Château Arcole Saint-Émilion Grand Cru 2019

Château Arcole Saint-Émilion Grand Cru 2019

Château Arcole is a tiny hidden gem in the Saint-Émilion Grand Cru appellation, in the village of Saint-Sulpice-de-Faleyrens, just south of St. Émilion, 1 km from the Dordogne river. Located in a renovated, historic farm building dating from the 19th century, Arcole is the work of an impressive, dynamic Bordeaux family completely immersed in winemaking, with deep roots in the Entre-Deux-Mers region. Philippe Gardère is the vineyard manager and œnologist at Château Arcole, while Véronique Barthe is responsible for the sales, marketing, and communications of the winery. 

Château Arcole consists of a single, five-hectare vineyard surrounding the small house. What distinguishes Arcole from other vineyards in the region is the impressive biodiversity of the property, which features elements of agroforestry and regenerative farming practices in the vineyard, such as cover grasses between vine rows. As a result, the plot is alive with animal and insect activity, contributing to the prosperity of the vineyard’s microclimate. Historically, herbicides and insecticides have not been used in the Arcole vineyard, as the property had been farmed organically since the 1960s, and biodynamically since their first vintage in 2008, gaining certification from Demeter in 2012. The soil is worked by light plowing with horses to control the growth of the grass when necessary. Instead of chemicals, they utilize pruning techniques like disbudding, de-leafing, and bunch dropping to limit the yield and open up the vines to aerate the bunches and promote the vines’ natural defenses against diseases.

The vineyard is planted to approximately 70% merlot and 30% cabernet sauvignon varieties, in a mixture of sand and gravel soils with calcareous elements. Soil studies demonstrate they are on the same soil layer as Château Monbousquet, a Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé. The average age of the vines is between 30 and 35 years, and their proximity to the river means the vines are naturally protected from drought stress in most years. The family produces just one wine from the property; the Château Arcole cuvée averages around 25,000 bottles in a good year.

Vinification – Vinification of Château Arcole is very slow and gentle, with minimal intervention. Fermentation begins spontaneously in stainless steel vats with native yeasts. The horizontal vats, which allow for more contact between juice and solid, are very gently rotated once daily to submerge the cap; they do not use pumps at the winery and great care is taken to avoid over-extraction. Philippe’s goal is an infusion of flavor, while avoiding an extraction of harsh elements. Elegance and balance are the attributes they are selecting for with their methods in the cellar. After alcoholic fermentation, 75% of the wine is moved by gravity into French oak barrels, two-thirds used and one-third new, and the remaining 25% remains in stainless steel, where the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation. Maturation time is between 14 and 18 months, depending on the vintage. The wines are bottled without fining or filtration and sealed with Diam corks, to protect against TCA taint.

  • Bordeaux

  • Appellation: Saint-Émilion Grand Cru

  • Site: Arcole, Saint-Sulpice-de-Faleyrens

  • Grapes: 70% Merlot / 30% Cabernet Sauvignon

  • Vine Age: 35+ years old

  • Soil: Sand and gravel soils with calcareous elements

  • Vinification: Spontaneous alcoholic fermentation with native yeasts in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks, malolactic fermentation

  • Aging: 75% of the wine is moved by gravity into French oak barrels (2/3 used, 1/3 new). 25% remains in stainless steel, undergoing malolactic fermentation. Aged in barrel for 14 -18 months

  • Farming: Regenerative, Certified Organic (Ecocert), Certified Biodynamic (Demeter)

  • Vegan: Yes

  • Fining/Filtration: None

  • SO2: 57 mg/L total

  • Suggested Retail: $60.00