The Saint-Estèphe cru bourgeois estate of Château Picard is owned by the négociant business Mähler-Besse, a family company with Dutch heritage and a portfolio of estates in the Bordeaux region and a majority share in the ownership of Château Palmer. Picard was the last Bordeaux estate to be acquired by the company when they took ownership in 1997.
They were attracted to the small size of the vineyard area, at just eight hectares, which would allow them to exert total and detailed control of the viticulture and winemaking. Under the management of Frank Mähler-Besse the family have invested heavily here, renovating the cellars and introducing a gentler gravity-flow feed of the grapes and must around the winery.
The clay soils are packed with the calcareous fossils of prehistoric sea creatures and are planted with 85% cabernet sauvignon (a little more than is usual in Saint-Estèphe) and the remainder merlot, with vines that average more than 30 years of age. Winemaking is traditional and ageing is in oak for between 12 and 18 months depending on the vintage and assemblage.
Amusingly, the sales of the wine of Château Picard may have been boosted in recent years by the attentions of Trekkies, following the mention in the TV series Star Trek that Captain Jean-Luc Picard’s family in France make wine! A quick search on the web will confirm that interest, with the first few mentions on any search engine making the connection.