Chateau Sainte Marie

Bordeaux, France

Set right in the heart of the Entre-Deux-Mers region, the magnificent estate of Château Sainte Marie enjoys an excellent geographic position.The south-facing vineyards stretch over two very sunny hilltops which are among the highest points in the Gironde region. Fifth generation Stephane Dupuch took the helm in 1997 and immediately transitioned the estate over to organic viticulture (now officially certified). Like his father before him, Stephane served a stint as the President of the Entre Deux Mers Growers' Association with the primary goal of convincing his colleagues that the future of the appellation will be found through denser vine planting, lower yields and natural vineyard management. 

Stephane is committed to working his soils, encourages biodiversity in the vineyards, and has been known to take extreme measures to allow his terroirs to speak for themselves. One example of this is his mulching program. Stephane planted grassy bamboo reeds on appellation soils, which he mulches and places at the foot of vines. Rather than ordering truckloads of mulch from the local grain store, he opted to develop his own system from his own terroirs so as to not invite anything foreign into the vineyards. 

The Dupuch family is gifted in old vines, the most elderly being 107 year old semillon vines, which due to their high altutide, uniquely survived the devastating 1956 frost that destroyed a large portion of Bordeaux vines on both banks. The remaining plantings of Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc have an avarage vine age of 35-40 years. Of particular significance is Stephane's sloping parcel known as Alios, which was named as one of just fourteen sanctuary terroirs in all of the Entre Deux Mers, meaning the site can never be used for purposes other than vineyard land. This protective honor is a nod to Stephane's tireless efforts farming this majestic terroir.

From harvest to fermentation and through elevage, Stephane works to preserve fruit, freshness and terroir expression. Grapes are picked early in the morning, often before sunrise, and each parcel is vinified separately to maintain terroir specificity. Wines ferment with indigenous yeast, and all vineyard and cellar work follows the lunar calendar. The always charming Entre Deux Mers VV Blanc is aged on its lees in tank over the winter before bottling in the spring. The old vine parcellaire Madlys Blanc, a wine which earned Stephane the reputation of being somewhat of a white wine specialist, is fermented and aged in 400L demi-muids, only 10% of which are new. For the Bordeaux Superier VV Rouge, fermentations are cool, maceration lasts about two weeks, and ageing occurs in 400L demi-muids in an effort to minimize the juice to oak ratio. Stephane's wines stand out for their complexity, texture, and endless pleasure, especially at such value-driven price points. These delicious wines over-deliver year in and year out!