Michel and Marie Noëlle Marengo embarked on the adventure of wine 40 years ago. Leaving Parisian life for the vineyards of Bordeaux, they set out to create the "best possible wine from the estate" under the name of Château Hourtin-Ducasse. Passionate and open-minded, it is with their own philosophy of wine that the couple offers the best of their vintage every year. Through the words of Marie Noëlle Marengo, let's go and meet these winegrowers.
It's a story that started 40 years ago: Michel Marengo wants to build a professional project with his father. Among various possibilities, they finally turned towards wine-growing and in 1976 they took over the Château Hourtin-Ducasse, in the commune of Saint Sauveur, bordering Pauillac.
"Wine is not at all our initial formation," confides Marie Noëlle. Michel was an engineer and she worked in advertising, but little by little they developed a taste for working with vines and wine. "A little over 15 years ago, we gave up everything we were doing elsewhere to focus solely on the vineyard".
Château Hourtin-Ducasse is a family estate of 25 Ha with 23Ha of vines, producing a Cru Bourgeois Haut-Médoc wine. In this project, the couple is surrounded by a team of 5 people and 7 children ... perhaps the new generation of winemakers?
The red wine of the Cru Bourgeois Haut-Médoc: "Only one objective, to make a success of this vintage. »
This is the particularity of the château: to produce a single vintage of red wine, the Château Hourtin-Ducasse, Cru Bourgeois Haut-Médoc, the best of what is made on the estate.Château Hourtin-Ducasse is the only wine we have to carry. We always start from a white base". The profile of the wine? "It is constructed according to the character of the vintage. We are really looking for the fruit ".
In order to ensure this quality objectively, the blending is carried out blindly. "There are no a priori rules of conduct". The tastings, which take place over several days, ensure that the best and most representative vintage is created. Once the blending has been carried out, the wine is aged in barrels for the time necessary according to the potential of the vintage to sublimate and accompany the fruit of the wine. "In general, it is between 12 and 17 months. Here again, there is no rule and it depends on the vintage".
Since 2013, half of the alcoholic fermentations are carried out in barrels. This technique allows to highlight the fruit, while avoiding pumping over too brutal for the wine. "With the 2013 vintage, we have the impression that we have sublimated the fruit, that we have densified it."
The result? They are fruity, concentrated and different wines depending on the vintage. "The vintages tell a different story every year. 2011, for example, is extremely mineral. That was his character, his thing, so it was built that way."
Even before the blending, work is done in the vines and on the land, the objective to have a good wine : a rich soil. "In our wines, we want to find the fruit, the grape that was outside.Borrowing techniques from Organic Agriculture and Biodynamics, Michel and Marie Noëlle reflect, try, observe and analyse different methods. "We're ready to try a lot of things. The idea is: what could allow us to make the best wine possible? "» . Some techniques are already working on the estate: treating the vines with essential oils and plant infusions, preserving biodiversity between the rows... others are under study, others are in the planning stage: "We're very keen to work with algae."
With a concern for the environment and the preservation of the richness of this renowned terroir, the Marengo couple is gradually advancing and building many projects: photovoltaic panels, terminals for electric cars.... "To make the best wine, we have the feeling that this is how we'll make the best progress."
You can meet Michel and Marie Noëlle Marengo on the estate, but also discover the wine Château Hourtin-Ducasse, Cru Bourgeois du Haut-Médoc, on Les Grappes : here !
Manon Mouly (for Les Grappes)
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