Saint Estèphe

Wines, châteaux and description of Saint Estèphe. Click on the château name to go to their website.

Saint Estèphe

The Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) of Sainte Croix du Mont is in the southern side of the Entre Deux Mers overlooking the Garonne river, 40 km south east of Bordeaux. The AOC is represented by The Syndicat Viticole de Sainte Croix du Mont.


Known for its sweet white wines it extends about 850 hectares, with 450 hectares under vine. The sweetness in the white wines is produced through a combination of techniques. Late harvesting around October using successive sorting whereby workers go into the field between 4 and 8 times, only picking the well developed grapes.


The river mists and morning fogs are used to encourage Botrytis cinerea fungus that removes water from the grapes whike leaving behind all the sugars, concentrating the sugar, acidity, and glycerol per grape while doing no damage. However, the hard to control and therefore localised nature of this fungus tends to lead to low average yields barely exceeds 30 hectoliters per hectare.

Semillon is the dominant grape variety (85%), followed by Sauvignon (12%), and Muscadelle (3%). Expect full bodied flavors and aromas of raisins and ripe fruits such as apricot and peach, with floral notes of acacia and honeysuckle. The wines can be drunk young while delicate, or aged for decades. For a summary of some of the best vintages - click here. For excellent food pairing advice - click here.

There is a unique geological site made up of 22 million year old oyster fossils. Wine cellars have in some places been cut into these fossil beds.

The Commanderie du Bontemps de Sainte Croix du Mont, a group reminiscent of the Saint Émilion  Jurade, are sponsored by the Commanderie du Bontemps of Médoc and Sauternes since 1963. They dress in orange medieval robes, and parade around now and again. Bontemps was a container in which the egg whites were whipped and then poured into the barrels to clarify the wines.


Such groups are popular in every appellation in one form or another, and I suspect that they play an important role in bonding local communities.

Commanderie du Bontemps de Sainte Croix du Mont, Bordeaux, wine, France, wines, vin