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Château Malartic-Lagravière, Grand Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, France, 2006
If we are to single out one figure responsible for the revitalisation of Malartic-Lagravière it is Alfred-Alexandre Bonnie. A businessman of Belgian origin, he recognised immediately that the running of the estate under Laurent-Perrier had been less than ideal. The vineyards were well-tended but the cellars and equipment were outdated; run from afar with a corporation mind-set, there had been no interested party willing to go the extra mile, to push for the improvements that were necessary if the wines produced were to be worthy of Malartic-Lagravière's cru classé status. He set out - with a multi-million budget, it has to be said - revitalising the estate, with new developments in the château which was dramatically expanded, vineyard and chai.
The vines, averaging 25 years of age and planted at 10000 plants/ha, cover an area of 53 hectares (the estate is 60 hectares in total), of which just 7 hectares are dedicated to white grapes.
Harvesting is manual, at a typical yield of 45 hl/ha. There is a double sorting on a vibrating table, then destemming, followed by transfer of the grapes to the refurbished vat room by gravity feed.
The white wine sees 40-60% new oak for up to 15 months. The wines see an egg white fining before bottling.