The vines of Pédesclaux sit upon a geological masterpiece whose origins date back 40 million years. It is this unique terroir, the Médoc par excellence, which was recognised by the 1855 classification.
The Médoc’s exceptional geology (map) was truly revealed to all during the 17th and 18th centuries. Europe and the world discovered that this terroir had a gift for producing wines of incomparable finesse. The great chateaus began to emerge, and with them the first attempts at classification.
The 1855 classification is the most famous. Commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce for the Exposition Universelle in Paris, it differentiates between 61 red wine crus, 18 of which are in the Pauillac commune (map) alone. It was drawn up by traders on the basis of the sales prices recorded in their archives. 160 years later, the 1855 classification still inspires dreams, as do the terroirs recognised at the time.
Just 45 years after the estate was founded, Pédesclaux saw its name carved in the stone of the 1855 classification. The status of fifth growth (‘Cinquième Cru’) it was awarded represented much more than a mere heritage – it also imposed stringent requirements for the future.
In 1810, the wine estate is established by Pierre-Urbain Pédesclaux, also working as a wine trader. In 1821 he purchases some plots from Mr. Lacoste, the owner of Château Grand Puy in Pauillac. In 2009, having owned Château Lilian Ladouys (Saint-Estèphe) since 2008, Françoise and Jacky Lorenzetti acquire Pédesclaux. Within a few years they expand the vineyard’s area from 35 to 48 hectares through the successive acquisitions of Château Haut-Milon (neighbour to Mouton and Lafite) and of vines from Château Béhèré. Then in 2013, Jacky Lorenzetti joins forces with Emmanuel Cruse by purchasing half the shares in Château d’Issan, a Margaux classified growth. Emmanuel Cruse also becomes the managing director of Pédesclaux.
Two centuries after its birth, Pédesclaux is experiencing an unprecedented revival. Jacky and Françoise Lorenzetti set out on this adventure with the same passion that drives everything they undertake. Overhaul and expansion of the vineyard, construction of cellars designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte: they certainly make ambitious choices.
When Jacky Lorenzetti sold Foncia in 2008 he wanted to take up new challenges close to his heart, in particular in the fields of rugby and wine. This dual passion is shared by his wife Françoise and his in-laws, originally from Sainte-Foy-La-Grande.
The dream took shape with the purchase of Château Pédesclaux. This 1855 classified growth is located in one of the most beautiful parts of Pauillac and offered potential just waiting to be uncovered. Some decisive choices were made: a thorough restructuring of the vineyard, the acquisition of new high-quality plots, and the construction of a gravity-fed winery to respect the original quality of the grapes.
Jacky and Françoise Lorenzetti are always on hand and committed to the everyday work at the estate. With them, revival is everywhere. The teams share their desire to improve precision and finesse of execution, with excellence a constant ambition.
To succeed in the world of wine, you must have good support. From the moment they arrived in the Médoc, Jacky and Françoise Lorenzetti relied on the late Vincent Mulliez who introduced them to Vincent Bache-Gabrielsen and then Emmanuel Cruse. Vincent Bache-Gabrielsen took over the technical management of Pédesclaux. He had already been involved in Château Lilian Ladouys, a Saint-Estèphe Cru Bourgeois acquired by Jacky and Françoise Lorenzetti in 2008.
Emmanuel Cruse, the co-owner of Château d’Issan, became Pédesclaux’s managing director. He comes from a family of vineyard owners and merchants who have been in the Médoc since the 18th century, and his Bordeaux know-how and his expertise in managing a Grand Cru Classé are widely recognised.Consultant oenologist Eric Boissenot has been offering his expertise to the vinification and blending phases since 2013.
Architect, planner and designer Jean-Michel Wilmotte is known for the eclecticism of his production and the elegance and finish of his projects. He is interested in everything from the most improbable to the most apparent, from the smallest to the most imposing. Changes of scale and programme keep him on his toes and enable him to question and ‘reinvent’ himself every time, with the same constant quest for quality and attention to detail.
At Pédesclaux, Wilmotte is behind a project returning ‘production to the heart of the estate in an efficient and unified building, made integral with its environment and chateau’: a facility of excellence which makes sense in light of the estate’s history.
In the new gravity-fed winery, everything has been designed to preserve the grapes’ aromas without any pumping whatsoever. Pédesclaux’s 21st-century buildings boast technological prowess and are also a work of architecture in their own right.
The 58 double-compartment cone tanks are perfect for plot-by-plot
vinification, and enrich the range of flavours and expressions when the
blend is constructed. This is all the more important since Pédesclaux
owns a wide variety of terroirs across the entire appellation.
How do you showcase a 19th-century cru? By giving it a 21st-century winery, according to architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte. Its construction, completed in 2014, followed work on the vines beginning in 2009.
At the same time, the chateau’s facade was extended with two large glazed extensions housing a tasting room and offices, enjoying a view of the river.
Pumps are not used at any time, from the grapes’ arrival in the winery to bottling. Gravity is used for transfer thanks to the natural slope of the land and the availability of four elevator vats.
Cold storage rooms were created for two purposes. Firstly, they lower the internal temperature of the grapes for pre-fermentation maceration. Cold promotes the dissemination of colour and aromas within the must, and enables extraction to be begun as gently as possible. Secondly, they serve as a buffer for crate supply flows: grape pickers and sorters can work at their own pace without being impeded. This ensures optimum organisation of the winery.