Château La Fleur de Gay : a five centuries genesis
de l’importance de ce qu’ils ont en charge et de consentir au sacrifice pour maintenir quelque chose qu’ils considèrent être
plus important qu’eux même, quelque chose qui les dépasse un peu. » Aubert de Villaine 1
(If the family in charge of a domain needs one strength, it is to be aware of the importance of what they are in charge
of and to accept the concessions to maintain something that they consider to be more important than themselves, something that exceeds them.)
A family at Pomerol since 1477
The vineyard of château La Fleur de Gay is currently developed by the Lebreton family heir of a line of Pomerol winemakers that began their trade in 1772 but first arrived in the village in1477.
The ancestors of the Raynaud-Lebreton family, Mathelin and Michel Barraud, received at this date, as a lease from the Hospitallers of Saint John of Jerusalem, some lands at the center of the Pomerol's shelf. This tenement called the Barrauderie was the land of the current Pétrus, châteaux l’Evangile, la Conseillante, Gazin, Petit Village and Vieux Château Certan 2.
de la peine à faire valoir, vu la terre peu fertile, en grande partie graveleuse, a perdu son nom qui perpétuait celui de ces courageux pionniers ;
il nous serait même inconnu sans les documents tirés des archives. Curieux contraste, c’est aujourd’hui la partie la plus riche
de la commune de Pomerol, celle qui contient les crus de vins les plus célèbres. » 3
(This tenement that two poor ploughter took in lease in 1477 while it was desert and with nothing to value on it, given its lack of fertility as largely gravelly, has lost its name which honoured these brave pioneers; it would be even unknown without documents from the archives.
Curious contrast, as it has become the richest part of the commune of Pomerol, which contains some of the most famous wines.)
A vintners family since 1772
While the 18th century corresponded to the advent of the quality of the vineyards in Saint Emilion and Pomerol, in 1772 the parish registers specify that Jean Brugnet, ancestor (sixth generation) to the current owners of the château La Croix Gay, was winemaker in Pomerol.
Therefore the current owners of the château La Fleur Gay is probably one of the oldest winemaker family in Pomerol.
The 19th and 20th century
During the 19th and 20th century the domaine was transmitted through women. From generation to generation their husband have transmitted a winemaking knowledge as well as the knowledge of the terroirs of Pomerol proof of the regularity and quality of the wines of the domaine.
They were :
- Barthélemy Larroucaud (Mayor of Pomerol from 1871 to 1874 and from 1876 to 1883),
- Jean Angle (founding member of the wine-growing Union of Pomerol, winemaker for the château Gazin (Mr Quenedey), Rouget (Mr Cabanes),
Certan (Demoiselles de May) and Father Antoine Faure, parish priest of Pomerol from 1861 to 1905),
- Jean Marie Barraud (Mayor of Pomerol from 1912-1919, first assistant secretary and founding member of the wine-growing Union of Pomerol).
Noel RAYNAUD (1923-1997)
Bordeaux culture of the blend / Burgundian love of the terroir : the birth of château La Fleur de Gay
In the second part of the 20th century, Noel Raynaud taken charge the family vineyard.
He has the vision of the exceptional synergistic potential of three plots located on some of the most extraordinary terroirs of the high terrace of Pomerol :
- The pure clay “buttonhole” of Pétrus area,
- The clay-gravel soil of Gay, neighboring chateau Lafleur,
- The gravels with a high graining from Groupey neighboring chateau Trotanoy.
In 1982, with this three plots he made château La Fleur de Gay combining burgundian idea of « climat », exceptional individuality of this three terroirs, and bordeaux culture of the blend.
Château La Fleur de Gay was quickly recognized for his excellence :
rivaling even the great Pétrus in complexity and intensity. » Robert Parker 4
(…, rich texture and aroma (noble) infinitely superior - for our taste - at the Pin. The 1992 and 1991 confirm,
by their fullness and style, so hard to achieve in such difficult vintages, the present supremacy of this cuvée.)
However, in 1997, after 51 harvest (1947-1997) and a life devoted to his property and the Pomerol appellation (active member of the wine-growing Union and a founding member of the brotherhood of the Hospitallers of Pomerol (1968)), Noël Raynaud permanently rejoined the land he loved so much.
His wife Geneviève Raynaud then entrusted to their daughter Chantal Lebreton the burden of the operation of the château la Fleur de Gay. She was joined in this task for the 2009 and 2010 harvests by her brother Alain Raynaud.
The 21st century
After their mum passed away, brother and sister took different paths. Alain sold the shares he had of the property; while Chantal, supported by her husband and her children, decided to follow the family tradition.
Refocused on the earth of our vineyard, with a new cellar on our historic hamlet, surrounded with a team which each year support us in expressing the terroir and continuity of winemaking technics, the story of our winemaker family with Pomerol continues.
- Aubert de Villaine co-gérant du Domaine de la Romanée Conti, Thomas Bravo-Maza, « Quatre saisons à la Romanée Conti »,
France Télévisions et Compagnie des phares et balises, 2011.
- Arch de la Haute-Garonne, fonds de Malte, H. Commanderie de Bordeaux : Reconnaissance en parchemin pour Poumeyrol, de l’année 1746, reg. 982, Decazes, notaire
- Garde J. A. Société historique et archéologique de Libourne. Histoire de Pomerol. Libourne : Imprimerie libournaise, 1946. p 58.
- Parker R. Bordeaux, a comprehensive guide to the wines produced from 1961-1990. New York : Simon & Schuster. 1991. p 593.
- Parker R. Bordeaux, a comprehensive guide to the wines produced from 1961-1990. New York : Simon & Schuster. 1991. p 606.
- La revue du vin de France (A propos du millésime 1993). Juin 1994.