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Bordeaux chateau declassifies itself

Chateau la Dauphine in Fronsac is bucking the Bordeaux system by declassifying one of its properties to boost production of its most popular wine.

Chateau Canon de Brem in Canon-Fronsac will be declassified and become part

of the Chateau la Dauphine production. La Dauphine will also start producing

a second wine.

Despite Canon-Fronsac being traditionally seen as the most prestigious of the two Bordeaux appellations (Fronsac and Canon Fronsac are both just west of Saint Emilion) the chateau has decided to buck the usual rules of Bordeaux and simplify its label over the intricacies of the AOC system.

Guillaume Halley, the 29-year-old owner of La Dauphine and director of two Bordeaux supermarkets, told decanter.com, ‘Every year Chateau La Dauphine sells out, but we still have stock of Canon de Brem, despite the fact that they are from effectively the same terroir, are vinified in the same winery, and are given equal amounts of investment and marketing. Clearly, this must be an effect of the label.

‘In reality, only professionals know the difference between Fronsac and Canon-Fronsac, whereas today it’s the chateau name that is most important. We intend to concentrate on that.’

The name of the new wine is yet to be decided, but is likely to follow the same protocol of other second wines of well known chateaux, such as Alter Ego de Palmer or Les Carraudes de Lafite.

The changes will take place from the 2006 vintage.

La Dauphine was previously owned by the Moueix family of Chateau Petrus.

‘For them it made sense to have two different chateaux to segment their market,’ Halley said.

‘But for us, since taking over in 2000, we have invested heavily in the vinification cellars and the chateau of La Dauphine, and we receive all our visitors at the property. To tell visitors that our ‘best wine’ was Canon de Brem confused our overall message. We have decided to keep it simple.’

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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