- Wednesday 15 July 2009
Telephone: +33 (0)5 57 97 02 86
Visits: By appointment only
Details: Haut-Médoc, 5ème cru classé, 87ha, gravel-sand
Vineyards: Cabernet Sauvignon 50%, Merlot Noir 40Êbernet Franc 5%, Petit Verdot 5%
Viticultural acitivity on the Cantemerle estate dates from 1354, though the production was tiny (then, most Bordeaux land was given over to cereal crops). Only in the late 16th century was production taken more seriously, when Jean de Villeneuve, Lord of Cantemerle, married Antoinette de Durfort. The pair created a real vineyard, which remained in the Villeneuve family for three centuries, the wine growing steadily in reputation - and in the 1840s it was perhaps reputation that persuaded the owner of neighbouring Château Pibran, Pierre Chadeuil, to feature the word Cantemerle on his labels. Outraged, the Villeneuves sued. Chadeuil's claim that, historically, the title included his land and not just that under Villeneuve ownership was thrown out in the still famous court case. However, the ravages of phylloxera and, later, downy mildew, badly hit the estate during the decades that followed. In 1892 the Villeneuve family sold Cantemerle to Théophile-Jean Dubos whose own family retained ownership until, in 1981, Cantemerle was sold to Les Mutuelles d’Assurance du Bâtiment et des Travaux Public (Groupe SMABTP) whose massive investment has since rejuvenated the property.