Welcome to Château de Sours
Situated high up on a commanding limestone plateau just to the south-west of Libourne and Pomerol and facing St. Emilion, Château de Sours has been producing extraordinarily good wine for over 200 years. Today, our winemakers continue to blend the traditional rigour and craftsmanship of the region with a modern creative approach that produces some of Bordeaux's most respected red and white wines, and is leading a renewed global interest in top class rosÉ.
Hospitality at Château de Sours comes with the same warmth and care that characterises our approach to wine. A stay at the Château taps you directly into the heart of the region's history, culture and cuisine.
Our vines have an average age of 40 years, producing the modest quantities of intensely flavoured fruit necessary for our premium wines. They are close-planted to ensure deeper root growth and rigorously tended by hand throughout the year. Regular de-leafing and green-harvesting helps concentrate the character of the 'terroir' into the best fruit.
All of the fruit used to make Chateau de Sours wines is grown on the surrounding property, with the following grapes used to create our distinctive vintages:
With deliciously plummy flavour and mellow tannins, Merlot is responsible for much of the appeal of red wines from the St. Emilion area and is the backbone of our premium reds at Chateau de Sours. Taking exceptionally well to the terroir of the Entre deux Mers area, the grapes ripen early and easily, delivering fruitcake-like flavour, which develops blackcurrant, blackberry, blueberry, chocolate and spice-like characters.
Cabernet Sauvignon encompasses a broad range of potential flavours; with ripening bringing blackcurrant and even cassis flavours, and cedar, vanilla and coffee notes. Our exacting standards mean that only the finest, perfectly ripened Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are added to Chateau de Sours' premium reds.
A distant relative of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc delivers complex fragrance and wonderfully perfumed raspberry and blackcurrant flavours to Chateau de Sours' red wines.
The richness and body of Semillon grapes provide a wonderful balance to aromatic Sauvignon Blanc fruit, and deliver excellent dry white flavours when grown on the terroir of the Chateau de Sours region.
The famously rich, smoky, aromatic flavours of this versatile grape are combined with Semillon to add rich, fresh flavours to Chateau de Sours' finest white wines.
Petit Verdot ripens much later than the other varieties in Bordeaux, often too late, but when it does ripen, it is fabulous and is added in small amounts to add tannin, colour and flavour to the blend. When young its aromas have been likened to banana and pencil shavings. Strong tones of violet and leather develop as it matures.
Chateau de Sours originally dates back to the 14th century, when it served as an inn on the 'St. Jacques de Compostelle' pilgrimage route to Northern Spain. The current house was built in 1792 by the Comtes du Richemont, who survived the French Revolution and subsequently renovated the property and planted its first vines.
Chateau de Sours has now once again been renovated and restored to it's former glory by proprietors Martin and Nicolette Krajewski. It produces a fine wine range of excellent wines that have won much praise around the world. Under Martin's invitation, some of Bordeaux's leading oeneologists have worked with Chateau de Sours to produce wines that that are acclaimed the world over.
Our property is overseen by our team whose considerable experience perfectly blends old-world disciplines with new world techniques.
Our Vineyard Philosophy
Chateau de Sours is a 80 hectare property carefully planted in high density with young and old Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot vines for our red wines and Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon vines for our white wines. We have an exceptional 'terroir' surrounding the Chateau of thin soil over a deep limestone base, which produces great wines of complex and concentrated fruit flavours balanced by great mineral complexity and charm. In other areas of the property, the vines are planted on deep soil and clay which are more suited to the production of aromatic and fruit driven wines that offer a fresher and modern style for easy and early drinking. In the vineyard, we work on a block by block basis according to the age and condition of the vines, the seasonal requirements and the great 'terroir' that exists here on our gently sloping and south facing vineyards. We have re-introduced grass seeding within the rows and we manage the estate in a way that allows us to protect the environment, using only sustainable products and techniques. We also work in a way that protects and enhances our crop production and the quality of our fruit through the careful management and adjustment of the canopy and by de-budding, crop thinning or 'green harvesting' and by de-leafing, all only as required.
