Text by Sora Chan, Senior Wine Specialist
Wine these days, and particularly discussions of one’s favourite or the best, is primarily focused on Burgundy. The prices keep on rising for the wines of this coveted region. I remember the days when I was just starting out in wine back in 2010, when the prices for Bordeaux were crazy.
Two of the primary reasons for Burgundy’s success in the market is its distinctly unique terroir among the vineyards and the ever so small quantities produced. In general, these qualities are hard to find in Bordeaux. But, they do exist. . . don’t forget about Pomerol. It’s the wild card area with many Châteaux that you may not have heard of as well as wines delivering flavours and characteristics true to their terroir. Does this remind you a bit of Burgundy? It does for me as I’m still exploring in both areas and finding wines that speak of their place.
Today, I wanted to share with you a jewel in Pomerol that I believe few wine lovers know. The history of Château La Violette started in the late 19th Century. This château was owned by a cooper who made wine barrels for other estates. Then, around the late 1960s, people started to discover the wines. The quality of these wines dramatically increased when the late Catherine Péré-Vergé (1939-2013) took over the ownership and management of the property in the 2006 vintage. This property which is a mere 1.68 ha. (For your reference, Romanée-Conti is 1.81ha, and Le Pin is 1.2ha. Petrus is 11.5ha). With this tiny size, the production is only 250 cases per year or approximately 3,000 bottles. The vineyard consists of four plots in two main parcels containing only old Merlot vines, their average age is 60 years old and some are over 75 years old. Their best terroir is located between Le Pin and Château Trotanoy. These vines are the heart and soul of La Violette. To produce the wine of Château La Violette, the berries are destemmed by hand which takes up to sixty workers to complete. Then, the whole berry fruit undergoes cold maceration for close to twenty days before fermentation in 100% new, French oak barrels. The yields are low, and the fermentation takes place in barrel. In addition, the operation is so small that there is no winery or cellar at Château La Violette; all the wine is made at Château Le Gay.
The price for this jewel isn’t cheap as Château La Violette is hard to find. Most of the bottles are already in some collector's cellar. If you’re a fan of Le Pin or Petrus, then Château La Violette should be in your cellar too. It’s even harder to find than Le Pin, really. We’ve managed to acquire an outstanding array for you, including bottles from 1960s and 1970s.... I am not joking. I don't think you can find any of these bottles in the market today. This offering may be your only chance to take some home to taste. Don't miss it!