Chateau de France fire destroys chai and part of 2010 vintage
- Wednesday 20 July 2011
Chateau de France, showing destroyed chai. Image: france3
The fire at the Pessac-Leognan property started around 7.30pm on Monday in the chateau’s cellars, local newspaper Sudouest reported.
It is unclear exactly how much of the 2010 vintage has been destroyed or ruined by the fire, but by Tuesday morning, Sudouest said, it was obvious the damage was considerable.
A police inquiry will determine the cause of the fire, described by a spokesman for the fire service as ‘intense’.
Fifty firefighters with six high-pressure hoses and ladders were needed to control the blaze, which has destroyed the three-storey, 3000 sq m building.
‘The aim was obviously to control the fire but it was also to stop it spreading to the administration buildings, and the other cellars stocking older vintages,’ Arnaud Mendouse, the officer in charge of the firefighters said.
According to the report, the wine in stainless steel vats was subjected to such extreme temperatures that it is unlikely it will have survived. Several hundred hectolitres, Sudouest says, will have been lost.
Chateau de France is a 40ha property in a part of Leognan that Stephen Brook describes as ‘one of the best sectors’ of the appellation.
Michel Rolland has consulted at the chateau since 1996, for the Thomassin family, who bought the property in 1971.
The wine is ‘somewhat underrated,’ Brook says. ‘It is not one of the region’s superstars but quality is dependable and the price moderate.’
Steven Spurrier gave the 2010 three stars at this year's en primeur tastings, saying it was the best wine he had tasted from the property.