The Chateau de Sours winery lies at the heart of the vineyard and the estate operation. Its steel cuves and new oak barrels are the setting for the crucial first steps in a wine's development. During the harvest, from mid-September to mid-October, the process of natural breakdown and cold fermentation begins as freshly harvested fruit is transferred to the cuves.
As the wines mature, they are carefully and regularly tasted and tested to calculate the precise blends that will create the year's vintages. We macerate our red fruit using a process known as 'SaignÉe' which involves running off the juice from our finest grapes to intensify the flavour and complexity of our boutique aged reds.
The bottling of each year's production of approximately 40,000 cases is carried out at The Chateau, as is the labelling and packaging, ensuring that we retain total quality control of the entire process.
The limestone caves beneath the vineyard are one of Chateau de Sours' great natural advantages and play a crucial role in the development of each vintage. Like the labyrinth of tunnels below St. Emilion, they owe their existence to 18th century stoneworkers, who quarried their materials from below the region's limestone plateaux.
The stone that was hacked by hand from these twisting tunnels can now be seen in the famous towers of St. Emilion and the walls of Chateau de Sours itself. Today, the caves make an atmospheric location for wine tasting sessions, as well as a perfect, naturally temperature-controlled storage facility for maturing red wines. The bottles and barrels containing 'La Source' and Chateau de Sours Rouge are aged here in perfect, undisturbed conditions.
Chateau de Sours ensures the quality of its wines by concentrating the natural advantages of the vineyard into a relatively small annual production of red, white and rosÉ wines and our 'Reserve de Sours' sparkling rosÉ.
We produce three Red, White and RosÉ wines, each made through a blend of traditional rigour and innovative new-world flair, whilst our 'Reserve de Sours' Sparkling RosÉ is produced using the method champenoise secondary fermentation in bottle, followed by 14 to 16 months on the lees, before the final disgorgement.
Our premium aged La Source and Chateau de Sours vintages receive regular critical acclaim; whilst our Chateau de Sours rosÉ wine is often proclaimed the best in the world.
2009 Harvest Notes
The year started well with good rainfall and some cold sharp frosts but March then turned to sunshine with temperatures slightly above average. May initially brought fine weather with summery temperatures, but then a series of violent hailstorms occurred and we lost 35% of our estimated crop in just one night. However, by the end of May the '?owering' was well under way and July and August also brought high temperatures and long sunshine hours with the good weather flowing into September. We commenced harvest of the Semillon on 1st September, which is 7/10 days earlier than usual and finally finished the last of the reds on Saturday 10th October. In short I can only describe 2009 as a sensational vintage.
2008 Harvest Notes
2008 started with a prolonged cold spell and even some late frost but when the good weather finally arrived in early July it was hot and sunny until August when the weather was variable. However, the subsequent and prolonged 'Indian Summer' allowed us to wait for all of the fruit to ripen properly. During year, the vine's growth cycle and the grapes ripening process had to adapt to constantly changing weather conditions and large differences between day and night time temperatures, but this also encouraged the synthesis of aromas for the white grapes and produced a very successful vintage. The red fruit was also excellent, with thick skins that were rich in pigments and tannins.
2007 Harvest Notes
2007 was a successful vintage for our Chateau de Sours wines. The weather in April was warm, followed by an extremely early bud burst and a successful flowering in May. However the conditions were more challenging from late May to August, but brilliant sunshine, cool mornings and warm days throughout September provided perfect conditions and produced excellent fruit.
2006 Harvest Notes
The 2006 growing season started perfectly with the usual, but welcomed rain in February and March to replenish the depleted water table. April was warm and sunny, producing luxurious foliage in the vineyard, followed by an even bud burst and perfect flowering in late May and early June. May continued mainly sunny and dry, producing just enough rain, whilst June and July were exceptional months, with high temperatures reaching the late 30'sC in July and providing magnificent growing conditions. In late July we made our first pass through the vines thinning the crop and in mid August we removed the leaf cover on the north side of the vineyard and in the first week of September, most of the cover on the south side to aid ripening. At the same time, we also passed through the vines a second time to further reduce the yields, dropping one bunch in every three September started as August finished, cool with a little rain, but then from Sunday 3rd onwards the weather conditions improved dramatically with a welcomed return to glorious weather. We finally picked the Merlot and Cabernet Franc for this wine on 28/29th September in warm and sunny conditions.
