A passion profession
The art of cultivation
For 9 generations, a ritual has been born in the Lamothe family: the winemaker of the previous generation teaches to the following one, the importance of respecting the environment and the taste for work well done. Being closer to nature and keeping the connexion between Man and Vine, is essential to create great wines and reveal the typicity of our terroirs. To find this harmony with nature, we are continually questioning ourselves. The attention paid to our plots allows us to adapt our actions to help the vine offer the best. A philosophy strengthened since the 90s, which makes the estate a precursor in the integrated management of the vineyard.
Heirs of this wonderful heritage, we must cultivate, take care and protect the vine, this outstanding plant, in order to pass it on better to future generations.
Although the cycle of the vine is the same every year, each vintage is unique, and our profession differs each year. To preserve the balance of the vine and cope with weather conditions, diseases and pests, rigor is required. A meticulous and precise follow-up allows us to know perfectly each of our parcels.
The ancestral gestures transmitted by our forebears are applied, to give them the same care, with a particular attention paid to our old vines.
The return to natural methods:
With an average age of 50 years and up to 121 years for the oldest, our vines are old enough to produce great wines. The pruning of the vines, very short (6 to 8 buds / vine), is the most adapted pruning method for our grape varieties, in order to reduce their yield in favor of very concentrated juices. Despite the humidity of our climate, we have chosen to limit interventions and inputs as much as possible. The observation of each plot allows us to calculate in real time the risks incurred by the vine, in order to calculate thoroughly and apply preventive treatments and therefore less harmful.
Since 2000, we have decided to priorize soil preparation. Thus, we alternate between covering and baring the vine’s stock base and superficial work in the strictest tradition, which favors aeration of the soil, and forces the roots of the vine to fetch their nutrients in depth. Natural grassing, allows regulation of the hygrometry of the soils and maintain the vigor of the vine. We adopted this method in 2009. The fertilizers are applied rationally, using organic materials based on composted grape marc and bovine manure.With an average age of 50 years and up to 121 years for the oldest, our vines are old enough to produce great wines.
The pruning of the vines, very short (6 to 8 buds / vine), is the most adapted pruning method for our grape varieties, in order to reduce their yield in favor of very concentrated juices. Despite the humidity of our climate, we have chosen to limit interventions and inputs as much as possible. The observation of each plot allows us to calculate in real time the risks incurred by the vine, in order to calculate thoroughly and apply preventive treatments and therefore less harmful. Since 2000, we have decided to priorize soil preparation. Thus, we alternate between covering and baring the vine’s stock base and superficial work in the strictest tradition, which favors aeration of the soil, and forces the roots of the vine to fetch their nutrients in depth. Natural grassing, allows regulation of the hygrometry of the soils and maintain the vigor of the vine. We adopted this method in 2009. The fertilizers are applied rationally, using organic materials based on composted grape marc and bovine manure.
with our terroirs
Our love and deep respect for these exceptional terroirs encourage us to create unique wines, sublimating each of them. Château Haut-Bergeron has been distinguished by its particularity in making wines from two distinct locations. The first one in Sauternes, which brings richness and structure to our wines, and the second area in the village of Barsac, that gives a perfect balance to the wine with minerality and freshness.
As a consequence, it makes our work more laborious, but it also gives us the chance to have a good sampling of each terroir.
On one hand, the soils are sandy-gravelly with clayey subsoils especially when rising on the slopes of Sauternes (two thirds of our vineyards), near the Château Yquem, which brings power, richness and structure to our wines.
On the other hand, when we get closer to the Garonne valley, near Barsac, the soils are clayey-limestony with limestone subsoils, which gives different wines, focused on minerality, liveliness and nervousness, often less opulent than those of Sauternes but generally fresher in terms of balance and aromas.
The king of Sauternes grape varieties.
Productive and perfect for the development of noble rot.
Brings richness and roundness to wines.
Aromas of hazelnut, apricot, orange, acacia flowers and honey.
The brilliant second grape variety of Sauternes.
We are planting it more and more again.
Very sensitive to noble rot. Provides structure, freshness, acidity, minerality and aromatic complexity.
Citrus and white peach notes.
