Born into a family who have lived in the Médoc region for over
three hundred years, Henri Martin, grandson of a cellar-master at
Château Gruaud-Larose and son of a cooper from the village of
Beychevelle, was a bold, visionary man who left his mark on the history
of the Saint-Julien region.
It all began with a small estate
in Saint-Julien, Château Haut-Beychevelle Gloria, with the family’s
historic wine that fired Henri Martin’s enthusiasm. Keen to seek out
noble parcels of land, Henri Martin set out to develop Château Gloria, a
tremendous accomplishment and an approach never before seen in the
history of the Médoc, in which he successfully negotiated the purchase
of parcels that mostly formed part of Saint-Julien’s “cru classé”
vineyards to build up his life’s work. Incidentally, the name “Gloria”
helped to build the reputation of Domaines Henri Martin.
also bought Château Saint-Pierre, an 1855 Grand Cru Classé, bringing new
life and integrity to this outstanding Beychevelle estate. Finally, in
the 1980s, he bought Château Bel Air, a Haut-Médoc “cru bourgeois”,
which has since been renamed Château Bel Air Gloria.
properties together cover over 100 hectares and are being developed
within a family atmosphere by his daughter Françoise, son-in-law
Jean-Louis Triaud and his grandchildren Vanessa and Jean Triaud,
following the principles laid down by this dynamic, pioneering man.
Martin’s daughter Françoise, her husband Jean-Louis Triaud, their two
children Vanessa and Jean and their respective spouses Orphée and
Caroline keep Domaines Henri Martin running smoothly.
all involved in the Domaines, all looking to constantly improve the
results and maintain their wines to the highest standards by following a
policy of sensible progress and a family tradition that show no signs
of letting up: indeed, the future looks bright.
History of Château Saint-Pierre
elegant building was designed in accordance with Médoc tradition. It
stands in the midst of the vines. Its winemaking history goes back to
the 16th Century. The estate is considered to be one of the oldest in
the Médoc. From 1693, the archives confirm the existence of a wine
estate known as “Serançan”, owned by the Marquis de Cheverry.
1767, Baron de Saint-Pierre bought the estate and, in accordance with
the customs of the time, gave it his name. The story goes that the good
Baron counted on his patron saint to open the gates of heaven for him.
his death in 1832, his two daughters shared his inheritance. One,
married to Colonel Bontemps-Dubarry, received half of the vineyards, the
cellars and the château; the other, married to a Swede, Mr. de
Luetkens, who also owned La Tour Carnet, received the remaining
vineyards. This meant that the estate was broken up.
Saint-Pierre was not left out of the 1855 classification in which the
estate, the two halves of which were now being run separately, appeared
at the top of the list of 4th grands crus.
In 1892, Mrs. de
Luetkens sold her share to Léon Sevaistre (who already owned Château
Saint-Louis in Saint-Julien) so that, by the end of the 19th Century,
Saint-Pierre was divided between two families and lived under two
labels: « Saint-Pierre-Sevaistre » and « Saint-Pierre-Bontemps-Dubarry
In 1922, two Antwerp merchants, the brothers Pierre and Charles
Van den Bussche, brought together the two halves of the estate, except
for the cellars bought from Colonel Bontemps-Kappelhoff (grandson of
Colonel Bontemps-Dubarry) by Alfred Martin, who was looking for
somewhere to store the new barrels that he made day after day. Sixty
years later, as luck would have it, his son, Henri Martin, was able to
bring things full circle. In 1981, he bought the Château Saint-Pierre
house, which resembled a large country house, attracted by the site and
the space that would allow him to build a bottling cellar.
An exceptionnal terroir
Domaines Henri Martin vineyards are mostly situated in the Saint-Julien
appellation, with some in the Haut-Médoc appellation under the Château
Bel Air Gloria name. It’s well known that Saint-Julien is the smallest
of the four major Médoc appellations, but it has a big reputation! This
appellation can boast the highest concentration of “1855 crus classés”:
11 over 900 hectares. There are no lesser wines in Saint-Julien... It’s
even said that Saint-Julien is the quintessence of Médoc wines, striking
a balance between the softness and femininity of Margaux and the
strength of Pauillac. It offers the delightful fullness, fruit and
delicacy of the former along with the latter’s robustness and structure.
Saint-Julien wines are generally characterised by their superb harmony
and great finesse, their refined, elegant, typical aromas of red berries
and undergrowth, their high-quality tannins and their vigour and
richness.The Haut-Médoc appellation covers 4,567 hectares. Its soils
consist mainly of layers of Garonne gravel on which Cabernet Sauvignon,
Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot thrive to make it a known and
Work on the vines
Director Rémi Di Costanzo heads a Domaines team of 45 men and women who
work daily in the vineyards and cellars, on the bottling line or on
administrative tasks. The entire Triaud family is hugely grateful for
the team’s good humour, respect for tradition, know-how and desire to do
a good job. Every year during the harvest period, the Domaines take on
over 150 seasonal workers to help the local team pick the grapes across
all the parcels. Everyone plays a precise, enthusiastic part in
producing and selecting the best bunches to make quality wines that
faithfully reflect the Saint-Julien appellation and the Domaines Henri
Winemaking and cellars
Henri Martin have invested in modern production facilities, with two
sorting lines and vibrating tables fitted with optical sorting
technology to receive the harvested grapes.
2008, part of the vinification cellar was restructured, with the
arrival of a new fermenting room incorporating every form of
technological innovation and progress. Its stainless steel,
temperature-controlled tanks are mostly fitted with automatic
Henri Martin mature their wines in over 2,000 barrels divided between 5
dedicated cellars. The owners are concerned about caring for the
environment and have been awarded a level 3 High Environmental Value
certification (HEV 3) and the ISO 14001 certification.