Our terroir

Our terroir

An outstanding terroir

The Graves appellation: a mineral treasure from ancient times…

One of the natural gifts of Château Couhins-Lurton is undoubtedly its terroir: the famous gravelly soil of Bordeaux.

Its origin is intrinsically linked to the Garonne River. These “graves” consist of alluvial soil, sand, clay and pebbles of varying sizes. They were deposited in terraces near the Garonne paleo-river, due to the fact that its flow rate constantly fluctuated during the ice age, carrying stones from the Pyrenees or the Massif Central and swept along by the various river systems.

This geological formation, situated on an ancient asteriated limestone bedrock containing quartz, quartzites, and other agates, was formed in the late Tertiary and early Quaternary periods. Over thousands of years, deposits were gradually shaped by erosion, giving rise to a slightly hilly landscape, punctuated by a multitude of “gravelly rises”.

Our terroir

An outstanding terroir

These poor and highly permeable soils paradoxically result in an extraordinary terroir for winegrowing. Alongside excellent drainage, the gravelly soils reflect the sun’s rays and gradually give off heat onto the grapes, creating ideal conditions for growing vines.

The six hectares of white grapes at Château Couhins-Lurton are nestled on a 20-25-metre-high gravelly terrace, gently descending towards Eau Blanche (a small tributary of the Garonne River). These very fresh soils, consisting of clay on limestone bedrock, store water and release it into the vine during dry periods. They are ideally suited to growing Sauvignon Blanc grapes, which are particularly sensitive to drought, and express their full aromatic potential.

Our terroir

An outstanding terroir

The 16 hectares of red vines are located on one of the highest gravelly rises in Martillac, at an altitude of around 45 metres. The gravel soils are prevalent near the surface with a sandy texture in the upper horizons. The proportion of clay increases deeper down, resulting in particularly compact soils and moderate to high water stress, depending on the vintage. Both Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes produce powerful, complex wines from this terroir.

Our terroir

The gentle Bordeaux climate

The climate is often difficult to define on a particular estate. Countless factors – such as crop cover, hedges, woodland, etc. – can give rise to microclimates, which may vary from one plot to the next.

However, like the entire Graves region, and Bordeaux vineyards in general, Château Couhins-Lurton benefits from an oceanic climate. The estate’s microclimate is characterised by mild winters and fairly high humidity due to prevailing western winds blowing in rain clouds.

The relatively small temperature range, combined with air humidity, heat and abundant sunshine, are particularly conducive to growing vines (especially for grape ripening).

Our terroir

Sauvignon blanc

Château Couhins-Lurton, a Graves classified growth and perfect expression of the terroir

Sauvignon Blanc, the great white Bordeaux grape variety alongside Sémillon, is honoured at Château Couhins-Lurton. It is the only white grape grown on the estate, with six hectares of 28-year-old vines. The first wine of Château Couhins-Lurton, a dry white and Graves classified growth, is made entirely from Sauvignon Blanc. The wine is particularly expressive of its gravel terroir, featuring a solid structure, remarkable ageing potential, and extraordinary aromatic complexity, with attractive notes of grapefruit, lemon, and lime. When young, wines from this grape variety are generally characterised by their citrus aromas, vivaciousness, and freshness. They go on to develop subtle flavours with age, featuring notes of vanilla and honey, accounting for the wine’s finesse and elegance.

Our terroir

Merlot

A undeniably charming red grape variety in the Gascony style

Merlot represents just over 65% of the red vines at Château Couhins-Lurton, which was replanted on a plot of fine gravelly soil by André Lurton in the late 1990s. Originally from Bordeaux, this grape variety owes its name to its colour (resembling a blackbird, or “merlot” in Gascon). It is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon (typically around two thirds) to produce the Château Couhins-Lurton red wine. Merlot is a much more early-ripening grape variety compared to Cabernet Sauvignon, and accounts for the wine’s roundness, velvety, silky texture, and richness.

It reveals its particularly sought-after qualities even when young. Lovers of fine wine will appreciate this wine’s distinctive violet and red fruit aromas, which goes on to develop hints of leather and prunes with age.

Our terroir

Cabernet sauvignon

The perfect marriage between finesse and elegance

Cabernet Sauvignon, the classic red grape variety all over the world, is combined with Merlot in the final blend of Château Couhins-Lurton’s red wine. It represents just under 35% of the estate’s area under vine for red grapes, which stretches over 16 hectares in the neighbouring commune of Martillac. Originally from southwest France, Cabernet Sauvignon is well-reputed for producing extremely fine, colourful wines which are generally low in alcohol and appreciated for their elegance and good ageing potential. These great qualities nevertheless hide a certain fragility and sensitivity to vine diseases. Blending Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot results in charming, round, and very fine wines.

An outstanding terroir