Château Sociando-Mallet is a 120-hectare property, including 83 hectares of vines, located in the heart of the Haut-Médoc appellation, in the commune of Saint-Seurin-Cadourne, north of Pauillac. The estate produces wines that are both powerful and elegant, with great ageing potential. It is undoubtedly one of the best wines of the Médoc, although it is neither a Cru Classé nor a Cru Bourgeois.
OWNER: Sylvie Gautreau
MANAGING DIRECTOR: François Hugueniot
CELLAR MASTER : Arnaud Durand
OENOLOGIST: Michel-Bernard Couasnon
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR : Vincent Faure
APPELLATION : Haut-Médoc
AREA OF VINEYARDS: 83 hectares
VINEYARD MANAGEMENT: Integrated farming
SOILS : Günzian gravel, clayey-limestone subsoil
AVERAGE AGE OF THE VINEYARD : 35 years
GRAPE VARIETIES: 54% Merlot, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc
VINEYARD SIZE: Double Guyot
DENSITY OF PLANTATION : 8 333 vines/ha
HARVESTING: Manual in small crates
VINIFICATION: Stainless steel and concrete thermo-regulated vats
MATURING : French oak barrels
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The story of Chateau Sociando-Mallet goes back to the 17th century, with a document referring to noble lands belonging to an aristocrat of Basque origin named Sociando. It was at this time that the wine-making activity began. In 1793, the vineyard was sold as national property and bought by Jean Lamothe. In 1831, Marie-Elisabeth Alaret, Lamothe's niece, married Achille Mallet who, according to custom, added his name to the estate which was then named Sociando-Mallet. The property remained in the family until 1878 and then passed through the hands of several owners.
The future of the château took a major turn when in 1969, Jean Gautreau discovered and was seduced by the property. Although it was in a poor state of repair, it offered a sublime panorama of the estuary, and he decided to acquire it immediately. The vineyard covered only 5 hectares at the time, the buildings were in poor condition, there was no cellar but only a small vat room and a garage. With the help of Gerard Clerc, a former employee of the chateau, Jean Gautreau made a decent first vintage and a magnificent second. Endowed with an exceptional terroir, he decided to enlarge the vineyard by buying vines from his neighbors and renovated the buildings, built a cellar and improved the grape varieties in order to produce great wines.
Today, following the death of Jean Gautereau in 2019, it is Sylvie, his daughter who continues to enhance the wines of the estate. She has been managing the property since 2015 and practices a viticulture close to nature, similar to her father's philosophy.
Château Sociando-Mallet is a 120-hectare property, including 83 hectares of vines, located in the commune of Saint-Seurin-Cadourne, north of Pauillac. Located on the Baleyron hillock, one of the most beautiful gravelly soils of the Medoc, its vineyard overlooks the Gironde estuary. This location allows the vines to benefit from an ideal exposure due to its sunshine and temperate climate. As for the terroir, it is made up of gravel with a deep clay-limestone subsoil. This allows the Cabernet Sauvignon to mature in excellent conditions and the Merlot to acquire depth and complexity in order to produce great wines.
Neither classified, nor bourgeois... Sociando-Mallet, quite simply
FROM THE VINE TO THE CELLAR
The work begins in the vineyard in winter with the maintenance of the soils which is done in a traditional way, with two annual operations, allowing to aerate the soils on the surface. From December to March, the vines are pruned in double guyot leaving only 6 to 8 buds per vine to control the yield. The dead vines are pulled out and replaced by new ones, as well as the damaged stakes and wires. In the spring, the pruning takes place. During this stage, the winegrowers manually remove the "pampres", undesirable branches growing on the old wood of the trunks and arms of the vine.
During the summer, the vine is lifted by hand to channel its growth. It is also pruned every 15 days and treated against diseases to preserve the quality of the harvest. Moreover, at Sociando-Mallet, there is no leaf stripping, because here the vine needs all its vegetation to produce sugars and enrich the grapes, while protecting them from the sun's burns, nor is there any removal of bunches, in order to respect the fruit and because the regulation is done only during the winter pruning. The harvest is done manually and in crates by the teams of the castle. They last about 3 weeks and the order of harvest depends on the grape varieties, the parcels and the age of the vines.
FROM THE CELLAR TO THE BOTTLE
Upon arrival at the winery, the grapes are sorted manually on a conveyor belt to eliminate leaves and damaged grapes. Then they are destemmed and crushed before being sent to the vats. When the grapes are put into vats, they are not mixed together, this is the parcel distinction. This will allow to vinify each quality of grape to its maximum potential. The youngest plots will produce the second wine, the best ones the Grand Vin and the others will wait for the tastings to decide their orientation.
The vinification is done in the traditional way with the indigenous yeasts and bacteria present on the grapes. The berries are put in vats for fermentation under the action of the yeasts. Daily pumping over will take place and the vatting will last between 25 and 30 days depending on the vats and the vintage. Then the wine is run off, during which the free-run wine is separated from the press wine. These wines are then put in vats to undergo malolactic fermentation, which allows the wine to gain in smoothness and balance.
The batches destined for the Grand Vin are put into new barrels for an ageing period of about 12 months. Those intended for the second wine are also aged in new barrels but for a quarter of the volume in order to preserve their fruitiness and suppleness. During the maturing process, the wine is racked twice a year by gravity and by the dodging, according to the ancestral method. At the château, in order to make the corks watertight, they surround them with dried reed leaves. The Grand Vin is aged for 18 months, while the second wine is aged for 15 months. The wine is not fined but only lightly filtered before bottling at the château in order to preserve its precious substance and its exceptional longevity.
The Grands Vins of the estate, Château Sociando-Mallet, are full-bodied wines with a beautiful deep, dark color. They have a complex bouquet, dominated by notes of black fruits, a touch of minerality and a fine woodiness. With age, these wines gain in complexity and harmony. They are characterized by their freshness and good length. It is a wine of long keeping, the great vintages can be enjoyed even after 30 years in the cellar.
La Demoiselle de Sociando-Mallet, is the second wine of the estate, taking its name from a species of dragonfly living in the Médoc. It is made from two types of plots: the youngest of the estate and those on the most clayey soils. The wine is mainly aged in vats, which allows to keep the freshness and the fruitiness of Merlot. It is an easy and pleasant wine to drink from its young years.
The estate also produces another cuvée, Jean Gautreau, a different vision of Sociando-Mallet with a different blend than the estate's main wine.