Château Montlabert owned by French wine giant Castel has been promoted to the status of Grand Cru Classé as part of the 2022 Saint-Emilion Wine Classification.
“This classification marks an exciting new chapter in the story of the Castel Family Estates, rewarding years of hard work to reveal the singularity of the Montlabert terroir, with the utmost respect for its ecosystems,” says the wine group in a press release.
With family and winemaking roots dating back to 1850, Montlabert was bought by the Castel group in 2008 as they stepped up efforts to establish themselves in the heart of one of the world’s most prestigious wine regions.
The acquisition of Château Montlabert was described as “a key stage” of consolidating the Castel’s family’s fine wine expertise in Bordeaux under the Castel Châteaux & Grands Crus banner, which began in 1957.
After 10 years of work in the vineyards and winery, the quality of Montlabert’s terroir, the constant striving for winemaking excellence and the family’s commitment to hospitality make Château Montlabert the jewel in the Family Estates crown.
The design and construction of the new winery were entrusted to the architect Olivier Chadebost, renowned for his work with some of Bordeaux’s most prestigious châteaux including Chateau d’Yquem and Cheval Blanc. His architectural interpretation for the design of the high-level, sustainable winery came from a respectful understanding of the spirit of Saint-Emilion and the uniqueness of Montlabert.
Different from Bordeaux left bank classification, the Saint-Emilion classification is judged every 10 years.
In order to qualify for the Grand Cru Classé classification, ten of the property’s vintages were tasted, from 2010 to 2019 by an independent judging panel. Both the winegrowing and winemaking methods, the transformation of the terroirs and the way they reflect, in the tasting, a consistent quality and an aptitude for aging are the most important aspects of discerning a Grand Cru Classé.
As in 2012, the tasting made up 50% of the overall score. The remaining 50% concerned terroir, methods used in winegrowing and oenology, and the wine’s reputation.
The 2022 classification also saw Château Figeac being promoted to the top ranking – Premier Grand Cru Classé A. However, it is not without controversy. Châteaux Cheval Blanc, Ausone and Angélus have all left Saint-Emilion classification system.