Château Sociando Mallet
The first village as you travel north out of Saint Estèphe is Saint-Suerin-de-Cadourne, home to a small cluster of cru bourgeois, not the least of which is Château Sociando-Mallet commanding fine views over the River Gironde to the east of the village. In the early 17th Century it was the estate of a Basque family called Sossiondo, the other half of the name coming from naval captain Achille Mallet who married the owner in 1831. As with many Bordeaux estates, the late 19th and early 20th Centuries were not kind to Sociando-Mallet, so when local merchant Jean Gautreau happened upon it in 1969 it was in a sorry estate. Realising the potential, Jean bought the estate and owns it to this day. With only 5ha under vine, no cellar and the buildings in decay he had a lot to do. Vineyards were replanted, and plots were purchased from neighbours – today Sociando-Mallet, on various plots around the village spreads to 85ha – and the château and winery were refurbished and restored. The amount of Merlot in the blend has slowly risen over the years and now accounts for 47% of the vineyard alongside 48% Cabernet Sauvignon with a little Cabernet Franc; average vine age about 30 years. The wines of Sociando-Mallet were once relatively under-priced but demand for the wine has risen as more people have come to know it, although being from outside the famous Haut-Médoc villages and the 1855 classification keeps the price under some control. Quite robust wines.