Vignobles Michel Gonet
The Gonet family began producing wine at the turn of the 19th century in Champagne and have developed their vineyard holdings to some 40 hectares around their cellars at Avize. They took an interest in Bordeaux back in the 1980’s and two of the current generation, brothers Fréderic and Charles-Henri, now run a sizeable business which includes six separate properties in Pessac-Léognan and the lesser-known Graves de Vayres appellation.
Our selection features two châteaux in Pessac-Léognan. Château d’Eck is an eye-catching medieval fortress which visitors to Bordeaux will recognise if they’ve left the city going south on the A62 motorway to Toulouse, it is an unmissable turreted edifice on the right hand side of the road surrounded by vines and you can often see the vineyards being worked by horse. The château belonged to the Church from the 13th century, and successive Bishops of Bordeaux (including the future Pape Clément) resided there up until the Revolution.
The Gonets acquired the estate in 1999 and have fully renovated the buildings and the vineyard. Here they produce good value typical red and white Pessac-Léognan wines with plenty of fruit and freshness, which have built a strong reputation for themselves on the local restaurant scene. We find that can be a good indicator of typicity because if a wine doesn’t taste quite like it should, the locals normally shun it. In this case the presentation also helps since Château d’Eck has one of the more attractive and individual modern-style labels in the region.
Château Saint Eugène has a different approach, staunchly traditional and very French in its outlook. The label offers references to both the Graves and Pessac-Léognan appellations, as well as the village of Martillac which, put all together, are likely to confuse foreign consumers unfamiliar with the differences. But this is the bottle’s charm: it does not try to respond to international trends or even modern needs, it offers something so thoroughly and confidently French that it will no doubt please many francophiles. Of course the wine itself does respond perfectly to what claret-lovers are looking for, with good fruit and structure and a rounded finish.