Chateau La Conseillante
|Listed Wines||La Conseillante|
|Owner||Louis Nicolas family|
|Annual Production (Grand Vin)||4,000 cases|
|Second Wine||Duo de Conseillante|
|Interesting Fact||La Conseillante takes its name from its founder Catherine Conseillan, a formidable metal dealer from Lisbon who was known to locals as ‘The Iron Lady’.|
Chateau La Conseillante’s surface area – 12 hectares – hasn’t expanded since the Nicolas family took ownership in 1871, ensuring the continued focus on quality that has won acclaim from critics around the world. Despite its modest and unchanging size, the vineyard’s terroir presents two extremes – clay and gravel – resulting in entirely different-tasting wines, presenting both a distinct marketing opportunity and a unique winemaking challenge.
In 1971, Chateau La Conseillante was completely renovated and modernised with the addition of stainless steel temperature-controlled tanks – a pioneering move at the time which set the estate apart from others in the Pomerol appellation, and set the tone for the Chateau’s future operational strategies. Despite traditional vineyard management – four ploughings during the growth cycle, green harvesting and bud removal are all part of diligent efforts to reduce yields – a further renovation in time for the 2012 vintage consolidated the estate’s commitment to quality. More than 20 new aerial concrete tanks and an additional underground concrete vat are now involved in producing the wine, which is labelled with a unique purple crest surrounding the letters ‘LN’, making a bottle of Chateau La Conseillante easy to spot in the cellar.
Regarded as one of the finest producers in Pomerol, Chateau La Conseillante has received favourable reviews throughout its 140-vintage lifespan, although not until the late 1990s did it begin achieving consistent 90+pt scores. According to Robert Parker, the wine can be difficult to taste in its youth, yet established merchants Justerini & Brooks claim the 2009 and 2010 are among the most impressive young Conseillantes they can recall. Nonetheless, the chateau has proven its ability to turn out admirable wines even in the face of adversity; the 2007 was well-received despite an adverse growing season.
The 1990 vintage is given Robert Parker’s stamp of approval with a 97pt score – the highest awarded to any of Chateau La Conseillante’s wines. Elsewhere, however, the 2000 and 2005 both receive a very-respectable 96.
The history of Chateau La Conseillante dates back to the middle of the 18th century, making it one of the oldest properties in the Pomerol appellation. Since the passing of founder Catherine Conseillan the property has changed hands many times, from Pascal Fourcaud to Mathieu Beylot, and then to the Princeteau-Leperche family, until it was acquired by the Nicolas family in 1871.
Under the direction of Louis Nicolas, the Right Bank vineyard’s reputation grew stronger and the wine began selling for a higher price – allegedly matching that sold by renowned producers on the Left Bank. Despite the arrival of phylloxera in 1880, the chateau’s prosperity continued and now the estate is managed by the Nicolas family council: the Société Civile des Héritiers Nicolas. None of the family makes an income from the vineyard, indicating a genuine passion for winemaking.
In 2003, the family appointed Jean-Michel Laporte to oversee the chateau, and with his supervision the estate introduced a second wine, Duo de Conseillante, in 2007 which has proven a big success on the secondary market.