Château Can­tenac Brown ..................12

Scot­tish charm nes­tled in the heart of the fa­mous Mar­gaux vine­yards

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The Château Can­tenac Brown is a vine­yard lo­cated in the com­mune of Can­tenac, ap­pel­la­tion Mar­gaux. In 1855 it was el­e­vated to the rank of 3rd Grand Cru Classé.

The prop­erty which ex­tends over 83 hectares con­sists of a charm­ing and atyp­i­cal Tu­dor cas­tle (English Re­nais­sance), an English gar­den, a na­ture re­serve of 14 hectares and a vine­yard (53 hectares). It was cre­ated in 1806 by John-Lewis Brown, a Scots­man who im­mi­grated to Bordeaux for the wine trade. He de­cided to give him this ar­chi­tec­tural style to re­mind him of his na­tive Scot­land.

In 1843 the prop­erty was sold to a Parisian banker named Gro­mard. In 1860 the Château Can­tenac Brown was bought by Louis Ar­mand La­lande, a Bordeaux wine mer­chant and owner of sev­eral vine­yards. He un­der­took the ex­ten­sion of the build­ing and equip­ment. It re­mained in the La­lande fam­ily un­til it’s ac­qui­si­tion by the Vivier fam­ily in 1968 and then by AXA Mil­lésimes. In 2006 Si­mon Hal­abi, a suc­cess­ful Bri­tish busi­ness­man and wine con­nois­seur of Bordeaux, fell un­der the spell of Can­tenac Brown and ac­quired it.He then en­trusted the man­age­ment of the prop­erty to José San­fins leav­ing him this as the only in­struc­tion: the per­pet­ual in­crease in qual­ity! A suc­cess­ful bet since today the Château Can­tenac Brown is a prop­erty well known to wine lovers as be­ing a good and re­li­able value of


The es­tate is man­aged in «sus­tain­able farm­ing» and cur­rently pro­duces four wines: Château Can­tenac Brown (Grand Cru Classé in Mar­gaux), Brio de Can­tenac Brown (Mar­gaux), Château Brown-La­mar­tine (Bordeaux Supérieur),Alto de Can­tenac Brown (Bordeaux Blanc).

VertdeVin: Where does the name of Château Can­tenac Brown come from?

José San­fins : The name is a com­bi­na­tion of the com­mu­nal name of Can­tenac and of the name of the cre­ator of the château «John-Lewis Brown».

V.d.V.: What is the sig­na­ture of Can­tenac Brown wines ? What al­low to us to rec­og­nize your wines in blind tast­ing ? J. S.: To the la­bel ?! The wines of Can­tenac Brown are dis­tin­guished by a fair bal­ance be­tween fi­nesse and den­sity. These are con­cen­trated wines with­out ex­cess, with no­ble tan­nins and good ag­ing po­ten­tial. This last cri­te­rion truly rep­re­sents the no­bil­ity of wine.That’s what we’ve al­ways looked for in Can­tenac Brown.

Since 2009 we have slightly in­creased the pro­por­tion of new wood in breed­ing to 60/70% while re­main­ing very at­ten­tive that the wood never takes over the fruit!

As far as the white wine, Alto de Can­tenac Brown, our ob­jec­tive was clearly to pro­duce one of the best white wines of Mé­doc.The grape va­ri­ety is es­sen­tially based on sau­vi­gnon blanc, we have log­i­cally in­spired the great white wines of Sancerre. Our blend is 90% Sau­vi­gnon Blanc and 10% Sémil­lon.We pick the ripe grapes, when the berries ex­press notes of flow­ers, peach, cit­rus fruits and a cer­tain acid­ity and fat.The small

por­tion of Sémil­lon brings a slight sweet note. From the feed­back we have from our cus­tomers, I be­lieve we have suc­ceeded our goal.

For my part I would say that what char­ac­ter­izes the red wines of the Château Can­tenac Brown is a fine fi­nesse, a well bal­anced rich­ness (dare I say a «fine rich­ness»?!), depth, vel­vety tan­nins and a spicy side.

V.d.V.: Could you de­scribe your pas­sion for wine, what wine rep­re­sents to you in three or four words? J. S.: I would say that for me wine is syn­ony­mous with pas­sion, shar­ing and that it is sooth­ing.When you share a good wine with a friend you are peace­ful, happy, you re­make the world, it is friendly and sooth­ing.

V.d.V.: Do you have fu­ture plans for Château Can­tenac Brown? J. S.: Yes we have in mind to redo the vats, to equip it with new tools.The idea is to an­tic­i­pate what we will need later to go even fur­ther in our qual­ity re­quire­ment.

Thanks to José San­fins for his warm wel­come. J.C.C.

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