Avant Guides, an English speaking group of guides in the Bordeaux region, were recently invited to learn about Chateau Bonalgue in Pomerol. I have to be honest, most of my wine tours are with clients wanting to visit Saint Emilion, and for good reason. It’s a lovely village in a addition to producing excellent wines. However, I’m always trying to get clients to explore different areas in the Bordeaux region and this is one I’m certainly adding to the list. It’s small, beautiful and their 2012 was one of the best wines I’ve tasted in a while (45 EURO a bottle, which is a great value considering the quality). Bring your wine luggage to carry your wine home and let’s visit Chateau Bonalgue in Pomerol!
ABOUT CHATEAU BONALGUE
Chateau Bonalgue is a family run property, with Jean Baptise and Gabriela BOUROTTE currently at the helm. This is in addition to three other properties in the area – Clos du Clocher, Chateau du Courlat, and Chateau Les Hauts-Conseillants. This is a classic right-bank Bordeaux wine with majority Merlot, at around 8 hectares.
The home itself is an early 19th century stone building, locally called a ‘maison de maitre’ and very typical of the region. There are some very unique carvings that run the length of the front of the home. These designs are of weapons of war, which would have been commissioned by the first owner Captain RABION, who served in Napoleons army.
WINES OF CHATEAU BONALGUE
Being located in Pomerol already adds to the intrigue of Chateau Bonalgue. This small appelation consists of around 150 producers who do not adhere to a wine classification system. Those in AOC Pomerol don’t really need one as their wines are already considered some of the best and include such names as Petrus and Lafleur.
The classic right bank reds will include a majority of merlot, with cabernet sauvignon and some cabernet franc (bouchet), petit verdot, and malbec (cot or noir de pressac). As with many local wine producers, Chateau Conalgue are starting to plant more Cabernet Sauvignon to replace some of the merlot in response to climate change.
It is a biodynamic vineyard and your tour with guide Eveli Rodriguez will highlight some of the more important and interesting parts in this wine making. This might have been my favourite part, because it opened conversation to other unique methods of farming. We ended up discussing the use of music to promote growth and protect from humidity. Eveli adores questions, so come prepared!
While you will get a tour of the chai and barriques, the wines are produced in much of the traditional methods locally and finally aged in French oak barrels. The main focus here is on the vines and in tasting.
The wine tasting takes place in a lovely renovated room at the front of this 19th century property. We had three wines, from three of the estates, all wildly different in flavor profile and body. Same grape varieties, two of the same year, though all of different terroir. The final wine from Chateau Bonalgue from 2012 (before bioydnamic conversion) which was perfection of red fruits, full bodied and balanced, with smooth tannins.
VISITING CHATEAU BONALGUE
If you would like to visit Chateau Bonalgue, be sure to phone and reserve in advance. Tours are offered in English, Portugese, Spanish, and in French, with a tasting of three wines. Alternative wine tasting options are available or pivate small group tastings in the owners wine cellar. Lunches are offered with advance notice, during the week / www.jbaudy.fr/mobile/fr/chateau/bonalgue/ / 24 Rue Bonalgue, 33500 Libourne / +33 (0)9 50 52 97 73 /
STAYING AT CHATEAU BONALGUE
A drive through the vines of Pomerol brings you to the family chateau, which has been recently renovated to create an intimate maison d’hotes or Bed and Breakfast. Currently there are three double rooms with ensuite bathrooms (one with a bathtub). Breakfast is served on site, with lunches and dinners available at local restaurants or with caterers.
Everything inside has been very tastefully done, plenty of warm wood stands in contrast to the clean stone walls. Beautiful exposed beams in the bedrooms give you a sense of the history of the home. There is a shared living space consisting of couches, dining table, and open plan kitchen. This is also shared, when needed, with wine tour guests. Bookings can be made online https://www.booking.com/hotel/fr/chateau-bonalgue.fr.html
VISITING CLOS DU CLOCHER
We were also able to see a second property during our time at Chateau Bonalgue, Clos du Clocher. This property looks out over the vines at Chateau Beauregaurd and is a more modern facility with multiple tasting options. Reservations required / https://www.jbaudy.fr/mobile/en/chateau/clos_du_clocher/ / 57 Rue du Catusseau, 33500 Pomeral / +33 (0)5 57 51 62 17