Chateau Malartic-Lagravière: combining the magical with the modern
Located on the outskirts of Bordeaux, the Domaine de Lagravière has always been recognised for the quality of its terroir. Today, it is a modern, magical winery with a rich history of outstanding wines.
The vineyard was originally purchased at the end of the 18th century by the Count Hippolyte de Maurès de Malartic, who came from a very old Armagnac noble family, and his distinguished naval career created a legacy seen to this day in the wine producer’s brand.
In 1997, the Brussels couple Alfred-Alexandre and Michèle Bonnie fell in love with the estate and purchased it. They quickly began an entire facelift, with the idea of restoring the sleeping beauty to its former glory. They completely overhauled the estate, building a new winery and restoring the château.
Véronique and Jean-Jacques Bonnie, now co-owners of the family’s vineyards, have two main priorities: Adapting their vineyards to the current climatic, environmental and social challenges; and transforming this magical place into a living space, open to visitors, offering a digital and in situ experience that is truly unforgettable.
The wine property is a vast environmental area: an agricultural farm in the original sense of the word. With a broad agro-ecological vision, its primary concern is to take care of the soil with reduced, measured human intervention respectful to all forms of life. Its rigorous ecological commitment has been implemented since 1997, with sustainable practices that respect the entire ecosystem.
With the planting of 500 trees and 10,000 shrubs, creating 5 kilometres of diversified hedges, the vineyard has been turned into a virtuous mosaic, composed of islands of biodiversity: The trees and hedges protect the vines from the cold, and provide a home for a variety of flora and fauna.
The entire vineyard has Sustainable Agriculture certification since 2008, and High Environmental Value since 2015, with “Option A (individual)” since 2021, ISO 14001 via the EMS, a CSR initiative begun in 2021, and is a member of Bordeaux Cultivons Demain, and the Bien Vivre Ensemble en Gironde Charter (Living Well Together in the Gironde).
Below are some of their award-winning wines from our Bordeaux Masters with tasting notes from Patrick Schmitt MW.
Malartic Lagravière Grand Cru Classé Blanc 2018
Grape varieties: 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Semillon
Approx. retail price: £60
A bright, intense, deep lemon-yellow wine with enticing aromas of cream-covered pears, with a touch of ruby grapefruit, vanilla pod, then a subtle scent of garden peas and lime zest. On the palate, more characters come to the fore, including smoke and toast, ripe orange, lemon curd, dill, nectarine too, and while there’s a slightly viscous texture to the core, the finish is fresh, with some bitter citrus pith, and fine chalky tannin. The oak-influence is well-integrated, and the wine is just starting to show a touch of development, but this is still a lively, bright white, and a benchmark in barrel-aged Sauvignon.
Château Malartic Lagravière Grand Cru Classé 2020
Grape varieties: 50.4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47.8% Merlot, 1.8% Cabernet Franc
Approx. retail price: £45
A beautifully-made Cru Classé de Graves from an outstanding vintage, this youthful Cabernet blend is bursting with ripe blackcurrant and raspberry characters, complemented by notes of toast, vanilla pod and cedar. Texturally, it’s medium-weight, with plenty of dense, fine, dry tannin, and despite the core of ripe, fleshy red and dark fruit, there’s a freshness to the wine, with a hint of crunchier redcurrant and a touch of raspberry leaf on the finish, which is persistent, displaying a lingering note of charred bread and cassis. Despite the intense flavours, and firm tannins, this is surprisingly pleasurable to drink now, though of course it can age and develop greater softness and complexity over the next 10 to 20 years.
Le Comte de Malartic
Grape varieties: 78.2% Merlot, 17.8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot
Approx. retail price: £25
This wine from Malartic Lagraviere, Le Comte de Marlartic, is a delicious entry-point to this fine estate in Pessac-Leognan. This 2019 vintage is just starting to show a touch of colour development, and has aromas of stewed red and black fruit, mixed with cigar box and a touch of rhubarb. It’s drinking beautifully now, with a medium-weight mouthfeel, mixing creamy and chalky notes with blackcurrant, blueberry and raspberry leaf. The finish features a hint of cedar, toast and a bit of cocoa powder, with plenty of dry, fine tannins. A lighter and more accessible taste of the property compared to the grand vin, it’s ready to enjoy now, but can certainly be kept for a further few years when it will develop more complexity.
Malartic-Lagraviere Grand Cru Classé 2018
Grape varieties: 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc
Approx. retail price: £65
The 2018 vintage of Malartic Lagraviere is still showing plenty of youthful intensity, with aromas of sweet ripe dark berry fruit, from blackcurrant to blueberry, with a hint of cedar and cream. The palate is delicious, with notes of cigar box and cedar mixed with juicy black fruit, plums and cassis, along with dried cherry, then a dry taste of crushed rocks and a sensation of chalky mouth-coasting tannins. The finish is long, with additional notes coming through of pot pourri, crushed strawberry, and dark chocolate. A persistent, medium-weight wine with plenty of ripe fruit and a firm dry structure, ensuring great cellaring potential.
Malartic-Lagraviere Grand Cru Classé 2016
Grape varieties: 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot
Approx. retail price: £65
A powerful expression from a great vintage, the 2016 Malartic Lagraviere is rich in aromas of dark cherry and cassis, with a palate that’s dense and dry. There’s pure and ripe blackcurrant characters with plums and then notes of toast, cedar and sweet tobacco leaf, complemented by a hint of cherry stone. The finish is rich in grippy mouth-coasting tannins to make you salivate. This is an impressive wine that will only improve with time in the bottle – it’s been built to last.