a story to be told
With such material and the expert understanding of its potential, six wines are created: 2 reds, 2 whites, sparkling whites and rosés.
Each is created as a unique and decisive expression of character and commitment. Genuine as the claim cannot be any more straightforward, and true as the guiding philosophy, the ethos is one.
Red and white varieties are present jointly within parcels as should be, and each is destined to improve as finer understanding and experience set in. Each needs expressing and holds great promise. Château Leroy-Beauval has decidedly chosen quality over yield.
A reasoned viticulture:
an imperative yield management
By enacting a respectful approach to the living, the Estate has committed itself to a continuous improvement program and has established the relevant Environmental Management System (EMS).
Which is why it decided to ban all chemical pesticides and herbicides potentially endangering the soils’ superficial microbiology as well as their chemical equilibriums. Natural treatments are preferred for the vineyard renewed vitality, plant, animal and human health as well.
New winegrowing initiatives inspired by biodynamics rely mainly on sustainable growing techniques, such as those used generation upon generation in order to pass down their land in as good a state as that they themselves found it in.
An eco-friendly approach
Because it chose a sustainable development, Château Leroy-Beauval is now able to further pursue an eco-responsible policy.
In the near future, the cellar will enjoy the benefits of solar panel electricity generation, and true to biodynamics, viticultural waste receives optimal treatmentby integrating waste water management.
This way, being certified under the newHigh Environmental Value label (HVE) for farming which aims at bringing together and promoting more durable operations, will attest to our commitment in the matter.
A step-by-step development
In prioritizing quality over quantity, Château Leroy-Beauval has already made clear its goal of elevating its wines as to be amongst the most prestigious in its appellation.
The 2014 vintage of the Domaine’s top wine will be a Bordeaux Supérieur, with the second wine following suite in 2015.
Careful but strict implementation of the recommendations issued in accordance with the soils and undersoils study results, will see a steady increase in Sauvignon Blanc across the board, and Cabernet Franc in the parcels where it is most likely to achieve the optimal maturation. This last point is all the more important that Cabernet Franc is an essential component of higher end wines.
And the domain could still surprise us, so potent is its terroir.
a diamond in the rough
As the chateau was enjoying a full scale restoration under Stéphanie and Alexandre’s watchful guidance, they soon turned their attention to the estate proper and its winemaking. Indeed, returning Chateau Beauval to its former glory is by no means sufficient. The winemaking potential needs to be ascertained and acted upon. The domain’s vineyard is an 18 parcel strong mosaic spanning 75 hectares, 6 grape varietals… and a 60 meter declivity. A nightmare or a blessing. It all depends on what lies underneath.
Soils are scrutinized and fully inventoried: no less than 200 drillings are undertaken on the Estate in order to understand the true nature and composition of its soil and undersoil.
And the results are clear: the domain is endowed with a splendid variety of calcareous clay soils, the likes of which are only found in the best right bank terroirs. The owners and their consultants are astounded: a hidden treasure lies beneath their feet.
Accordingly, a complete reorganization of the winegrowing operation is initiated and planting rethought from scratch. Choice of varietals and corresponding parcels are carefully weighted. Overall, 27 of the 46 hectares presently planted will be pulled within the next 2 years and replanted in order to closely match the underlying strata. By the end of the process, 40 years old vines will side with freshly planted ones.
50 hectares will be cultivated following eco responsible guidelines and viticultural commonsense. Wines will be created from grapes coming from different parcels, vinified separately then assembled. A Terra Vitis Certification, attesting our environmentally friendly processes and sustainability, is under way.
Ever since the first Magdalenian settlements dating back 15 thousand years, this land has lived to the rhythm of cultures and regimes as they evolved, met and ebbed.
Be it gauls or romans, the Church or Nobility, generation after generation, humans worked and lived and tended the land. It is this special alchemy that lends its strength to the concept of terroir. It goes beyond the mere ecological conditions present. It is a deep rooted link between land and dweller. An almost symbiotic arrangement between the careful steward and the land itself.
