Located adjacent to the world-renowned Fronsac appellation, Château Vieux Moulin was once an award winning vineyard with over 30 hectares of vines. The parcel of land bought in 2018 by Iain and Marta comprised 10.5 hectares of which 8.5 were planted with merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. Unfortunately, much of the vineyard was in such a poor state that it had to be removed leaving around one hectare of merlot still planted. This hectare has been carefully cultivated and reinvigorated since 2018 and during the 2022 harvest produced over 3,400 litres of AOC Bordeaux Superieur wine! We make our wine as naturally as possible and whilst we are not organic-certified we comply with as many of the organic processes as is practical. We are happy to arrange a wine tasting of our vintages from 2018 to 2022 together with those of our associate property, Château L'Eperon and to arrange a viewing of our chais which you'll find very compact and bijou! Unfortunately 2023 saw our vineyard succumb to the ravages of mildew which shrivels the grapes to nothing – there sadly won’t therefore be a 2023 vintage!
The 2018, 100% merlot, vintage was created from a small harvest with hand-selected fruit and the deep ruby-red wine aged for 18 months in new, French-oak barrels. Restricted to 650 bottles and pairing well with red meats or duck, the wine can be drunk now but has been judged to be one which will deliver increasing pleasure if laid down for a few years.
2019 is generally viewed as a very good to excellent year for many Bordeaux vineyards and Chateau Vieux Moulin is, fortunately, no exception. Despite two summer heatwaves the vines suffered no serious detriment, although a lack of rain during the summer widely hit expected yields slightly even if not quality. Our efforts to rejuvenate the vineyard certainly paid off with a final yield of around 1,350 litres compared to 2018's 490. For the 2019 vintage we decided to age 450 litres in French oak barrels for 12 months which added a depth of flavour to the wine for those who like a little tannin in their reds. We now offer the 2019 vintage in oaked or unoaked varieties both going well with a delicious plate of French charcuterie or pairing delightfully with a simple meal of French cheeses and crusty fresh bread.
In common with 2019, 2020 saw two long, hot periods with little or no rain from mid-June to mid-August and again at the beginning of September. However, whilst this might have had an effect on yields, Chateau Vieux Moulin's vines were coming back into full swing and produced over 3,000 litres of pressed juice, more than doubling 2019's yield. The dry period in September helped concentrate the juice giving a rich, full-bodied wine with oodles of black fruit to complement a juicy ribeye steak or rack of lamb.
2021 saw a drop in yields across the region due partly to the early April frosts, which hit after bud break, coupled with heavy rain in the second half of June which caused significant losses due to mildew. In a wet year, no matter how much you treat the vines, mildew will always take its toll. There was significant variability in yield and quality across the region and we saw the same issue on a very local scale with the smaller of our two parcels producing noticeably lower quality fruit than the larger. This led to the decision to dispose of the juice from the poorer performing parcel rather than blend and market an inferior product. The larger of the two parcels produced a well-rounded, classic merlot which makes a wonderful accompaniment to richly flavoured stews and casseroles or simply drunk by itself in front of a roaring log fire.
The 2022 harvest was unusually advanced with Chateau Vieux Moulin harvesting on the 14th September, with even this early date post-dating some other chateaux (e.g. Cheval Blanc - 29th Aug, Margaux - 8th Sept). This arose as a result of particularly warm (hot) weather throughout the spring and summer with almost no rain which in turn gave rise to the very unusual spectacle of some appellations being given extraordinary permission to irrigate their vines (normally this is forbidden - don't ask why, you're in France!) However, all was not lost because the long period of above average temperatures caused the vines to seek deeper moisture and both yields and quality were high, with Chateau Vieux Moulin's now 1Ha of vines producing 3,400 litres of juice post-pressing, a record since we took over the vineyard in 2018! The concentration of juice has created a deeply flavoured wine which is still maturing in 'garde-vin' and awaiting bottling in late 2023.