What about Henri, Valerie, Olivier?
We were on the road to St. Emilion, looking for great wines, when we met Valerie, one of three owners of Chateau Féret-Lambert on a cold and gloomy day of early February. The entrance of the estate was beautiful, with a long unpaved path surrounded by tall trees on both sides of the road and leading towards the ancient property. It was raining, but Valerie took the time (and the raincoat) to show us around the property, not caring too much about the awful weather. She is very proud of her vineyard and wanted to show it to us.
The vineyard is planted on top of old limestone quarries and the cellar is actually installed in the natural cool limestone caves. Valerie told us “The caves extend for hundreds of meters below the vines like a complex maze. In the past those passages were used to secretly reach the town and escape in case of danger. You will find the same type of hidden passages throughout the whole city in nearby St. Emilion”. Today the caves are used as cellars to keep the wine during the aging process. They provide an ideal environment and add this extra little bit of mystery and romance!
Chateau Feret-Lambert has been in the Féret family for four generations but the vineyards had suffered from some years of neglect. In 1996 Henri and Valerie Féret, together with Valerie’s brother, Olivier Sulzer a wine grower from Saint-Emilion, decided to restore it to its previous glory. It is a small estate, located in Grézillac, 30kms from Bordeaux and 10km from St. Emilion, with 13 hectares of vineyards planted with 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. After the first few years of struggle the small Chateau started growing in quality and popularity. Today 120,000 bottles are produced per year, equally distributed between Chateau Féret-Lambert, the 1st wine, and Costes du Château Féret-Lambert, the 2nd wine. Valerie says “we are looking for quality, with densely planted vines, manual harvest and low yields”. This approach has been successful as Chateau Féret-Lambert is recognised as one of the greatest wines of appellation Bordeaux Supérieur.