Château Le Coteau

France, Bordeaux

Château Le Coteau is a rarity, being one of the last small family-owned properties in Margaux. Éric Léglise has run it since 1973, with commitment to the land and the ideal of being a bon vigneron.

The vineyard of 12 hectares is on the classic Margaux Gunzian gravels, which as Éric says, favour Cabernet Sauvignon, and is planted with 65% Cabernet-Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet-Franc, 5% Merlot and 2% Petit-Verdot. Most of the parcels border Grand Crus Classés, such as Rauzan Ségla, Giscours, du Tertre and d'Issan. The vineyards have never seen weedkiller or pesticides, with Éric believing in the importance of biodiversity.

The wines are made in a very classic fashion, 8-10 day fermentations that are not allowed to go over 28C, followed by a further maceration of up to three weeks, while the vats are tasted every day. At the right moment the new wine is run off into barrel and the skins pressed in a vertical press to extract the vin de presse which will for a large part be re-incorporated. The wine is than aged for between 12 and 16 months in French oak barrels, of which a third are new. It will be racked every three months, with a final clarification using egg white.