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Chateau Ampelia Cotes De Castillon

$204.51 / case(12)



The story of ampelia is about a meeting a challenge and a conviction. In 1996 three years before acquiring the lands of ampelia francois despagne inherited the grand corbin-despagne estate from his family making it the seventh generation of his family at the helm of this saint-emilion property. Francois then eagerly sought a new challenge and created a new vineyard -this time not in saint- emilion but in castillon – co;tes de bordeaux the bordering appellation. Ampelos the vine having scanned the castillon region francois despagne was drawn to a special location where the vines overlooked the plateau of saint-philippe d’aiguilhe at 110 metres altitude the highest point in the whole of the bordeaux area. Quickly convinced of the potential of this terroir and the possibility of making great wines in the castillon-co;tes de bordeaux appellation his mind was made up. In 1999 francois despagne alongside his wife murielle acquired around 5 hectares of vines there and from them they created their vineyard. They named it ampelia from the greek ampelos (the vine) a nod to their passion – ampelology and a fine tribute since the result was a grand vin made from a blend of plots of old vines. It’s not a cuvee” insists francois “it’s simply the optimal quality we can get from this terroir”. A personal challenge for francois despagne chateau ampelia was a real personal challenge. He comes from a long line of saint-emilion wine growers going back to the 17th century (and perhaps even earlier since the despagne family presence in the area can be traced back to the 15th century). The family has owned chateau grand corbin-despagne since 1812 and so francois despagne was able to draw on his experience there to apply the same high standards of vine-growing to the terroir of ampelia and develop a top quality growth in the area of castillon. However while grand corbin-despagne was an established family growth that had benefited from a savoir-faire passed down from generation to generation chateau ampelia on the other hand needed to start from scratch. Nothing existed at the property apart from the vines. Everything else had to be created. Cellars needed building a farm had to be set up and a wine had to be perfected in order to create a new story -the story of ampelia. The spirit of the terroir the wines of chateau ampelia offer the freshness and mineral character that come from the limestone soils of castillon in the co;tes de bordeaux where these wines thrive. They are even pleasant to drink young and can be very attractive for consumers who don’t like to wait for their bottles to age. From the pruning to the harvesting each necessary vineyard task (de-suckering de-budding removal of double shoots de-leafing crop thinning and shoot thinning) is performed in such a way that the highest quality grapes can be produced each year. “the common thread that runs through my work as a wine grower is anticipation respect and stability in order to make the best wine possible in each vintage ” says francois despagne who applies the same golden rules in each of his vineyards. “through careful observation and decision-making throughout the whole of the growing season i aim to produce a precise well-defined wine that respects its terroir and its identity.” throughout every stage of the growing season francois despagne demonstrates a deep respect for the terroir and its identity. Constantly attached to his land he even chose to begin converting his vineyard in 2010 to certified organic status -a choice that reinforced his commitment to quality and high standards of vine growing. Quality and uncompromising standards: from the harvesting to the bottling before the harvest the berries are sampled on the vine firstly by tasting and then by laboratory analysis. This enables us to determine when they will be perfectly ripe and ready to pick. While being manually harvested the bunches are sorted in the vineyard. They are then sorted again at the cellars before being de-stemmed. The berries of the batches brought in from the vineyard’s different plots are transferred to the cellars into 6 temperature-controlled vats. Each lot is vinified according to its potential and monitored by close observation analyses and tastings. After maceration and running off the lots are pre-blended and kept in the ageing cellar which contains 60 barrels a third of which are new. The wine ages in barrel for around 12 months depending on the lots and the vintage. The final blending is then carried out. The bottling is done 21 months after the harvest. General technical data a brief history: francois despagne comes from a saint-emilion family going back to at least the beginning of the 17th century. He is the owner of chateau grand corbin-despagne and alongside his wife murielle invested in the co;tes de castillon appellation in 1999 convinced of its terroir’s great quality potential. Vinification: once harvested the grapes are sorted first in the vineyard and then at the cellars. They are then transferred to small fermentation vats in which each lot is vinified according to its potential (age terroir and grape variety). The maceration lasts 4 weeks on average. The lots are next run off into barrels for the malo-lactic fermentation. The skins are pressed in a vertical hydraulic press. Ageing: 100% in barrels a third of which are new a third are second-fill barrels and the rest are third-fill barrels. The barrel ageing process lasts 12 to 18 months. Ageing potential in bottle: this wine can be enjoyed young after decanting. However it has an ageing potential of 10 years depending on vintages. Tasting notes: deep purple tones. Jammy black fruits on the nose together with toasty notes that come to the fore after swirling the glass. After a silky entry on the palate powerful tannins come through demonstrating the very good ageing potential of this wine. Improvements made to the chateau in 2004: the vinification was done in a new vat cellar using small-sized vats to enable plot by plot management of the wine-making.” – chateau ampelia

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