Château Rieussec

For several generations, Château Rieussec has been the leading name in Sauternes wines. As early as 1868, Charles Cocks remarked “Beyond any of the others, Rieussec produces wines very similar to Yquem wines”. Extensive pruning and the sparing use of natural fertilizer helps keep production low. The techniques remain traditional and specific to the Sauternes region. In terms of yields, the traditional reference is that a single vine should produce a bottle of wine. Here, though, a single vine produces about a glass of wine. Traditional fermentation takes place in stainless steel vats and can last as long as two months. The wine is aged for 16 to 26 months in oak barrels, produced mostly at Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) cooperage and half are renewed each year.

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HISTORY

In the 18th century, the Rieussec estate belonged to the Carmes de Langon monks. The confiscation of the estate during the revolution led to its public sale around 1790 as an “object of national heritage”. The estate was sold to Mr. Marheilhac, the period’s owner of Château La Louvière at Léognan. The 1855 classification recognized the quality of Rieussec’s soil by ranking it as a first growth Sauternes and Barsac. Château Rieussec was acquired by Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) in 1984. To enhance Château Rieussec’s potential, strict measures were implemented including meticulous separation of stems/seed and fermenting in barrels, which provides a superiour complexity and overall structure. In 2000, renovations and new construction continued to represent the forward strides in quality spearheaded by Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) in 1985. The 321 acres forming the Château Rieussec estate are situated on the “communes” of Sauternes and Fargues, high above the Garonne, in a small area where the cold autumn dawns form the famous mist of the Ceron River. The vineyard is planted Sémillon (90%), Muscadelle (3%) and Sauvignon Blanc (7%) with the average age being 25 years. Classified as a First Growth in 1855, Château Rieussec is located in Fargues. Rieussec is one of the biggest estates of Sauternes with 227 acres of vines, situated on the “communes” of Sauternes and Fargues, high above the Garonne River, in a small area where the cold Autumn dawns help form the famous mist (adjacent to Château d’Yquem). It is this mist which many believe plays a major role in the development of botrytis cinerea (noble rot). In the 18th century, the Rieussec estate belonged to the Carmes de Langon monks. Sold as a “national inheritance” after the Revolution, Rieussec experienced several changes of owners before being acquired by Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) in 1984. Since then, meticulous plot selection and important innovative methods have been used in the cellars to enhance quality.

TERROIR

Classified as a First Growth in 1855, Château Rieussec is located in Fargues. Rieussec is one of the biggest estates of Sauternes with 227 acres of vines, situated on the “communes” of Sauternes and Fargues, high above the Garonne River, in a small area where the cold Autumn dawns help form the famous mist (adjacent to Château d’Yquem). It is this mist which many believe plays a major role in the development of botrytis cinerea (noble rot). In the 18th century, the Rieussec estate belonged to the Carmes de Langon monks. Sold as a “national inheritance” after the Revolution, Rieussec experienced several changes of owners before being acquired by Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) in 1984. Since then, meticulous plot selection and important innovative methods have been used in the cellars to enhance quality.

PEOPLE

Charles Chevallier is Technical Director of the Bourdeaux Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Duhart-Milon,Château L’Evangile and Château Rieussec. Mr. Chevallier comes from a family of wine-growers in Lunel in the Coteaux du Languedoc. He graduated from the Ecole Supérieure d’Agriculture of Purpan in Toulouse as an Agricultural Engineer and later continued studies in Research and development of phytosanitary products for winegrowing.

In 1979, Mr. Chevallier became the Technical Department Director (vine, cereals, herbal medicine) in a Cooperative at the Union Agricole des pays de la Loire in Thouarcé . In 1983, Mr. Chevallier joined the prestigious Bourdeaux wineries as Technical Deputy Director for Château Lafite Rothschild. Subsequently he became the Technical Manager for Château Rieussec, and Technical Director for Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Duhart-Milon,Château L’Evangile and Château Rieussec.

In January 2016, Charles retired from his role as Technical Director of the Bordeaux Chateaux and assumed the role of Senior Advisor.