This is an outstanding Castillon estate that is renowned for its rich and opulent wines. The word ‘l’aiguille’ is French for ‘needle’ or ‘peak’, and indeed the original château d’Aiguilhe – which burned down in the early 20th century – was on the peak of some hills overlooking the Dordogne, on the border of the Cotes de Castillon and Saint-Emilion regions.
Today, the property is run by Stephan von Niepperg. He owns a selection of Bordeaux properties, including the wonderful La Mondotte and Canon-la-Gaffeliére in Saint-Emilion, and he purchased and began renovating this estate in December 1989. His experience and considerable investment mean the wines have been excellent since the sumptuous 2001 vintage.
All 50 hectares of the vines, which have an average age of 28 years, are on the upper parts of south-facing hills for optimum exposure to the sun. The well-draining clay-limestone soils are rich with minerals, giving extra power and concentration to the vines, which are planted with 80% merlot and 20% cabernet franc.
Grapes are harvested by hand and fermented in temperature-controlled wooden vats. The wine is then aged for 15 months in oak, 50% of which is new, and fining and filtration is carried out only when absolutely necessary. The wines will drink beautifully for between four to 10 years.