Patrick Dorneau

Vig­no­bles Dorneau (Château Lacroix) - Fron­sac

Bordeaux Wine Trip - - Bordeaux Wine Routes Portrait -

Since 1991, you have been in charge of three vine­yards. What makes them spe­cial? The prop­erty was bought in 1870 by a great-aunt. Four gen­er­a­tions have looked af­ter the es­tate, which grew in 1960 with the pur­chase of Château Lacroix, then again with the vines of Château Roul­let and fi­nally once more with Château Pon­tus. Lacroix and Pon­tus are from the Fron­sac ap­pel­la­tion, Roul­let qual­i­fies as Canon-fron­sac. These wines are well-bal­anced, with a large pro­por­tion of mer­lot. The sandy earth and cal­care­ous soil make full­bod­ied and fruity wines, but ones which have a cer­tain struc­ture too.

Why did you choose to start pro­duc­ing truf­fles?

As some­one who loves food, I’ve al­ways been fas­ci­nated by truf­fles and their se­crets. The pres­i­dent of the Gironde so­ci­ety for truf­fle grow­ers, who is both a neigh­bour and a friend, asked me one day when we were go­ing for a walk why I hadn’t tried plant­ing downy oaks in the sandy and cal­care­ous soil, which is per­fect for truf­fles’ growth. Now, we have no less than 250 of these trees!

How do you share your pas­sion for wine and truf­fles with your vis­i­tors?

We show them the wine cel­lar and do a tast­ing with some of our wines (to be booked in ad­vance). We have also cre­ated some unique truf­fle-based op­tions. Vis­i­tors can stroll through not just vine­yards, but also among the truf­fle-grow­ing oaks, where there is a mono­lithic chapel from the 12th cen­tury. Once they re­turn, they taste some wine with some truf­fle­based food. In do­ing so, we show them how to make the very most of this ex­cep­tional culi­nary prod­uct.

Patrick Dorneau man­ages three châteaux in Fron­sac and Canon-fron­sac, over­look­ing Li­bourne and the out­ly­ing vine­yards of Saint-émil­ion. He loves shar­ing his pas­sion for wine and truf­fles with vis­i­tors.

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