Château Mazeyres, located in the heart of Libourne, is intimately linked to the history of Pomerol. Its location is very active and alive in Roman times. Its plateau, then served by two main routes, is used by the poet Ausone to go to the Villa Lucaniac. Remarkable pottery dating from the 3rd century has been found on the site of the Château. They attest to the past existence of a Gallo-Roman villa. The city archives reveal that the culture of the vine in this place dates back to the 14th century.A magnificent mansion erected under the Directory, Château Mazeyres was acquired at the beginning of the 20th century by the Querre family, who set out to produce a fine and fruity wine, intended for customers of French restaurants. It was in 1988 that the family decided to sell the entire property to the Société Générale Pension Fund, which in 2010 sold it to Sogecap, the life insurance branch of the same banking establishment.In 1992, Alain Moueix, wine engineer and oenologist, was entrusted with the management of Château Mazeyres. Representing the fourth generation of a notorious family of winegrowers and wine merchants from Libourne, he brings him his commitment, his expertise and his know-how. Significant increase in surface area, reflection on cultivation, winemaking and aging approaches, lead to the modernization of the facilities. The chateau has been restored and the quality of the wines has been considerably improved. Mazeyres enters a new wine country. Close links are created with the Bordeaux trade which thus contributes to the international influence of Château Mazeyres and has remained loyal to Alain Moueix for almost twenty-five years of concerted work. The essential contribution of biodynamics places the progression of this vineyard in a movement of quality and ascending notoriety. The resulting wines, lively and elegant, are gaining increasing recognition.The recent acquisition of an additional 4 hectares in the heart of the Pomerol appellation brings the overall surface area of the property to 25.5 hectares certified as biodynamic since 2012.
Certification in Mazeyres is 100% of the vineyard cultivated in biodynamics since 2011 by following the certification protocol which requires first a conversion towards the essential stage of organic farming from 2012 to 2015 then certification in organic farming in 2015 and thereafter the extension of biodynamic farming for three additional years from 2015 to 2017 until certification in biodynamics in 2018, i.e. eight years of pure biodynamic practice on the entire site.
It’s Isle that created Pomerol. Deposits were brought to the Middle Pleistocene following the erosion of the Pyrenees and the Massif Central. We can define three zones on the soil of Pomerol. The plateau first, on which the clay levels are the highest, the beginning of the rupture of the plateau then, where the clay remains very present but is mixed with stones, then finally successive terraces, result of the erosion caused by the Isle to the west and south, and the erosion of the Barbanne to the north. Pomerol's soils are rich in iron oxide deposits, which we call here "iron grime". It is commonly accepted that it contributes to the typicity of Pomerol wines.Château Mazeyres is located on the west and south terraces in the Pomerol appellation. The vineyard is divided into three distinct zones, each composed of different soils.Around the house, in the western part of the appellation, there are fine clayey gravel of a caliber located between fine pebble and coarse sand. Sometimes the gravel is mixed with clay, sometimes they succeed in layers. Sometimes the stones are exposed on the surface, sometimes sand is placed on the whole. This great variety will have a very significant influence on the profile of the wines, by participating in the composition of a consistency centered on righteousness, finesse, chiselled and elegance.
In the southern part of the appellation, there are clay sands. The sands are placed on clay, sometimes black, sometimes white, sometimes variegated. The roots will cross the sand and get their water from the clay which is a reservoir. Here the wines will be spherical and fleshy with a nice density in the middle of the mouth.
The third zone is further east, at the foot of the plateau. There are gravel-sandy clays, with higher clay rates than in other parts of the vineyard. This clay gives the wines their power. These plots will be used to build the backbone of the blend of Mazeyres wines.All these soils have in common the production of wines whose touch is truly particular. They reveal the velvety dimension that Merlot can produce in such a context. Why does this velvety appear on soils that are very different from each other? The answer is not unanimous. But a track seems worthy of interest. In the classical approach, we often only talk about mineral elements, soil structure, pebbles, coarse, fine or very fine sands, silts, clay. What about the organic dimension of soils? The limestone plateau of Saint-Emilion extends east to Castillon. On a geological level, the limestone plateau of Saint-Emilion and that of Castillon are identical. Nevertheless, Ausone and Bélair-Monange are in Saint-Émilion and not in Castillon and no one has ever been even close, to make Ausone in Castillon. We can say that it is a little more to the east, a little less maritime, there are some nuances in the microclimate, but that does not explain everything. Adopting a slightly more holistic attitude could be of interest, in particular by taking an interest in this living part that are microorganisms. It goes without saying that the adaptation effort induces a double movement from the plant to the soil and from the soil to the plant. In other words the soil and the vine are engaged in a natural dialogue and open to considerable mutual influences. It is plausible that this living and active soil releases its contributions from all sides and that, next to the mineral part, this organicity works actively in favor of typicity.
One of the magic of French terroirs is to have found a match between a soil and a grape variety, that is to say a soil that will feed the grape variety in question in an optimal way. Our particular situation offers the chance to be at the northern limit of expression of these grape varieties. Merlot for example is not planted in the Loire because it may not ripen there. The advantage of being geographically well located gives the property the possibility of having wines of good density with a fine tannic material.But the increasingly significant warming of the seasons triggers certain consequences. In Mazeyres, on so-called light soils, the structure of which is made of sand, or fine gravel, to the detriment of clay which only exists on this A.O.C in very small quantities. On these soils, the meteorological impact is strong because they are charged with air and relatively little with water taking into account the little clay which composes them. This sensitivity to temperature variations results in rapid and significant heating of the soil.We often talk about the temperature of the leaves in viticulture, forgetting the temperature of the root which is essential. This is what explains in particular that Cabernet Sauvignon is doing much better in the Médoc than here and this is the reason why, although this grape variety is wonderful, the property has chosen not to plant it in Mazeyres. With the hot vintages that have become regular in recent years, the team in place has Merlots which are initially very velvety, pleasantly round and generous, but which are threatened with sagging and softening if the harvest is too long overdue. The resulting heaviness is obviously not conducive to the elevation and verticality that biodynamics can achieve under measured conditions.
In order to take into account this climatic evolution before it becomes penalizing, the property increased the share of Cabernet Franc. This grape variety, even very ripe, keeps in its middle in very tight weaving, a beautiful structure of tasting heart similar to a spinal column. It ensures the maintenance of the whole. This complementarity was enriched by the addition of Petit Verdot, a traditionally Médoc grape recently authorized for Pomerol, which has the advantage of having a high natural acidity. In low doses it brings a touch of freshness and an ascending finish which adds to the living. But Petit Verdot, very striking in aromatic terms, must be used sparingly so that its role remains discreet.