The property is 4ha in total, with only 2.5ha currently in production, on gentle north east and north west slopes of well-drained clay-limestone soils which provide various exposures of remarkable diversity within a small area. The varieties currently planted are mostly cordon-trained, old vine merlot (90%), with cabernet franc, and cabernet sauvignon making up the balance. However, they have begun the process planting malbec when old vines die, with an eye towards climate change, with malbec’s heat and drought resistant qualities being prized. David, who is also an enthusiastic Loire Valley wine lover and chenin blanc obsessive (like the rest of us), has even planted a parcel of chenin from which he will soon make an outlaw cuvée once the vines are old enough.
Currently they are making two different cuvées of Domaine de Valmengaux: Cuvée En Foudre and Cuvée En Jarre. Cuvée En Foudre is aged in used, 12hl and 20hl Austrian Stockinger oak foudres. Cuvée En Jarre is aged in 500-liter earthenware amphorae from Artenova in Tuscany, Italy. Each élevage provides a different patina for the expression of the property, without overpowering the terroir expression, which is their primary goal. The wines display remarkable purity, richness, and depth, with tasting notes which bring to mind the excellence one finds in neighboring Pomerol. Valmengaux is quite approachable right out of the gate, yet will repay up to 10 years of further age in bottle, if you can wait that long to drink these supremely delicious wines.
It takes tenacity and courage to exist outside of the tightly manicured and controlled world of the Bordeaux negociants and La Place de Bordeaux. With the market collapsing around them, the future for working class vignerons of the region lies in a grower/terroir-driven model more similarly resembling Burgundy and the Loire. We are incredibly proud to work in partnership with Bordeaux vignerons like Domaine de Valmengaux to bring these authentic, alternative perspectives to the US market and we are equally excited to play a small part in the next chapter for the region.