My father Paul and I bought the estate, which then consisted of only 7 hectares (17 acres) of vineyards, on the 1st June 1955. After nearly 30 years of unflagging hard, painstaking work, Malescot has regained its former status and ambition to climb ever higher.
Today, my son Jean-Luc supervises all the work in the vineyards and making our wine with its illustrious history. And yet it hasn’t always been plain sailing for this fine estate, which as long ago as 1608 was producing some 30 to 40 casks on our «Curton», «Puch Sam Peyre», «Ourmatan» and «Lacoste» plots.
Since belonging to the Escoussès, an influential family of royal notaries, these lands have never ceased to produce wine up to the present day
In 1697 Louise Escoussès sold the estate to Simon Malescot Esquire, King’s Counsel to Louis XIV at the Parliament of Bordeaux. It was enlarged by the addition of a Chartreuse-style house and agricultural buildings constructed by Malescot’s descendants, who were to control its destiny for more than a century. It was on the 5th of February 1827 that Count Jean-Baptiste Saint-Exupéry, who already owned the Loyac estate, also located in Margaux, bought Château Malescot. None other than the great-grandfather of aviator and writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, he decided to give lustre to the château by adding his name to it. An extravagant lifestyle forced Jean-Baptiste’s window to put the property up for auction in 1853. I have kept the notice of this sale, stating that these vineyards were classified third among the Grands Crus at that date.
This document also mentions the location of the plots, 80% of which correspond to the vineyard of 1697.
It was Messrs Fourcade and Boissac who gave the great wine of Malescot a château worthy of its rank as well as its cellars in 1870, which became a model for other châteaux of the Médoc.
Although equipped with a remarkably “modern” vat house in which the harvest was gravity-fed into the tanks, and despite their clear intention to remain true to the motto on our bottles, “Semper ad altum” (Ever Higher), they were nonetheless obliged to sell in 1901. The stability of yore was followed by a period of confusion, due to uncertainty caused by a succession of different owners.
In 1937 the English company Chaplin & Co. appointed Mr. Edmond Ritz as its administrator, a mining engineer whose new career seemed to be the antithesis of the one he had trained for.
Château Desmirail, rechristened Château Marquis ďAlesme, stayed in the family through an inheritance of my mother Almouth and father Paul. The château continues to be run by my brother Jean-Claude to this day. It was my father, with his passion for great wines, who had the idea of restoring Château Malescot so that it would become the cornerstone in making these two quite separate wines. The end of the 19th century was marked by the ravages of phylloxera and mildew, to which were added two world wars, shattering an already fragile economic situation. One after another, three generations of the Zuger family, natives of the Swiss canton of Zug, endeavoured to put the château back on an even keel and restore its good name. Today, Jean-Luc Zuger, the family’s representative, does everything he can to make Malescot Saint-Exupéry one of the great wines of the Margaux appellation area.
“Showing respect for their potential ”Malescot is a wine blended from four grape varieties, each totally distinctive, yet unquestionably complementary in nature. They are planted according to the vineyard’s soil types. The vines on our plots, the key ingredients of Malescot wines, are regularly checked and their specific characteristics carefully identified and tended to, a process which naturally ensures sustainable yields.
Today, the entire crop is picked using trays to keep the grapes intact and thus prevent crushing, oxidation, the release of juice and loss of aromas from the fruit.
True to tradition and in accordance with modern practice, the harvest is delivered to the upper storey of the vat house.
Here, the grapes are checked once again for damage or disease before they are gently removed from their stalks with care to avoid them being spoilt. Thanks to the versatility of our new de-stemming process, the first of its kind, we are able to eliminate any plant debris which may still be left.
So, we sail resolutely against the tide of widespread standardisation, endeavouring to combine traditional values with new ideas in winemaking, with the aim of achieving the best expression of our “terroir”.
“Getting the best from the fruit”
Alcoholic fermentation is carried out in temperature-controlled vats, without the use of extra yeast or other additives, enabling the varietal aromas to express themselves naturally. “Pump-overs” are carried out often but for short periods, using less aggressive equipments, thus improving extraction and controlling the exposure to oxygen, which plays an important part in the hue, stability and intensity of the wine’s robe. When the mine is run off depends on the varying length of the vatting period.
According to the wine’s micro-biological make-up, and also for reasons dictated by its taste, malolactic fermentation will sometimes be allowed to take place in the vat for reasons of taste, but often it will occur after the wine has been run into the new barrels. Ageing the wine on the lees with regular stirring slows down oxidation. The amount of oxygen required is calculated in relation to polyphenol concentration and the tannin – anthocyanins balance. The wine is aged in new casks for fourteen to sixteen months, then blended prior to bottling, without fining or filtration, so as to preserve the organoleptic properties imparted by the distinctive characteristics of the “terroir”.
A.O.C. Margaux: 23.5 hectares
Production / Yield: 120,000 bottles
Surface / Area: 23.5 hectares
Grape Varieties: cabernet-sauvignon 50%, merlot 35%, cabernet-franc 10%, petit-verdot 5%
Average vine’s age: 35 years
Number of vines: 200.000
Vats: stainless steel and concrete-vats all have temperature regulation systems
Barrel ageing: 100% new oak
Ageing period: 14 to16 months
Second wine: <La Dame de Malescot>
Owners: The Zuger family
Vineyard manager: Santiago COMPADRE
Cellar master: Gilles POUGET
Consultant oenologist: Michel ROLLAND
Manager: Jean-Luc ZUGER