The story began in 1971 when Robert and Agnès Schulte bought a charming fortified farmhouse, ideally located with commanding views of the Garonne Valley. At first the family’s efforts were spent restoring the buildings before deciding to purchase the surrounding vineyards. Together with a well-chosen and dynamic team, they have created a fine estate, with wines that have considerable class and that are well worth discovering.
Marmandais is a curious appellation, cut in two by the river and straddling the two départements of Gironde and Lot-et-Garonne. Growers with vines in the Gironde often sell their wines as ‘Bordeaux’, but what makes the Marmandais so interesting is its mix of grape varieties that can only be realised in the Lot-et-Garonne. Here, as at Château de Beaulieu, syrah can be added to the full complement of red Bordeaux varietals and unquestionably adds complexity.
Much of the Marmandais produces wines of little pretention or ambition. Beaulieu however is different: location and geology are exceptional, and then there is the desire on the part of Robert and Agnès to make the best possible wines. Much of that work was done in the vineyards: low yields, largely harvesting by hand and picking fully ripe fruit. The wines are all aged in barrel and are then kept until ready to be enjoyed and, like a good claret, these are wines that repay patience.