2005 Harvest Notes
A near perfect growing season from bud burst in early April, through a very successful flowering in June and a dry, sunny and warm ripening period without disease. The harvest commenced on 5th September and was finished before the end of the month. This will be a great vintage year. Our reds grapes were totally ripe and picked at 13 degrees plus - yields were 20% down on 2004 but the flavour and concentration superb. Our white grape yield was similarly down - the wines though will be very good indeed.
2004 Harvest Notes
The 2004 growing season was about 2 weeks later than in 2003. The flowering was completely successful and likely to produce a larger than average crop. We therefore 'green harvested' about 40% of the La Source crop in early July and a further 10% in early August reducing our yield to 35hl/ha and ensuring maximum quality for the remaining fruit.
The La Source grapes were picked and hand-sorted in the last week of September in perfect condition. We ran off 25% of the juice prior to fermenting the wine for 10 days at 28C. The wine then underwent 20 days of maceration before going into new French Oak barrels.
Our Wine Makers
Our team of winemakers at Chateau de Sours combine traditional 'old world' rigour and craftsmanship with a blend of innovative techniques and 'new world' charm.
In this respect, Florent Dumeau and Xavier ChonÉ very much share our vision and their global experience accurately reflects Bordeaux's new wave of dynamic young Oenologists.
They have considerable vineyard management and winemaking skills, having worked in more than a dozen different countries around the world. A stay at Chateau de Sours gives you the chance to meet these experts face-to-face.
Martin Krajewski / Owner and Proprietor
Martin made his first elderberry wine aged 14 and although the results were not quite as expected, the dream was born. Since then he has collected fine wines from around the world, with the strong emphasis on Bordeaux, where his true passion lies.
A founding partner of Firth Ross Martin Associates, in 1983 he went on to build the firm into one of the UK's leading specialist Executive Search Practices.
Then in 1988 he led the Management Team responsible for the foundation of the Blomfield Group and subsequently became Group Chief Executive with responsibility for the strategic development and growth of the firm and its subsidiaries. He has been involved with Chateau de Sours since 1997 - joining the Board in 2003 and becoming Proprietor in 2004.
Today he spends most of his time in Bordeaux, working closely with Edouard, Catherine and Valerie, and overseeing the further investment, development and expansion of the Estate. He is also the owner of Clos Cantenac, Grand Cru in St Emilion and was a founding director of Songlines Estates in Australia.
Xavier ChonÉ / Consultant
Xavier is an expert in vineyard evaluation and management. This includes soils and sites expertise for the establishment of vineyards from scratch, vineyard redevelopment, water deficit management with irrigation and the adaptation of vineyard architecture to best take advantage of local soil and climatic characteristics.
He studied Oenology at Bordeaux University and completed his Doctorate in 2001. Since then Xavier has consulted for many prestigious vineyards around the world, including Chateau d'Yquem in Bordeaux, OPUS ONE, Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Dominus Estate in the Napa Valley, Mondavi Corporation and Roederer Estates.
During his PhD, he worked at Leoville Las Cases, Cheval Blanc and Haut Brion in Bordeaux. Xavier has also been consulting for many years in Chile (Colchagua Valle), Spain and South Africa, as well as Chateauneuf du Pape, Bourgogne and Champagne in France.
Florent Dumeau / Consultant
Florent studied Oenology at Bordeaux University and has since worked for many leading properties around the world, including Gallo in USA, Penfolds in Australia, Montana in New Zealand, Boschendal in South Africa, La CVNE in Spain, Ginestet in Bordeaux and Chateau Taillefer in Pomerol.
Florent was formerly the Technical Director of SARCO Laboratories in Bordeaux and has extensive experience of wine making and vineyard management, as well as considerable expertise as consultant in France, Italy, Greece, Hungary, Spain, South Africa, Turkey and China.
