Chateau La Croix Romane
Château La Croix Romane - Lalande de Pomerol
The wine's blend is 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc. The vines have an average age of 25 years producing a yield of 45 hl/ha. The grapes are destemmed before the fermentations in stainless steel vats that will last 3 weeks for both Cabernets and 4 weeks for the Merlot at 28°c. As for the ageing process, the 3 grape varieties are aged separately in french oak barrels for 12 months of which 30% are new. After this initial period, the 3 grape varieties will be aged in stainless steel vats for a further 6 months allowing the wine to integrate the oak. After 18 months the wine is finally blended.
PVins notes: The nose is elegant and complex with ripe fruit aromas and hints of vanilla and toast. Well-balanced and structured on the palate, beautiful roundness, firm but delicate tannins on a long finish. The wine has a cellaring potential of 10+ years depending on the vintage.
Château La Croix Romane is located next to church in the village of Lalande de Pomerol, a short drive north of the city Libourne through the Pomerol appellation. The estate was renamed in 2008 following its acquisition by the Dubard family, its previous name was “Le Clos de l’Eglise”. The Dubard family is originally from the Bergerac region where they own Château Laulerie and have a reputation of producing some of the best wines of the Bergerac region. Having being seduced by the quality and potential of the terroir of Lalande de Pomerol, the Dubard family purchased the estate making it their second acquisition in the Bordeaux region after Château Nardou. Grégory and Marine Dubard wasted no time in the reconstruction of the vineyard after the purchase by doing some replanting and investing in small temperature control stainless steel vats to enable a parcel by parcel approach in the winemaking process. With a new cellar build in the early 90's by the previous owners, their aim is to produce high quality wines as expected from an appellation such us Lalande de Pomerol.
The change of name for the estate is in recognition of the rich local history. The estate is close to the church of the village Lalande de Pomerol which was built in the 12th century. It is romanesque in style, a period in art history dating from the year 1030 to the first half of the 12th century. The church was built under the aegis of the Hospitalers of St John of Jerusalem, later known as “The Knights of Malta”. Their insignia, an eight-pointed white cross, has become the emblem for the wines of Lalande de Pomerol.
The 8.50 ha of Château La Croix Romane are made up of several parcels, they are located on the right bank of the Dordogne river north of Libourne and only two kilometres from the famous plateau of Pomerol. The parcels are situated on a fabulous gravelly mound of alluvial deposits which also contains 10% of rich clay soil.
The vineyard is predominantly planted with Merlot (80%) then Cabernet sauvignon and Cabernet Franc at a density of 6,000 vines per hectare. The vines have an average age of 25 years old. The vineyard is managed with the aim of producing high quality grapes by reaching an excellent phenolic maturity, this involves canopy management, green harvesting when needed to control the yield and grass growing in every second row for bio-diversity and health of the vineyard. Depending on the parcel and the quality of the vintage both harvesting methods of hand-picking and machine picking are used.
Grégory has a parcel by parcel approach in the winemaking with each parcel and grape variety having allocated stainless steel vats. Firstly the grapes are picked at full maturity producing an average yield of 45 hl/ha. A first sorting is done in the vineyard and a further sorting is done on arrival at the cellar, then the grapes are destemmed and pressed. The wine's blend is made up of 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc. The fermentations in stainless steel vats will last 3 weeks for the Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc and 4 weeks for the Merlot at 28°c. As for the ageing process, the three grape varieties are aged separately in French oak barrels for 12 months with 30% of new oak. After this initial period, the 3 grape varieties will be aged in stainless steel vats for a further 6 months allowing the wine to integrate the oak. After 18 months the wine will blended and bottled with a light filtration.
Having the Merlot as the dominant grape the wine's tannins are elegant and fine, the fruit is not over powered by the oak which is well integrated. It is pleasant to drink in its youth but has a potential to age over a decade or more. It can rival in quality with some of the wines from the prestigious neighbouring appellations of Saint Emilion and Pomerol. Château La Croix Romane was rated in the top 50 wines of Bordeaux by the local wine critics for the 2009 vintage amongst some “Grand Cru Classé” from both the right and left banks. The production is about 3,750 cases.
LALANDE DE POMEROL
The appellation Lalande de Pomerol was created in 1954, it is located on the Right Bank of Bordeaux to the north of the city Libourne (8 minutes by car). It is also siyuated to the north of the famous appellation Pomerol and north-west of Saint Emilion. The appellation is separated from Pomerol by a small stream called Barbanne and its vineyards are situated on the two communes of Lalande de Pomerol and Néac. In recent times, the appellation has attracted some big names in winemaking from the neighbouring Pomerol and Saint Emilion appellations who have invested in the area. Some of the the wines produced can be of high quality and rival with some Châteaux from Pomerol and Saint Emilion, the appellation has always lived in the shadow of the more prestigious Pomerol. Like its prestigious neighbourgs only red wines are produced in the appellation.
In the early 20th century Cabernet Franc was the dominant grape variety in the area. Following the early spring frost in 1956 which killed a large portion of the Cabernet Franc vines, many estates took this event as an opportunity to replant with the higher yielding and earlier ripening Merlot. The Merlot is now the predominant grape representing more than 75% of the vines planted and it is well adapted to the clayey soil.
The surface area of the vineyard is 1,138 hectares planted in the communes of Lalande de Pomerol and Néac. The topography varies with the altitude averaging 18 metres around Lalande to 35 metres around Néac. The soil structure is a result of alluvial deposits set on terraces and a plateau which are a continuity of Pomerol. In the western part of the appellation the soil is richer in gravel around the Lalande area, while to the east on the plateau of Néac the terroir is composed of clay and sand with a high level of iron and also some gravel.
In general, Merlot tends to be planted on predominantly clay soils while Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec are planted in the more gravelly soils. But Cabernet franc is still the most commonly used grape in the blend for its tannins and acidity that complement the structure of the wine.
While the climate in the area of Lalande de Pomerol is broadly similar to the rest of Bordeaux with a maritime influence, the region's distance from the sea and the Gironde estuary make the climate distinctly more continental than that of the Médoc on the Left Bank. This means that Lalande de Pomerol sees more temperature variation between daytime highs and evening lows. Also while the region experiences more rainfall during the spring there is overall significantly less rainfall during the summer months. The main viticultural hazards are spring time frosts, which can occur frequently in the Pomerol district.