Château Luchey-Halde, appellation Pessac-Léognan in Bordeaux

This sunday (last december) I visited Château Luchey-Halde in Pessac, really very close to where I live. I cannot remember if I had visited it before…(what a shame, only 3kms away). Anyway, better late than never as we say. It was a really interesting visit and I enjoyed their wines also.

A unique History

In 1999 Bordeaux Sciences Agro, the National School of Agronomic Sciences, brought Château Luchey-Halde back to life after it had disappeared 80 years earlier. Vines were planted on the land of the current estate from the days of the Roman Empire. Over the centuries many estates disappeared following various crises and urban expansion. In 1920, the Luchey estate was snapped up in turn by the French Ministry of Defence which turned it into a military training area, thus preserving it from urbanisation. When the French Army sold the land in 1999, Bordeaux Science Agro spotted the opportunity to start a vineyard from scratch and to showcase its expertise.

The Terroir (or soil)

Château Luchey-Halde is situated in the heart of Bordeaux in the prestigious Pessac-Leognan appellation and benefits from an exceptional terroir. It is constituted of several ridges which contain gravel, pebbles and fine soil deposited by the Garonne River and its tributaries between the end of the Tertiary and the beginning of the Quatenary periods. It is a poor but well-drained soil perfectly adapted to winegrowing in the oceanic climate of Bordeaux.

The vineyard

The vineyard covers 23 hectares with 19 hectares planted with the following red grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon (55%), Merlot (35%), Cabernet-Franc (5%) and Petit Verdot (5%). The remaining 4 hectares are planted with white varieties: Sauvignon blanc (37%), Sauvignon gris (18%) and Sémillon (45%).

A very thorough soil analysis carried out by the teacher-researchers at Bordeaux Science Agro has allowed for the optimal planting of grape varieties with their corresponding soil types.

This study also revealed the excellent potential of this terroir and the possibility of producing high quality wines. As a consequence, Bordeaux Science Agro initiated an ambitious planting programme based on high-density planting, soil preparation and respect for the environment. For a given yield, this high-density planting allows fewer bunches of grapes to grow on the vines leading to higher concentrations of juice in the berries. Preparing the soil permits the control of soil flora as well as enabling the vines to extend their roots deeper in search of nourishment.

We produce between 100,000 and 150,000 bottles of red and white wine each year.

Innovations

In order to extend the substantial work undertaken in the vineyard, the grapes are harvested by hand and put into small containers.
The red grapes are carefully transported to the grape reception area at the winery, which was built in 2002 for the sake of practicality and innovation. It consists of a circular, semi-buried vatroom which uses gravity to move the grapes to the vats, which are transported whole and then crushed as they fall into the fermenting tanks. This is done to preserve the maximum aromatic potential of the future wine.

The stainless steel tanks allow an optimal vinification process. During this period,under the action of yeasts, the sugar is transformed into alcohol and the colour and tannins needed for optimal ageing are extracted.

The press – Sorting table

Stainless steel tanks

The Chais (350 barrels)

After this phase, the wines are aged in barrels for 12 months. Barrel ageing allows the aromatic and tannic range of the wine to be completed and also sets off the maturing process which makes it perfectly ready for tasting at bottling.

The white grapes are also harvested manually and then pressed. The juice thus obtained is cleared of the largest solid parts and transferred straight into barrels where it ferments and then ages for 11 months. During this period the wine is stirred regularly thus enriching the range of tastes.

The Chais (barrels)

How to come to Château Luchey-Halde?

17 avenue du Maréchal Joffre, 33700 Mérignac, France Tramway : ligne A, arrêt « Fontaine d’Arlac » (10 min à pied) VCub : Station « Fontaine d’Arlac » Bus : ligne 42 arrêt «Avenue Gambetta »
ligne 23 arrêt « Maréchal Joffre »
ou « Avenue Gambetta » et lignes 35 et 48 arrêt « Brémontier ». Tél. : +33 (0)5 56 45 97 19
Mail : info@luchey-halde.com

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