Château des Laurets
The wines made at the estate are representative of Saint-Émilion. Their blend prominently features merlot, a vine variety that makes the most of the region's clay-limestone soil. Château des Laurets, the flagship brand, dominates production but is complemented by a merlot micro-cuvée that is the quintessence of the estate: Les Laurets Baron Edmond de Rothschild.
Until 2003, Château des Laurets was an underachieving winery. Its wine – mostly sold in bulk to Bordeaux wine sellers – did not leverage the possibilities of this exceptional terroir atop the extension of the Saint- Émilion limestone plateaus. This was the situation when Benjamin de Rothschild bought the property. A firm believer in the potential of the site and its 95 hectares, he knew that Château des Laurets could produce great wines. The Baron was also won over by the estate's visual treasures. From the magnificent 19th-century chateau with its unusual architecture and octagonal central tower to the old stables, sheep house, lake and slopes with full southern exposure that stretch out in a single band around the grounds, the Baron had plans to showcase it all.
Major work began as soon as the Compagnie Vinicole acquired the property. While conditions throughout much of the vineyard made it possible to operate without changes, significant investments were made in the wine storehouses to fit the estate with modern, high-performance equipment. The fermentation room was overhauled in 2004. Smaller wood and stainless steel tanks enable vinification by plot for a quality-driven approach that has transformed the estate's wines. Yields were also reduced to improve the quality of the grapes harvested. Benjamin de Rothschild's policy was clear: the goal was no longer to sell in bulk, but to give the vineyard the means to produce great wines bottled at the estate under the winery's label. His gamble paid off: the output from Château des Laurets now ranks among the most promising young wines of Saint-Émilion.
- 1860Chateau built
- 2003Benjamin de Rothschild buys the estate and renovates vat room
- 2004Blend Les Laurets Baron Edmond de Rothschild is launched
- 2007Barrel cellar and tasting room are renovated
A joint venture
The project was born of intuition. Following in the footsteps of his father, who in 1973 took a risk on the Château Clarke winery in the Médoc, Benjamin de Rothschild bought Château des Laurets because he sensed its potential. Enchanted by the location, the chateau and its surroundings, Benjamin de Rothschild also made a long-term commitment to patiently develop what would become stellar vintages.
The grapes are harvested by hand, then sorted and destemmed. before being transferred to tanks made of wood, stainless steel or concrete and 100% temperature controlled. The wines mature in these tanks for 14 to 18 months.
The plots of Château des Laurets straddle two appellations: Puisseguin-Saint-Émilion and Montagne-Saint-Émilion. The vineyards surround around the chateau, and the estate's hills receive optimal southern exposure. The clay-limestone terroir is naturally ideal for growing merlot, the reigning grape of Saint-Émilion, for this soil profile enables the variety to achieve its full power and signature qualities. Red grape varieties are grown on all the plots. Of the 95 hectares that make up the property, four were chosen from the best merlot plots to produce the wine that epitomises the estate: Les Laurets Baron Edmond de Rothschild Cuvée d'Excellence. Another 45 hectares are reserved for the production of Château des Laurets, a blend that is primarily merlot complemented by cabernet franc.