We love visiting Jean Gautreau. Not just because we’re guaranteed to taste his renowned wines (and, yes, he does break out some special cuvées once the “official” tasting has finished) but also because Château Sociando Mallet has the best view of the Gironde of any Médoc château we’ve visited. Some say that the best wines are produced by vines that overlook the river but it takes more than that to produce wines of this quality.
Jean is as traditional as they come amongst the winemakers on the left bank. On a visit in winter we saw his loyal team pruning the vines by hand. Visit in spring and you’ll be treated to the spectacle of horse drawn ploughs toiling between the vines. Later in September, Jean can be found tasting the grapes and glancing at the sky as he judges ripeness. When the time comes, it’s all hands-on deck as the fruit is hand-harvested and sorted.