With a history dating back to the 18th century, Château de Camensac carries the banner of excellence of the Haut-Médoc appellation through wines renowned for their finesse, freshness and balance.
Location and surface area of the Château de Camensac estate
Château de Camensac is a 5th cru classé in the Haut-Médoc appellation. Located in the commune of St Laurent Médoc, on Bordeaux's Left Bank, Château de Camensac looks after 150 hectares of land, 86 hectares of which are in production and 64 hectares are of woodland and meadows.
What is the history of the Château de Camensac?
A history dating back to the 18th century
Neighbouring Château de la Tour Carnet and Château Lagrange, the hamlet "Camensac", whose name means "the path that leads to the water" in Gascon, is shown on the Cassini and Belleyme maps as early as the 18th century as a house surrounded by vines.
1799 : the visionary and pioneering spirit of the Popp family
Following the French Revolution, the Camensac estate was taken over by the State and sold at auction. The Popp family, from Hamburg, was one of the German families who had settled in Bordeaux since the beginning of the 18th century. The family acquired the property in 1799. Château de Camensac was subsequently recognised as the 5th cru classé in the Haut-Médoc in the 1855 classification, due to the quality of its wines.
In 1860, Bruno Popp made major changes to the winemaking infrastructure, giving the cellars the shape we know today. He was visionary, making his cellars a reference point for the cutting-edge technology of the time, through an innovative mobile press system.
The estate passes through the hands of several owners from 1887
Following its sale, because there were no successors within the Popp family, the property was acquired by Alphonse de Tournade (Lieutenant de Vaisseau) and Antonia Garrigou (granddaughter of Antoinette de Lapeyrière). Château de Camensac was sold in 1906, upon the death of Alphonse and Yvonne Tournaud, to Count Lahens, who also owned Châteaux Larose-Trintaudon and Perganson. Paul and Albert Cuvelier, who owned Château Le Crock in St Estèphe, acquired the estate in 1912.
A new impetus from 1964
In 1964, Elysée and Henri (Enrique) Forner acquired Château de Camensac, with wine merchant Jacques Merlaut taking a 25% stake. These two brothers of Spanish origin had the passionate ambition, with the help of the famous oenologist Emile Peynaud, to produce great wines that would restore the prestige of this Haut-Médoc terroir, which had been virtually abandoned.
A new era under the Merlaut family from 2005
Château de Camensac was acquired in 2005 by Céline Villars-Foubet, granddaughter of Jacques Merlaut and Jean Merlaut (son of Jacques). The Merlaut family, owners of famous Médoc properties (Gruaud-Larose, Haut Bages Libéral, Ferrière, Chasse-Spleen and Château Citran), wanted to develop the quality of the wines and the international reputation of the estate in a sustainable way.
At the head of Château Chasse-Spleen, Céline Villars-Foubet, together with her husband Jean-Pierre Foubet, is driving the growing quality of the estate's wines, making Château de Camensac an essential reference in the Haut-Médoc appellation.
All you need to know about the terroir of Château de Camensac
Position and orientation
Château de Camensac looks after a vineyard of 86 hectares spread over 123 plots within the Haut-Médoc appellation.
The unique geology of a great vineyard on the left bank of Bordeaux
Including equal numbers of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot vines, the vineyard of Château de Camensac rests on a soil with a singular geology that gives the wines of the estate a unique signature.
The vines are planted on two types of gravel. On one side, there are Günzian gravels dating from the Quaternary period, composed of thick pebbles but also with traces of iron. Typical of the benchmark St Julien appellation, these soils give the wines power, minerality and elegance.
On the other side, the Villafranchian gravels, dating from the Tertiary period, are distinguished by older and smaller pebbles. A delicate structure as well as a floral aromatic framework are the characteristics of the wines produced from this type of soil, which is particularly present in the Pessac-Léognan appellation.
A vineyard with a favourable climate
The Haut-Médoc appellation benefits from an oceanic climate, with mild winters and hot summers, ideal conditions to ensure optimal ripening of the grapes.
The vineyards of Château de Camensac are run with a deep respect for the environment, to produce great Haut-Médoc wines that authentically express the identity and richness of these ancestral terroirs. The vineyards of Château de Camensac have been certified High Environmental Value level 3 since 2021. The implementation of an agro-ecological programme completes the mechanical working of the soil as well as biodynamic trials on a surface of 7 hectares.
With a philosophy based on the preservation of the land and the reduction of its ecological footprint, the estate is developing strong actions in favour of the environment, such as the installation of solar panels on the farm buildings and the use of waste water.
The grapes are harvested exclusively by hand, depending on the grape variety, the age of the vines and the terroir. A rigorous sorting is carried out both in the vineyard and in the cellar on a sorting table, to keep only the best quality grapes.
The grapes are 100% destemmed and undergo an alcoholic fermentation of about 6 days, followed by a 3-week maceration with daily pumping over and/or punching down. The wine is then racked into barrels for malolactic fermentation. The wines are then aged in French oak barrels (60% of which are new) for 14 to 18 months.
Style of the wines of Château de Camensac
This 5th classified growth in the Haut Médoc has two labels : its Grand vin and its Second wine, made from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon that varies according to the vintage.
Château de Camensac combines elegance, power and minerality. The dark, shining colour precedes a nose of red fruits, followed by delicate wood, black pepper and rose fragrances. As the wine is tasted, the palate entices with its fine structure, its full body and harmony through to a lasting, fruity and woody finish.
La Closerie de Camensac is the Second wine of the estate, made with the same care as the Grand vin. More readily available than the Grand vin, La Closerie de Camensac stands out for its elegant and fruity aromatic palette and its very supple tannins.
Ageing potential of the wines
The Grand Vin of Château de Camensac is accessible after 5 to 7 years in the cellar, and can be laid down for around 30 years to release its full aromatic richness. While the Second wine reveals a lively and and delicious density in its youth, it releases a delicate complexity after a few years in the cellar.
Food and wine pairing
Thanks to their structure and richness, the wines of Château de Camensac are ideal for a range of tasting opportunities, as an aperitif, with starters or even with cheese. An entrecote bordelaise, a roast duck, a rack of lamb, beef tournedos with morels or a hot chocolate fondant are elegant pairings for these wines.