Wines, châteaux and description of the Listrac Médoc. Click on the château name to go to their website.
Château Bouquet De Violettes
Château Castel Viaud (SCEA)
Lalande de Pomerol is situated just North of Pomerol. The two Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) are divided by the Barbanne stream, which is a convoluted tributary of the Isle; which is in turn a tributary to the Dordogne.
The Barbanne stream just South of Néac.
Lalande de Pomerol is about 35 km north east of Bordeaux, and the difference between the two is often confused. The region is populated by two villages, Lalande de Pomerol, which has gravel and sandy soils, and Néac, which has soils of gravel and clay. There is generally more clay in the Northern parts of the AOC. Lalande de Pomerol forms the northern end of the Pomerol plateau, with similar geology to that of Pomerol in the south.
The Pomerol plateau is composed of a limestone base which was cut by multiple rivers that carried and deposited a wide variety of silt, gravel and other alluvial deposits. These sediments came from as far away as the Central Massif and the Pyrenees during the Günzian period of the Tertiary era, one million to 370 000 years ago. Often the subsoil can be stained red from oxidised iron, often called iron dross.
Néac used to be its own AOC called Néac-Pomerol, and Lalande sold its wine under the Pomerol AOC.
However, in 1954 the new AOC of Lalande de Pomerol was formed, merging Néac into Lalande. It comprises 1150 hectares with about 200 wine growers who mostly plant Merlot (about 75%), with lesser amounts of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec.
The quality of Lalande de Pomerol has been steadily increasing over the last few decades, and often a high quality wine can be found for a fraction of the price of a Pomerol. Previously the Cabernet Sauvignon was picked unripe and harvested alongside the ripe Merlot, and most harvesting was done by machine. It is an undervalued area capable of producing outstanding wines given suitable investment and care.
The deep red wines are powerful, tannic, and full bodied, yet warm and velvety.
They age well.
Although roses at the end of vine rows are common throughout France, they play a special significance in Lalande de Pomerol. Each producer often selects a particular type of rose, and so a change of rose colours can signify plot boundaries. There was also a rose named for the region, created by rose designer Delbard called La Rose Lalande de Pomerol. The rose was baptized by the Confrérie des Baillis on June 17, 2013 in the gardens of the Vieux Presbytère in Néac.
The rose is also used as a health marker of the vines. Both roses and grape vines can suffer from diseases such as mildew or powdery mildew, yet the roses will show signs of the disease much more clearly than the vines, acting as a warning flag. Although, the effectiveness of this is debated.
In 1869 the phylloxera crisis devastated the vineyards of Lalande de Pomerol, as well as most of Bordeaux and the rest of France. Phylloxera is a microscopic lousethat eats the root systems of vines. This destroyed not just grapes but livelihoods and income. In 1884 the agricultural and wine union of Lalande de Pomerol was created to help provide aid to the struggling farmers in the region, and was one of the first of its kind in Bordeaux.
This wine union still exists today, training and providing information for winegrowers, a space for expression and exchange, as well as communicating with other wine professionals such as traders, brokers, merchants, restaurateurs, etc. They also organise events such as the primeur tastings and AOC open days. It also acts as a control and monitoring body for AOC rule compliance as laid down by the National Institute of Origin and Quality (INAO).
The village church in Lalande de Pomerol.
There is also an organisation called the Bailiffs, created in 1984, but steeped in history and costume, harking back to the soldier monks of antiquity. They promote the interests of the AOC via trips, tastings, events, and membership of the Grand Conseil du Vin de Bordeaux.
On a personal note, I love Lalande de Pomerol.
I was not expecting much when I first visited, to be honest. I thought it would be a small and rather insignificant extension of Pomerol. What I found was a hidden gem in the crown of Bordeaux.
First of all, it is quiet. No throngs of tourists, no busy high streets, no shops full of trinkets. It is a world away from Saint Émilion. For those who like such things, Lalande de Pomerol will feel like a deserted backwater. For me, it is an undiscovered treasure where I can wander alone through picturesque lanes surrounded by vines.
Tucked away and surrounded by main roads, one is surprised by the silence. The AOC is, sadly, crisscrossed by many overhead power cables, which can sometimes detract from the aesthetic, but that is about the only criticism I could level at the region.
I find the wines beautifully delicate, reminiscent of Bourgogne, with exquisite finesse and balance. They are also much more accessibly priced compared to the neighbouring AOC.
In summary, Lalande de Pomerol is a delight, both on the palate and as a place to visit and explore.
Most of the château listed will welcome visitors. I have noticed many châteaux in Lalande de Pomerol do not have their own website, which made compiling this page difficult, but click on a château and it will provide an email or number, if not a website. Just call or write to arrange a visit. It is usually considered polite to do this at least a few days in advance. In my own view, it is also only good manners to purchase at least one or two bottles of wine from any property visited, especially if they are giving up their time to show you around.
I hope that you enjoy this wonderful AOC as much as I have. It is a special place.