My last scheduled château visit was to Beau-Séjour Bécot located just outside the town of Saint- Emilion. This estate has been making wine since the Gallo-Roman period! “Beau-Séjour” means “lovely stay” and was named back in 1787 by Gen. Jacques de Carles, who thoroughly enjoyed his stay there. The château has belonged to the Bécot family since Michel Bécot bought it in 1969 and it is truly a family- run winery. He retired in 1985, but his sons and granddaughters work there today. From the winemaking, to the marketing, to the visits…there is a family member to greet you and share his/her love and passion for the estate and the wines. Many thanks to M Barthe, whom I chatted with back in March at the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux event in Chicago. I appreciate his help in securing my wonderful visit.
The vineyards are located on the Saint-Martin de Mazerat limestone plateau. There is abundant clay in the soil which means Merlot rules in these wines! Add some Cabernet Franc and a wee bit of Cabernet Sauvignon and the wines come to life. The ripest and healthiest grapes are hand sorted, one by one, ensuring top quality for the wine to be produced. The large, conical stainless steel vats are using during the two fermentations. The aging takes place in French oak barriques, 70-80% new oak.
One of the most interesting feature of the château is the 7 hectare network of underground limestone quarries which has been converted into a vast storage cellar. These tunnels provide an ideal aging environment for tens of thousands of bottles of wine! There is even a tiny chapel at the entrance to the tunnels. Wandering through the maze was a bit daunting…but luckily we had Michel Bécot’s granddaughter as our guide. She delighted us with stories from her childhood, telling us of the times when she would play down below.
The “Grand Vin”, Château Beau-Séjour Bécot, was silky, balanced, and oozing with bright flavors. The second wine, Tournelle de Beau-Séjour Bécot is also charming and full of life. We all left with dancing taste buds and smiles on our faces. I am hoping to find some of these gems here in the states!! Santé!