A History of the Château
The noble house of Gassies, a fiefdom of Margaux's lordship, had its origins in the 14th century.
Three hundred years later, under the aegis of chevalier Pierre Desmezures de Rauzan, the flourishing wine history of the vineyard arose. Bringing his expertise and know-how acquired at Château Latour, he created a prestigious vineyard: Domaine de Rauzan. With his perfect mastery of the terroirs, he played a significant role in establishing his vineyard’s reputation. Soon after, a severe hailstorm destroyed the vineyards across the Margaux region, singularly sparing the vines of chevalier de Rauzan. Thus, a rumour began circulating that birds had protected the clusters with their wings over the Gassies locality. Even today, all the wine labels of the Château display a winged coat of arms in memory of this enchantment.
In 1763, Domaine de Rauzan was divided into two parts for inheritance reasons. It was then that Château Rauzan-Gassies emerged and signed its first wines. Considered as the prime of the Second Growths in the Margaux and Cantenac parishes, the Château was elevated to Second Growth (Deuxième Grand Cru) in the imperial classification of 1855.
Seduced by its noble terroir, Mr Paul Quié, a renowned wine enthusiast and Paris wine merchant, became its proprietor in 1946. Upon his death in 1968, his son, Jean-Michel, took command of the wine estate. Château Rauzan-Gassies then underwent a vast renovation programme, including the modernisation of the vinification building and complete replanting of the vineyard. In those days, the wine estate’s teams were already outlining the modern vineyards of today. The grape variety selection and the parcelling out of the land progressively allow the contemporary identity of the great wine to be chiselled out.
In 2000, his children, Anne-Françoise and Jean-Philippe, decided to take part in the family wine heritage. For 20 years now, they have continued to develop the Château by perpetuating the remarkable work carried out by previous generations. In 2012, a whole new focus generated a new prospective approach. Château Rauzan-Gassies acquires Château Bel Orme Tronquoy-de-Lalande located in Saint-Seurin-de-Cadourne, the first vineyard purchased by Paul Quié in 1936 and the family home. This land acquisition extends Château Rauzan-Gassies' vineyard, for which each vine was planted by a member of the Quié family, to over 30 hectares in each the Margaux and Haut-Médoc appellations.
Year after year, Anne-Françoise and Jean-Philippe analyse, refine and improve each stage of their winemaking processes, rethinking them for prospective viticulture excellence. Because a family Grand Cru is, above all, a crossroad between exceptional terroirs and people who take the time to cherish them.
A Natura 2000 Site to Nest a Preserved Terroir
Amidst the Parc naturel régional du Médoc (a Médoc nature reserve) lies the vineyard of Château Rauzan-Gassies enjoying an exceptional geographical location in Margaux.
A legacy of its centuries-old past, the Château holds as many forests, meadows and marshes as it does vineyards.
These natural areas, some of which are part of the Natura 2000 site, aim to preserve the local fauna and flora heritage, each serving a distinct purpose. Forests are a reserve of endemic plant species and habitat for wildlife, as are hedges planted on the plot borders. The meadows are entrusted to a breeder of Blonde d'Aquitaine. His cattle happily share the pasture and, in return, provide natural manure fertiliser for the vineyard. Finally, just as in the 17th century, the Médoc marshlands still regulate the water drainage by the vineyard soils today.
The 30-hectare vineyard spreads over a noble terroir. Already planted with vines at the time of the imperial classification of 1855, it is divided between the two most beautiful and famous hillsides of the Margaux appellation.
The privileged interaction between man and nature today allows to work this terroir to better express all its diversity. Each parcel, depending on its soil, age, grape variety or rootstock, benefits from specific soil tillage adapted to its requirements. The excellent care given to the soils' vitality and the vines' health preserves the historic integrity and authenticity of this remarkable vineyard.
Composed of a deep substratum of Garonne gravel and gravelly sandy soils, the loam favours natural drainage, ensuring an optimal concentration of the grapes' ripeness. Mostly planted with cabernet sauvignon (58%), the vineyard is also composed of merlot (40%) and petit verdot (2%). This natural mosaic blend makes it possible to produce refined and precise, subtle and elegant wines, typical of the finest Margaux crus.