The Chloé Grandpierre Column no13
Château Lafon-Rochet
Red and pink wines from the 'yellow pearl’ in Saint-Estèphe

Château Lafon-Rochet, one of the ten Fourth Growths in the 1855 Bordeaux Wine Classification, is located in Saint Estèphe in the north of the Médoc. From Bordeaux it's a bit like going to the other side of the world to bring back pearls! Be brave it’s worth it.

The property is one of the most enjoyable in the Médoc having a most distinctive presentation with its yellow label, reminiscent of a beautiful cultured golden pearl. The Château takes its name from the small chapel located on the property known as ‘The Pilgrims of Lafon-Rochet’ (Les Pélerins de Lafon-Rochet).

I've always loved the golden pearls from Australia. There's something very cute and at the same time mystical in pearls. It's a bit how I feel with the Château Lafon-Rochet. I have a bottle in my cellar yet to be tasted. The label and its colour are so original; the domaine is attractive; the château itself is really pretty.

It was not only for the well-known red wine that I had ventured out of Bordeaux. First it was the opportunity to taste Château Lafon-Roset, the rosé wine of Château Lafon-Rochet. My tasting notes were: light salmon colour akin to a rosé from Provence; nose - fresh citrus with hints of acacia; palate - fresh with a slight yet pleasant sweetness, notes of grapefruit and peach.

You may feel that this article is different from previous ones. Actually, I chose not to go into the history of the Château (dating from the 17th century) or the excellent wine (only 200,000 bottles of red produced under the guidance of the former head of Pétrus, Jean-Claude Berrouet) as I wanted to talk about this visit and my encounter with its owner.

All the elements for wine tourism to be a success are found at this property. Despite rain on the day of my visit, the view of the vineyard was very soothing: the mist that rises from the earth; the beauty of the park; the small chapel that overlooks the whole place; the bright yellow facade of the château; the wines under glass bells like diamonds in their chests. I haven't been in such a place for a long time - where quality is synonymous with simplicity.

Besides the pleasant environment I had the great honour of meeting owner, Michel Tesseron. A real character, Michel Tesseron is a personality. To inherit and develop a renowned wine property such as Lafon-Rochet you have to have a head on your shoulders whilst at the same time having it in the clouds (in the sense that you have to dream). In 1999 he took over managing the estate and set about making his mark. It was his bold decision to repaint the château with its now famous sunflower yellow walls. Recently he did not hesitate to hand over the operational reins to his son Basile having judged the time right to take a back seat.

So to conclude ...

Beautiful property, well maintained park, adorable dog (yes, there is a mastiff but he’s very sweet), impeccable cellars, compelling tasting of flagship St Estèphe wines from the Château (you understand this wine is excellent!) and a memorable encounter with the owner, his son and other senior members of the estate team. I was on a high … a multi-coloured one given the red, yellow and pink experience.

Chloé Cazaux Grandpierre
Chancelier Provincial, Bailliage Provincial of Aquitaine

Photos: © Chloé Cazaux Grandpierre & © Château Lafon-Rochet