Chateau du Cros and the Wines of Famille Boyer
Chateau du Cros is the main property of Famille Boyer and is located in the small Bordeaux appellation of Loupiac. The commune of Loupiac is located between Cadillac and Ste Croix de Mont on the right bank of the Garonne river directly opposite the famous sweet wine growing left bank appellations of Barsac and Sauternes.
Famille Boyer own a small collection of three petites chateaux – Chateau du Cros in Loupiac, Chateau Haut Mayne in Cérons and Chateau Clos Bourbon in Paillet. They produce 14 different wines across six different wine growing appellations. The Boyer family acquired Chateau de Cros in 1921 when Francois Thévenot bought the property from Comte de la Chassaige. The current director and winemaker is his great granddaughter Catherine d’Halluin Boyer, the 4th generation to run the family vineyards, taking over from her father, Michel Boyer, in 2004. She is ably assisted by her husband Thibault d’Halluin and her brother Henri.
The name Chateau du Cros is pronounced “Croz” and not “Cro” as one might expect. It was once owned by a Scotsman called Cross and sometime, long ago, lost an ‘s’. The name is pronounced “Croz” to reflect the original Cross and to differentiate the name from a local name for a type of mustard!
Chateau du Cros
The Cros vineyard is located in Loupiac 40kms to the south of Bordeaux and consists of some 60 hectares of vines surrounding the medieval Chateau du Cros. The medieval Chateau was inhabited until 1940 but was partly destroyed in World War 2 and has since fallen in ruin. The remains are perched atop a hill which is the highest point to view the Garonne in the Gironde. The family have a very rare, single plot of Semillon vines planted here that are 107 years old.
The soils here have a high proportion of limestone which helps to produce wines with good acidity. The vineyards are located only 80 metres from the Garonne River where it converges with the Cirons. The confluence of the two rivers creates a thermal shock resulting in very misty conditions from August through to October – the ideal conditions for the Botrytis Cinerea or Noble Rot that helps to concentrate the aromas and sweetness in the grapes for sweet wine production.
Loupiac is, of course, famous for its sweet wines and these are bottled as AOC Loupiac whilst other wines produced here are bottles as Bordeaux Rouge, Blanc and Rosé and Cotes de Bordeaux.
This wine is a blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Semillon. In the 1970s, this particular wine was one of the first white Bordeaux Sauvignons to be aged on the lees, which is now normal practice. Aged in stainless steel.
Tasting Notes (2013 vintage)
The Chateau du Cros Sauvignon is delicate and aromatic with floral, citrus, cut grass aromas and good mineral character. The palate is bold with hints of melon, quince, herbaceous notes and lemon and lime. Well-structured with good acidity. A great aperitif and an ideal wine match for oysters and other seafood.
The Loupiac really is the star of the show here. It is a blend of 90% Semillon, 5% Sauvignon and 5% Muscadelle. The grapes are harvested by hand with a team of around 50 pickers making two to four selections depending on the vintage. The wine is aged for 12 months in oak barrels, 30% of which are new.
Tasting Notes (2009)
Chateau du Cros Loupiac has a brilliant, light golden yellow colour. The nose is complex and aromatic with aromas of peach, apricot, citrus, acacia and a slight hint of toasty oak. The palate is very sweet but with good acidity so that the wine is not cloying. There are toasty oak notes from the barrel ageing but the palate is dominated by apricot and plum with some candied, honey character beginning to develop. It has a very long, lingering finish with great subtlety and elegance.
Chateau du Cros Loupiac can be kept for 15 to 30 years and develops much more candied, marmalade character as it ages. This makes a superb aperitif or dessert wine. It is traditionally served with foie gras or blue cheeses but can equally be served with roast chicken or desserts. A very versatile food wine.
Chateau du Cros Loupiac is also available in half-bottles.
Chateau Haut Mayne
The family own 18 hectares of vineyards 35kms to the south of Bordeaux in Cerons in the heart of the Graves region around Mayne d’Anis. These were bought by Michel Boyer in 1971. The vineyards here are characterised by the typical gravelly soils of Graves with large pebbles with sandy / limestone subsoil.
Wines produced here are bottled as Graves Blanc and Rouge and Graves Superieres.
This wine is a 50/50 blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc that is fermented in 30% new barrels. The wine is then aged in French oak barrels until the May / June following harvest followed by another 12 months in bottle prior to release.
Tasting Notes (2013 Vintage)
Cuvée Mayne du Cros Graves Blanc is a good, straw yellow colour. The nose has aromas of lemon-citrus, floral blossom, acacia and toasted notes. The palate is complex, full and round with a powerful and long finish. A great match for asparagus, fish dishes and goat’s cheese.
Chateau Clos Bourbon
Located in Paillet in the little known appellation of Cadillac Cotes de Bordeaux this 18th century estate has been the personal property of Catherine and her husband Thibault since 1994. Located 30kms to the south of Bordeaux overlooking the Garonner, the entire vineyard is surrounded by a medieval stone wall. The vineyard is situated on a mound of clay / limestone soil. The 13 hectares of vines are 26 years old.
The wine produced here is bottled as AOC Cadillac Cotes de Bordeaux (previously 1ere Cotes de Bordeaux).
This wine is a blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. After harvest the grapes undergo a pre-fermentation maceration. Alcoholic fermentation takes place in stainless steel, followed by malolactic fermention, followed by 12 months ageing in oak barrels. Production around 22,000 bottles per vintage.
Tasting notes (2010 vintage)
Cuvée La Rose Bourbon is a good, clear purple / red colour. The nose is spicy with red fruit notes and a hint of oak. The medium-bodied palate is full of plummy red fruit and raspberries with some spicy, peppery notes. A well-structured, round and fruity wine with soft tannins and a touch of toasty oak on the finish. A great match for grilled meats or hard cheeses.