Bought by the Thienpont family in 1988, and managed by Nicolas Thienpont, quality has been on the rise at this 6-hectare estate in Francs Côtes de Bordeaux ever since. The Thienpont family originated in Flanders and have been relative latecomers to the Bordeaux scene, but have made up for lost time by buying or controlling several excellent properties besides Les Charmes Godard, including Vieux Château Certan, Le Pin, Château Pavie Macquin, Château Larcis Ducasse and Château Bellevue. This experience has been brought to bear on Les Charmes-Godard and new massale selection plantings will increase production in the future.
Semillon is usually 50% or so of the blend together with aromatic sauvignon gris, sauvignon blanc and a little muscadelle. The white wine owes its prestige to fastidious work in the vineyard. Hard pruning, debudding, leaf thinning, green harvesting and hand picking help to lower yields, keep the vines healthy and ensure that only high-quality fruit reaches the winery. The introduction of a second wine has also enhanced the quality under the château label.
The must is fermented in a mix of new and old oak barrels and then spends more time in barrel on the yeast lees, with occasional stirring. There is no malolactic fermentation so as to retain acidity in order to harmonise with the ripeness of relatively late harvested fruit, particularly the sauvignon gris, where ripe, almost glacé fruit flavours are sought. As they reside in the barrels the wines are regularly tasted to gauge the best time to bottle rather than prescribe a set time in barrel for every vintage.
This attention to detail shows in the bright but perfumed fruit balance of these wines.