Participates modestly in the confection of some Sauternes.
Very sweet, slightly musky juice with floral and exotic fruits aromas.
All the care given to the vine during the vegetative cycle allows us to pick high quality fruit when the harvest comes: the noble grain, a botrytised berry that has reached an optimal over-maturity. Accuracy, responsiveness over time, and know-how in harvesting are therefore essential. For that reason, our harvest is done manually by about forty experienced pickers.
We pick up to 6 times on the same plot to select only the perfect berries. For our first wine, every year, a very strict plot selection allows us to harvest only the grapes from our best terroirs.
showered with medals
Since 1964, Château Haut-Bergeron has recorded no less than 118 medals, including 68 gold medals, which makes it the most rewarded winery of Sauternes.
The role of women during the war
The role of the spouses has always been important alongside the winemakers, but it became a determining factor during the successive wars. This is the case of Fernande Lamothe who assured all the difficult tasks in the vineyard for several years while her husband Gaston and his employee Adrien, had been called to fight in 1939.
1942 and 1945 were two beautiful vintages.
Jean Paul Kauffman
During his 3-years detention in Lebanon, the journalist writer Jean-Paul Kauffman said that he often used to dream of good wines and among others a certain Haut-Bergeron. In his book ” Voyage à Bordeaux ” he wrote after his release, he talks about our estate and its owner ” The excellent Robert Lamothe ” …
The child of the house
Adrien Lafabrie was a 12-year-old boy born in 1919 in a modest family, when our family welcomed him. Imprisoned during the war at age 19 for 5 years, when he was released, he returned to the farm and fell in love with Germaine, an employee of the Château. Together, they got married at Haut-Bergeron, and lived not far from the winery. For more than 50 years, Adrien and Germaine worked tirelessly for Haut-Bergeron. When he died, Adrien went to join eternity while drinking a bottle of Haut-Bergeron.
Gratifying for Haut Bergeron but dishonest
For a few years, an unscrupulous wine merchant was coming to buy Haut-Bergeron in order to sell them. It was working very well : indeed, he was dressing our bottles with labels, capsules and caps of one of the most famous Chateau of the appellation! An effective way to make a good living, but fortunately, justice has quickly solved this problem.
In 9, great vintages
Did you know ?
For Château Haut-Bergeron, almost all years in 9 are exceptional years!
1929, 1949, 1959, 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999, 2009.
Some years deprived of Château Haut-Bergeron
In viticulture and especially in Sauternes, Mother Nature reigns. We often had the opportunity to check this fact : the years 1927, 1930, 1931, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1938, 1941, 1944, 1951, 1954, 1958, 1960, 1963, 1965, 1974, and 1993 were deprived us of Bergeron (or very few bottles on certain vintages).
In order to unify the vineyard and facilitate the work of viticulture, we have made in recent years an exchange of parcels of equivalent quality with our illustrious neighbor Yquem. A 60-ares plot ares that we cherish preciously
Robert, an exceptional man
Robert Lamothe has been one of the main actors in the dynamics of Haut-Bergeron during the last 50 years. But his role in the profession and interprofession was also decisive. The highest responsibilities at the Syndicat and at the Maison du Sauternes, his involvement with the CIVB, the INAO and the FDGVB were hailed in December 2005 by the Chevalier medal and then the Commander of the Mérite Agricole, awarded by the minister of the agriculture of the time.
Our “old ladies”
Following the catastrophic episode of Phylloxera, some rows of vines have fortunately survived. These vines, we call “our old ladies”, are today more than 100 years old ! Guarantors of the past, we pay them special attention, and their grapes, collected with the greatest care, have been dedicated to a special cuvée since 1996. The vines are 100% Sémillon and they are the great pride of the Château. Surprisingly fresh, precise and balanced, endowed with a wide aromatic palette and an endless length, this exceptional nectar with a honeyed taste will make you feel like you are a bee the time of a tasting.
A plot of exception
In 1990, the property expanded thanks to the purchase of a plot located between the two branches of Ciron. It’s a small island !
Unique in Sauternes ! Ideally located, this plot benefits from a prodigious development of noble rot !