Chateau de Fieuzal, Pessac Leognan 1997 ~ Bordeaux, France
2 Stars - Le Guide Hachette des Vins
Jeremy Williams - "Château de Fieuzal is a very well known Léognan estate that has a great reputation for the quality of its white wine which is frequently one of the best in the appellation."
James Robinson - "Robust and strongly mineral with quite firm tannins in evidence. Solid and still quite chewy."
Château de Fieuzal is a Bordeaux wine from the Pessac-Léognan appellation, ranked among the Crus Classés for red wine in the Classification of Graves wine of 1953 and 1959.
The origins of Château de Fieuzal date back as far as the beginning of winemaking in Bordeaux’s Graves region, named for its thin, gravel-studded soil. The estate, which is in the Pessac-Léognan appellation of Graves, sits on one of the best gently sloping, gravel-outcrops in the area long admired for its excellent drainage and heat diffusing properties.
Both Graves and Fieuzal are reputed to produce some of the best white wines in Bordeaux. In 1959 they were awarded the official status of Graves Grands Cru Classé wines.
Fieuzal is named after the family who owned the property up to 1851, while the original 16th Century name of the estate was Gardères. After the Fieuzal family sold the estate, it was split in two and the halves were named Château de Fieuzal and Château Haut Gardères. It wasn’t until 1995 that the two estates were finally reunited to form the current Fieuzal vineyards, which now cover some 75 hectares, 10 of which are used to grow white wine grapes.
The vineyard area consists of 48 hectares, 39 hectares of red vines consisting of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon with 33% Merlot, 4.5% Cabernet Franc and 2.5% Petit Verdot, and 9 hectares of white with equal amounts of Sémillon and Sauvignon blanc.
Fieuzal’s property is divided by the Eau Blanche (white water) stream, while its gravelly soil unfolds around the hill in complex geological layers - a result of century long pressure from the Garonne River. Such thin, stony soil is highly adept a draining water and at keeping and rediffusing heat. The vines, which have a current average age of 30 years, are planted at a density of 9,000 plants per hectare. Chemical applications are kept to a bare minimum, traditional farming methods are used and grapes are picked and sorted – twice - by hand, all of which helps to preserve the purity of the fruit.
Chateau de Fieuzal's and the Pessac-Leognan’s region's white wines are made predominantly from Sauvignon Blanc (a required minimum of 25%) and Semillon grapes, and are often matured in oak for greater complexity. These white varieties thrive on the sandier soils of the appellation and produce more age-worthy wines than any other part of the world. Elsewhere, blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon are often best consumed within two years of harvest; in contrast, white wines of Pessac-Leognan can develop in bottle for well over a decade.
Pessac-Leognan is a prestigious appellation for wines produced in a particular area of the Bordeaux region of south-western France. A relatively new appellation, it was carved out of the Graves sub-region in 1987 – recognized in its own right on the merits of its high-quality red and white wines. This was a significant change, as many of the chateaux in what is now Pessac-Leognan were the best performers in the Graves Classification of 1959.
The terroir of Pessac-Leognan betrays its historical origins as part of the Graves sub-region, with the dominant soil type being the gravel (and sand) which gave Graves its name. The northern vineyards of the appellation are intermingled with the southern fringes of Bordeaux city.
Famous producers of the Pessac-Leognan region are Chateaux Haut-Brion, La Mission Haut-Brion, Laville Haut-Brion and Pape Clement (named after Pope Clement V, who ordered its original vineyards to be planted in the 14th century). Each of these is located within the southern city limits of Bordeaux. The village of Pessac lies just to the south of these chateaux, while Leognan is six miles (10km) further on. It is beside these famous neighbours that Chateau de Fieuzal can be found.