Château Saint Ahon is undeniably a property with class. Built in the 14th century, the former home of the 18th century political philosopher Charles de Montesquieu, owned by the descendants of Louis XIV’s finance minister, and a nationally registered historic monument, the property is everything one associates with the French aristocracy. That is, until you meet owners Françoise and Nicolas de Courcel. Kind and without pretense, they farm 25 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot in the sandy alluvial gravel of the Haut-Médoc town of Blanquefort. As grateful stewards of this special land, the de Courcels have achieved the European Union’s highest level certification in sustainable farming.
Their winemaking philosophy takes an equally ego-free approach, allowing nature to express itself authentically. They de-stem, press their grapes gently, and employ traditional, temperature-controlled vinifications. The wines age in French oak barrels for 12 months. To the same degree that the de Courcel’s strive for elegance in their wines, so too, do they seek pleasure and a graceful lightness of being—a classic Left Bank quality—which is why they release their wines after a minimum of four years in bottle.