Valerie Valmy / Maitre du Chais
Valerie graduated from the University of Wine Bordeaux in 1997 and was recognised through the award of a special annual prize for her dissertation on 'fermentation'. She also studied at the Applied Research Institute of Bordeaux wine.
She joined the team at Chateau de Sours in June 2009 as Head of Wine Making and had previously worked for other Bordeaux properties including Vignobles Despagne and Cave de Romagne. Valerie also has a passion for the technical development of sparkling wines.
Eduoard le Grix de la Salle / Chef du Culture
Eduoard was born into a family of wine makers rooted for generations in Bordeaux and his passion for his chosen career, 'this wonderful job' as he describes it, came naturally. After two years of studying viticulture and oenology, he graduated as engineer in agriculture at ENITA de Bordeaux in 2006.
During his studies he also undertook work placements at Domaine de Chevalier, Grand Cru ClassÉ de Graves and also at Clos Mogador, one of the best Bodega's in Priorat in Spain. In 2006 he contributed to the wine making on the family property, and then in 2007 went to do vintage at Backsberg Estate in South Africa.
Catherine Burbaud-Jouclard / Finance & Administration
Catherine first studied law at the University of Bordeaux and initially intended to follow a commercial career in the pharmaceutical industry. However In 1999, she decided to seek a change in direction as she was passionate about the world of wine and cross-trained in Bordeaux wine history, administration, accounting, oenology and regulations.
In 2000, Catherine joined the team at Chateau de Sours where she now works as part of the management team, with specific responsibility for the many and varied aspects surrounding the day to day financial and regulatory administration of the property.
Wine Making Calendar
Wine production is a year-round process; whether it's the hand-tending and pruning of vines, the tasting and blending of developing vintages, or the opportunity to explore the growing vineyard during glorious summer months, there's always something to see at Chateau de Sours.
The process of wine development begins as the vines are carefully pruned to ensure that they have the best shape and that the number of arms and buds will be limited to what we require. The old shoots are removed from the vines and bundled up and burnt or discarded.
This is the time to find us bottling the first batches of the new rosÉ vintage from the previous year's harvest and preparing the many new orders for collection by our agents and merchants from around the world. The pruning also continues through February and is completed in early March.
Time to prepare the soil for new plantings and for ploughing in between the rows to remove the grass that has grown in early spring. We continue to bottle the rose and start to service all of the vineyard machinery and equipment ready for another growing season.
The vineyard bursts back to life with new growth in the vines, but this is a critical period for us as 'frost damage' is now possible if temperatures drop below -2°C with some risk until mid to late May.
The new growth is now vigorous and we start the 'green works' removing the unwanted new shoots to concentrate the energy into the branches left after careful pruning. We also do the first 'levage' pulling up the wires to raise the branches and to keep them growing straight which improves handling later in the season.
The flowering occurs in late May or early June and we now need sun, warmth and a little light breeze to ensure successful and even pollenation of the young fruit. After the flowering is finished we will have a good idea of the potential size of the crop and how much 'green harvesting' will be required.
The vines are 'green harvested' to concentrate the energy of the plants into the remaining bunches of grapes. In years of vigorous growth and a large crop, this may be repeated later on the year, reducing the bunches to increase the quality of the remaining fruit.
The first 'effeuillage' is completed, the canopy on the east side of the vines is trimmed back to expose the grapes to the sun, but the foliage on the other side is left to protect the fruit from the strong afternoon sun. During the final month of the growing cycle, the leaves on the west side are removed to give better aeration, help avoid humidity and rot and to allow the sun to fully ripen the fruit. A final 'green harvest' may also be performed.
The realisation of the winemaking year. In early September, the grapes begin to ripen and we check the fruit every 2 days to decide when to commence the harvest. Harvesting a few days early or late can spoil the whole year's efforts.
The grapes are now analysed daily for acidity and sugar levels, and most importantly for taste to determine the balance, the tannins and the flavours. Finally, when we are ready to start, our team of 50 or more 'vendagers' gather at the property and we commence another vintage.
