The noblewoman Catherine Conseillan gave this estate its name during her time as its owner almost 300 years ago. Since 1871 it has been owned by the Nicolas family and, impressively, they have kept the same vineyard plots and sizes intact since they took charge. Bertram and Valmy Nicolas are the fifth generation to manage the estate, and since 2003 they have benefited from the assistance of Jean-Michel Laporte.
La Conseillante is one of just a handful of great Pomerol estates whose terroir has long been recognised as one of the best in the appellation. The 12 hectares of vineyards are in the heart of the Pomerol plateau next to Petrus and Cheval Blanc.
One third of the vines – the ones to the left of Cheval Blanc’s driveway – are located in Saint-Emilion on gravel and sand, but the remaining two thirds of the vineyard is planted on blue clay. It is apparently the combination of these two elements which provides the finesse and aroma for which the property is famous, and the power and depth which make it long lived.
The grapes are (and have always been) hand harvested. They are then fermented in cement tanks of a variety of different shapes and sizes, which allows for the diverse selection of vineyard parcels to be vinified with greater precision.
The blend is generally 80% merlot and 20% cabernet franc, which spends 18 months in oak, 50 to 75% of which are new barrels. The wine isn’t blended until after the ageing process is complete in order to achieve the best possible balance in the finished wine. It can be kept for between 12 and 30 years.
The distinctive label, with its violet and silver colour scheme, was designed by the Nicolas family back in 1871, but it remains just as suitable to its 21st century audience.