The history of Château Sociando-Mallet has its roots back in time, until the beginning of the seventeenth century, judging by the fact that it is possible to find official documents that attribute those lands to an aristocrat of Basque origin who was Sociondo’s surnamed. Over time Sociondo became Sossiondo and then Sociando, until 1831 when, after numerous changes of hands, the owner Marie-Elisabeth Alaret joined the name of the property to her grandfather one, the sea captain Achille Mallet, giving definitive origin to the Château Sociando-Mallet. The property of this Château, however, will still have to undergo several steps until it reaches the hands of Jean Gautreau, the one who will bring this Domaine wine to the splendor that today everyone recognizes.
Born in 1927, Jean was the son of a wealthy family of insurers, with a bright future in the world of professional tennis, found almost by chance to work for a commercial brokerage office, where he began to export less valuable Bordeaux wines to the African colonies. It was 1948 and, already in 1950, Jean decided to start his own wine brokerage business, creating his first relations with Belgium and the Netherlands and then, thanks to the increase in the prices of Bordeaux wines, create a trading company that also took care of the great wines of that area. Only the last step was missing, and it will come in 1969 when, in search of a wine estate for a Belgian customer, he came across the Château Sociando-Mallet, deciding to buy it on his own for the price of 250,000 francs.
The Château, which was in a state of semi-abandonment, with just five hectares of vineyards and a detached garage with a vat for their vinification, will be invested by the determination of Jean who, after the exceptional result of the second year produced, decides to build a suitable, modern and efficient cellar. The vineyards, composed of fine gravel on a clayey subsoil, are gradually expanded, until reaching the current extension of 83 hectares, all located on the hill of Baleyron. This hill, on which also the residence and the premises of vinification and aging, is one of the lands closest to the estuary of the Gironde, able to guarantee excellent ventilation and temperature range, more relevant than ever in times of global warming.
Since 2019, after the death of Jean, this heritage has passed to his only daughter Sylvie who has kept the production approach unchanged both in the vineyard and in the cellar. In the fields two annual ploughs are practiced (one in winter and one in summer), pruning is carried out only in winter, while green pruning is not contemplated, and the foliar apparatus remains unchanged according to the principle that the perfect enrichment of the bunches also passes through the green parts of the plant. Harvest takes three weeks, with repeated passages in the vineyard, starting from the younger plants, to finish with the older ones, which need more time to complete the ripening grape cycle.
The winery produces two wines, Second Vin Demoiselle de Sociando-Mallet, made from the youngest vines, located on the less deep soils, and Grand Vin Château Sociando-Mallet, the wine of the most historic and suitable soils. As for the latter, it is a blend of Merlot (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (47%) and Cabernet Franc (3%) which, once arrived in the cellar, macerate and ferment by means of indigenous yeasts, at a controlled temperature, in a mix of steel and cement tanks, keeping the various plots separate, with constant fulling and pumping over. They will be aged for 18 months in first and second stage barriques, before bottling without filtration and marketing.
The 2016 vintage shows a ruby color of great concentration, with an olfactory range that opens on notes of black cherry syrup, cooked plum, tomato sauce and carob, followed by pot pourri, red pepper, vanilla, roasted coffee, with final echoes of vinyl and carpentry. The palate is characterized by an austere density accompanied by a discreet softness, good sapidity and an incisive and rhythmic tannins; all enriched by fruit and dark spice that accompany the sip up to a very long finish.