Few of the top St. Emilion properties are large. The smallest of all are those which cluster on the edge of a limestone escarpment by the town of St. Emilion itself. These are the Côtes St. Emilion crus classés. Of these one of the smallest and also one of the best is Château Magdelaine. It is a beautiful even grand farmhouse that has been empty for over 20 years, but is well cared for.
Château Magdelaine is one of St-Emilions oldest estates with evidence of Roman drainage trenches still evident in the vineyards. For over two hundred years the property belonged to the Chatonnet family, until it was acquired in 1953 by Monsieur Jean-Pierre Moueix of Château Petrus fame.
The vineyard has 9.7 hectares under vine-6.2 ha’s on the plateau with the rest on the slopes. The former is limestone resting on a bed of limestone rock. There is more clay on the slopes which adds to depth and concentration of the wine, with the plateau vines giving great finesse. They use a horse to till the more steeply sloping slopes.
Harvesting and vinification is the same as at Château Petrus. There are some very old vines and yields are low. The grape mix is 85% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc with the rest being a very old mixture dating back to before the first world war. In Fact Château Magdelaine has one of the the highest percentage of Merlot in St Emilion, and of the 8 grand Cru Classes that have vineyards on the Côtes it has the highest percentage of Merlot.
The style of the wine is full, rich, ripe and concentrated being late harvested and vinified with some of the stalks. Maturation is 1/3 in new wood with the rest being put in used barrels from Petrus and Trontanoy.
Second label: None.
Area under vines: 9.7ha’s.
Average age: 35 years.
Vines per ha.: 5,300.
Av. prod.: 4,000 cases.
Distr. of vines.: 1 parcel.
Soil: Limestone & clay.
Added yeasts: Natural.
Length of maceration: 21-25 days.
Temp. of ferm.: 30°C.
Control of fermentation: Pump over.
Type of vat: Oak.
Age of casks: 30% new.
Time in cask: 22-24 months.
Fining: Second winter after the harvest. Fresh egg whites (5 eggs to one barrel).
Filtration: Prior to bottling.
Type of bottle: Bordelaise.
Bottled at the chateau: 100%.
Grape varieties: Merlot-85%, Cabernet Franc-7%, Others-6%.
Av. yield per ha.: 33hl.
Pruning: Guyot simple, 6-7 buds.
STORAGE: 7-20 years.
SERVICE TEMPERATURE: 17°C.
FOOD / CONSUMPTION: They are a perfect complement to lamb, veal, poultry and delicate game.