The story and history of Château Leroy-Beauval cannot be separated from either the land or its owners and the times they shared.
Having fallen in love with the Estate and its architectural quality, Stéphanie and Alexandre Leroy launched into a full blown renovation, devoted to return it to its former glory. Château Beauval was to be born anew if it was to be christened Château Beauval-Leroy.
Yet, as they were to find out, the greatest treasures often lie where they are least expected. Indeed, as they set out to make the Estate whole again, they soon turned their attention to the land itself.
A few years ago, when savvy entrepreneurs and siblings from the North of France Stéphanie and Alexandre Leroy saw the Estate, they fell in love. Imagine a refined late 18th century country manor typical of the Bordeaux region set in gorgeous surroundings.
They launched into a full renovation of Chateau Beauval, the lovely Chartreuse they had acquired, eager to both preserve architectural heritage and natural setting, attentive to stone and twig as it were.
Unknowingly they were but the latest in a long line of stewards of this most blessed land.
Indeed, when 15000 years ago Magdalenians honed their stone knives on the edge of the small promontory overlooking the Dordogne valley, little did they know they would initiate the long line of humans having shared this land and its bounty throughout History.
Thirteen millennia later, the Bituriges Vivisques gauls would do the same and start dealing with the Roman Empire.
Consul Ausonius would describe, several centuries on, the view he had of those same wooded hills and boast of vineyards and wines on his right bank villa at Lucaniacus.
The small village of Cameyrac, sitting today on that hill, would have seen the roman road from Burdigala (today's Bordeaux) to Vesunna (Perigueux), the roman villas around and the river traffic they entailed.
But Cameyrac wouldn't come to be before the high Middle Ages, when the Church pushed for new land to be developed where the wild had replaced the dying Gallo-Roman civilization.
Fields and churches, mills and dwellings clustered or singled themselves out. Saint-Cyr de Cameyrac parish came into existence. Wine was in great demand and fetched very handsome prices, both in France and abroad.
The domain lands were born, but not Chateau Beauval. That would take a few more owning families, centuries and the estate consolidation of one of Montesquieu's grand-nephews: Laurent de Loyac, Lord of Beauval. He did so in 1780, building his Chartreuse where it sits to this day and giving it its proper name, as in French Beauval means Beautiful Vale...
The French Revolution came, Saint-Cyr de Cameyrac parish became the Commune de Cameyrac and Laurent de Loyac was guillotined and the Estate changed yet hands again. But the land remained.
Then Cameyrac itself disappeared as it was united to neighboring Saint Sulpice to form today's Commune of St Sulpice et Cameyrac. The date was June 12, 1812. And who better than Emperor Napoleon the 1rst to come in person to sign the decree?
But as with all things human, the Empire came to pass and a new revolution brewed. Chateau Beauval had seen changes as well. New owners with a predilection for game hunting. Winegrowing was ignored for a while, but came back on strong as the second half of the 19th century came to be.
And the land remained. Full of promises.
And so it met a benefactor. Oh, his name won't be familiar, but he truly was a most modern man. In fact, some call him the original French ecologist as he has turned Paris into a green city. His name is Jean- Charles Adolphe Alphand. He can rightfully be credited with giving life to both Napoleon III and Baron Haussmann's dreams: a new Paris, but a greener one. Just think: Champs Elysées and Trocadero Gardens, Monceau, Buttes-Chaumont and Montsouris parks, Bois de Vincennes and Boulogne. And not just Paris. He also created famed Borely Park in Marseille...just to mention a few, and renovated completely Chateau Beauval with a keen eye on all things green and visual perspectives.
And so we have come full circle, as his inheritors passed on their stewardship to no other than Stéphanie and Alexandre.
And still the land awaits. Indeed, for they themselves do not know how blessed it is. Not yet that is.