son, Guillaume.
Wine Trade in Libourne
The commune of Libourne (Saint-Emillion, Pomerol & Fronsac) is a very important area for Bordeaux vineyards. In the 18th century, the wines from Fronsac benefitted from the highest reputation amongst the wines from the area. Prices for the wines from Fronsac were significantly higher than wines from Saint-Emilion and Pomerol.
Terroir in Libourne
The estate of Chateau de La Dauphine spreads over 130 acres (53 hectares) of south-facing vines, arranged in a peculiar amphitheater shape. It’s size makes it one of the bigger properties of Libourne. There is a difference of 196 feet (60 m) in between the highest and lowest point of the vineyard. There is also a great diversity of 14 different types of soil, varying from chalky limestone to sandy clay. The estate includes a clay-limestone plateau upon asteriated limestone subsoil, a clay-limesoil hillside on Fronsac’s signature molasse and sandy silty clay on clay subsoil at the foot of the hill. The wide range of altitudes and soils make for a very unique range of wines, expressing this terroir.
Wines from Chateau de La Dauphine
After dozens of vintages, and years of experience, Domaine de La Dauphine is converting to Organic Agriculture. After all… “Details enhance quality, and quality is not a detail.” Organic wine-growing is a very tedious job that requires staying in close harmony with Mother Nature. Having followed the AB certification of organic agriculture since 2015, the estate relies on plot-by-plot vineyard management and has even pursued biodynamic methods through the adoption of a lunar calendar. The grape varieties typical of Chateau de La Dauphine are Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
Chateau de la Dauphine
A harmonious and blossoming blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc that is both elegant and complex. This wine is produced from grapes grown on clay-limestone on Fronsac molasse and asteriated limestone, in the appellation of Fronsac. The manual harvest is followed by careful double sorting before and after destemming. It is matured in oak barrels, of which one third are new, for 12 months.
Delphis de la Dauphine
“Delphis” (or dolphin in Greek) is a reference to royalty. It is the Chateau’s second wine and produced from 30-year-old vines from a 13 hectare plot of land in the Fronsac appellation. The wine, 100% Merlot, is matured in oak barrels for a period of 12 months.
Chateau de la Dauphine Rose
This is the first organically grown rose from La Dauphine. This wine boasts a stunningly sharp and clear grenadine color, along with fruity and appetizing aromas that are confirmed by the ample and round flavors. The blend cosists of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. This rose is a treat that can be enjoyed on its own or on a sunny summer day. It belongs in the appellation Bordeaux.