The history of Château Couloumey is long and rich. In the 17th century it was the site of a hunting lodge used by the Dukes of Epernon who used it on their sorties from the nearby Château de Cadillac, and the woods were famed for their game. Legend has it that Louis XIV, the Sun King, stopped here for some days to hunt, delaying his arrival at St Jean de Luz where he was bound to marry the Infanta of Spain, Maria-Teresa of Austria – a prospect he wasn’t looking forward to at all.
Vines had previously been on this estate for many years until the 1930’s and the wines labelled Cru Irisson, so when the current owner, Pierre Bon, bought the property in 1996, he decided to bring vines back and create a wine for the first time under the actual name of Château Couloumey.
This is another of our tiny gems, the 3.5 hectares that are now planted to vines were the garden of the house so you walk off the terrace and straight into the vines. The soil is of similar quality to the nearby eastern end of Pessac Léognan with deep gravels especially large in places which give excellent drainage and keep the vine roots dry. A unique characteristic though, lying as this vineyard does in a wide sweep of the Garonne River, is a fine layer of iron-rich alluvial topsoil which gives the land a notable red hue and the wine a beautiful purity and elegance. Château Couloumey has a marked and very feminine smoothness that appears in every vintage.
Most of the vineyard is dedicated to red varieties, 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, with just ten rows for making a charming white from roughly half and half Sauvignon and Sémillon. In all 20,000 bottles are produced in an average year, with manual harvest and the most rudimentary winemaking in resin-lined tanks overseen by a local consultant. The red is aged in oak barrels, normally of one or two wines, although exceptional vintages sometimes benefit from 20-30% new French and Hungarian oak.
This is unpretentious wine, not the cheapest in the RGW range but absolutely delicious and excellent value-for-money.
|Château Couloumey, Graves rouge, 2008|
|Château Couloumey, Graves rouge, 2011|
|Château Couloumey, Graves rouge, 2012|
|Château Couloumey, Graves rouge, 2014|