The harvest carries on through well into October, we continue to handpick with some machine harvesting of the younger vines. The grapes are carried from the vineyard in small baskets onto tractor trailers and then driven to the winery, where they are macerated and fermented over the tannin-rich skins.
The winemaking process continues with the cuves and barrels being checked and tended several times a day to ensure that everything is progressing correctly and that the temperatures and fermentation of the wines are carefully controlled.
The end of another year at Chateau de Sours and the younger vintages are already nearing completion. However, the juice for our Chateau wines is still another 18 months from bottling, whilst the production cycle for 'La Source' is over 3 years.
Visiting the Château
Throughout the year, visitors are welcome to experience the superior craftsmanship and attention to detail that distinguish both winemaking and hospitality at Chateau de Sours.
Our 3-bedroom cottage with its own pool, makes a superb base for exploring the stunning landscapes, enchanting castles and rich cultural history of Bordeaux. A luxuriously appointed apartment is also available and a lovely 2 bedroom self contained cootage is also available within the courtyard.
The culture of creativity at the Chateau goes beyond innovative winemaking, and art and cookery courses are being developed to tap visitors further into the traditions of the region.
The Art of Chateau de Sours
The beautiful natural surroundings of Bordeaux have long supported a thriving artistic community, with the town itself a major centre for opera, ballet, and the visual arts.
We often have a celebrated British or European artist 'in residence' during the summer. For several weeks every year we open up the doors to the Chateau and Gallery to allow our visitors to embrace and savour the work of many leading and famous British Abstract Artists whose paintings hang on our walls.
Where to buy our Wines
Our current release wines are available directly from the Property and also through the following Wine Merchants and distributors around the world.
Welcome to the Chateau de Sours media centre; where you can access the latest news and press releases from the Chateau, as well as downloads of bottle and label shots of all of the wines.
- "La Source red is full of confected black cherries and jammy, juicy fruit. So much pure unadulterated blackcurrant on the palate with restrained oak use. Outstanding." Decanter Magazine
- "We ate sitting outside a little cottage in west Sligo, drank some Chateau de Sours white, and time stood still." The Irish Times
- "Ripe fruit with aromas of blackcurrants and a touch of stalky tannins make this a classic Bordeaux. Richemont red is firm, juicy and ready to drink now, just crying out for a good steak to go with it." Wine Enthusiast
- "La Source white 2008 is a tangy, grown up dry white bordeaux that is already starting to open up and it's well balanced and bone dry." Jancis Robinson
- "Chateau de Sours red flows purple when poured, with a gigantic taste as concentrated as any Grand Cru." The Spectator
- "The UK's favourite rose is back with a bang this year, silkier and more succulent than ever. The colour is an other-worldly scarlet and the bottle appears to shine like some emergency tonic that relieves all conditions. It's the decathlete of the rose world." Money Week
- "Reserve de Sours Sparkling Rose is a fine blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, with a second fermentation in bottle and 16 months on the lees. Plenty of crushed raspberries make for a lively crowd pleaser at an amazing price." House & Garden Magazine
Martin Krajewski / Proprietor
Catherine Burband-Jouclard / Accounting Manager
Florence Larrey / Commercial Assistant
Directions / From Bordeaux
Cross the river from the quays on the Pont St Jean (near the railway station). After 1km take the right fork to Bergerac - D936 - continue for approx 24kms to St Quentin De Baron. Stay on the main road though the village and turn left just after the swimming pool shop - before the Shell garage. Follow the small road for 800 metres - Chateau de Sours will be in front of you.
Directions / From Airport
Follow 'toutes directions' and then take the 'Rocade' ring road - direction Arcachon/Toulouse. Stay on the Rocade crossing the river until exit 24 direction Bergerac. Turn right onto the D936. Continue for 20kms to St Quentin De Baron. Stay on the main road though the village and turn left just after the swimming pool shop - before the Shell garage.
SCEA Chateau de Sours 33750 Saint-Quentin-de-Baron, France Tel / +33 (0)5 57 24 10 81 Fax/ +33 (0)5 57 24 10 83