Chateau de Ferrand | From an Illustrious Past to a Sustainable Future
Through its illustrious three-century-long history, Chateau de Ferrand has seen only two families at its helm. A consistency in management is reflected in the vineyard team, composed of winegrowers who have worked at the estate for decades and who now boast an intimate knowledge of each vineyard parcel. Along with 32 hectares planted in some of the best, most clay-rich soils of the Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classe appellation, the estate also includes 10 hectares of natural space, home to a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna. The vineyards are managed with a deep respect for the environment and an aim to pass a healthy terroir on to future generation.
Three Centuries, Two Families
The history of Chateau de Ferrand dates back to 17th century and has followed in the tradition of Bordeaux's illustrious Grand Cru estates. Since then, the chateau has hosted numerous guests of great prestige, including the royal court of Louis XIV and renowned French writer Mademoiselle de Scudery. The chateau, built in the classic style - in honour of Louis XIV - in the year 1702, boasts stunning panoramic views of the Dordogne Valley, having served as a source of great inspiration for those who have visited and stayed at the chateau over the years. Originally owned by Elie de Betoulaud, the estate was passed down through the family to Marquis de Mons. In 1978, it was purchased by Baron Bich, founder and owner of the famous Bic pen company. The estate is now managed by Pauline Bich Chandon-Moet, along with her husband Philippe Chandon-Moet of the Chandon Moet Champagne House. In 2012, the INAO Classification Commission ranked Chateau de Ferrand as a Grand Cru Classe de Saint-Emilion.
The classification of Saint-Emilion as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999 prompted the management at Chateau de Ferrand to open its doors to French and international visitors. A brand new tasting room was constructed in 2009 to complement the open-air terrace offering magnificent views of the property. These projects were led by famous Italian designer Arnaldo Tranti, who relied on the chateau's rich history as inspiration for its future. The estate has received several awards for the quality of wine tourism experiences it offers its guests, activities which include tasting sessions and workshops, as well as private receptions and corporate events. Visitors leave Chateau de Ferrand with a clear understanding of and respect for the property's beautiful history, unparalleled savoir faire and great investments towards a more sustainable future.
A Sustainable Approach to Working with Terroir
The excellent of Chateau de Ferrand is due, in first part, to its terroir. The property extends over a total of 42 hectares, 32 of which are planted in vines - specifically 75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Situated at the edge of a limestone plateau on the eastern side of the Saint-Emilion appellation, the vines grow in four different types of soil (including the highly regarded molasses d'Agenais), which all share a high concentration of clay. This results in great character in the finished wines, typical of those produced on Bordeaux's Right Bank. The vines enjoy great drainage and special currents of air that ventilate the vineyard and divert storms away. The high altitude (between 46 to 100 meters above sea level) and exposure result in temperatures that are cooler than those typical of other properties in Saint-Emilion.
© Chateau de Ferrand
The vineyard team, led by Gonzague de Lambert, consists of winegrowers who have stayed at Chateau de Ferrand for many years and have adopted the terroir as their own. They know the characteristics of each plot - its soil type, soil depth, facing, elevation, grape varietal and age - and treat them on an individual basis using methods that best fit the needs of each, with special care paid to protecting the phytosanitary conditions of each plant. Replanting projects are based on close geographical surveys of the soil type of each plot, and has resulted in a very high plantation density of 7,000 vines per hectare. This high density, combined with a small amount of fertiliser added, results in healthy competition between the plants, lowering yields and enhancing the concentration of the fruit. The vines of Chateau de Ferrand are aged between 25 and 30 years on average. In the past few decades, the estate has made great strides toward a more sustainable future through an environmentally friendly approach that puts the health of the terroir before anything else. The use of herbicides has been eliminated for over one generation as a major leap toward organic agriculture and the chateau is today Terra Vitis certified. The estate also takes special care of its 10 hectares of non-viticultural land, which is home to woodlands and fields with a diverse biodiversity of flora and fauna.
Vinification for a Signature Style
Chateau de Ferrand is home to a state-of-the-art winery refurbished in 2009, along with the spectacular Grottes de Ferrand caves, carved out of stone. The fruit is sorted first by hand and then with an optical sorting system to ensure that only the best fruit enters the blend. The grapes are moved by a gravity-fed system into cement vats of various capacity, each dedicated to a single parcel. In this way, each plot is vinified and matured separately with close attention paid to the needs of each batch. The wines age in one of the chateau's over 500 barrels of 50-60% new oak for a period of 12 to 16 months, depending on the vintage and the character of each wine. The final blend is created after carefully tasting each batch and varies from one vintage to the next, ensuring a completely honest expression of terroir and the year's unique climatic conditions. The blends are bottled at the chateau and stored in temperature-controlled above-and underground cellars, under ideal ageing conditions before being released on the market. Since the 2017 vintage, Chateau de Ferrand has also made its grand vin available for purchase en primeur.
The wines of Chateau de Ferrand provide a fantastic expression of the terroir of their appellation, the Grand Cru Classe de Saint-Emilion. In the glass, these wines display a very intense red robe with purple reflections, revealing a deep, dynamic bouquet of ripe fruit and spice on the very first sniff. On the palate, the wine offers a powerful attack, followed by smooth, well-rounded tannins. These wines are structured, complex and elegant, with flavours of fresh red and black fruit coming forth. Depending on the vintage, blackcurrant, blueberry and cherry dominate. The wines of Chateau de Ferrand are also known for the great balanced achieved between the character of the oak and the beautiful natural freshness of the fruit. The finish is long and satisfying, leaving the taster longing for the next sip.
Since 2007, Chateau de Ferrand has also produced a second wine, named Le Different de Chateau de Ferrand. While the estate’s grand vin is meant to be patiently stored for several years, Le Different can be enjoyed quite young. This cuvee is produced from the same terroir as its more prestigious older brother, and expresses the same finesse and elegance. The perfect pairing with charcuterie, roast goose or red meat, Le Different promises to be a great centrepiece for a meal with friends.