Château Petit Village
Up on the Pomerol plateau, just east of Catusseau, on ideal gravel and clay soil is Château Petit Village. A habitually complicated but unremarkable history comes to life with its purchase, in 1919 by the Ginestet family. This brought Petit Village into common ownership with Château Cos’d’Estournel and, later, Château Margaux. Despite its illustrious stable-mates, the Ginestet family’s tenure coincided with difficult times for Bordeaux estates, culminating in the disastrous frost of 1956 which wiped out vineyards across the region. In a move that seems bizarre in hindsight, much of Petit Village was replanted with Cabernet Sauvignon which made up an untypical greater portion of the vineyards until the 1970’s. Bruno Prats took control in 1971, having married into the family, and immediately set about replacing most of the Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot and modernising the winery, but sold Petit Village in 1989 in order to concentrate his efforts on Cos d’Estournel. The new owners of Château Petit Village were AXA Millésimes, who own it to this day, along with Château Pichon Longueville Baron in Pauillac and Château Suduiraut in Sauternes as well as operations in Hungary and Portugal. AXA’s stewardship has seen Jean Michel Cazes (of Lynch Bages fame) and latterly Christian Seely overseeing considerable improvements at Petit Village. One of the more noticeable improvements has been the building of a starkly modern extension to the winery. The 10.5ha of vineyards sit in a single triangular block wedged between Conseillante, Vieux Château Certan, Certan de May and Beauregard. Le Pin sits near enough to be counted as a neighbour. There are 75% Merlot and 18% Cabernet Franc, with the residual 7% Cabernet Sauvignon being among the highest proportions in Pomerol. The average age of the vines in 35 years old, although one plot of Merlot remains that was planted 1947.