On the sandy Medoc plains around the village of Pauillac, down a dirt track road there are two small parcels making up about 30 rows of 60-year-old Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon vines planted by Sophie Martin’s father and grandfather. They sold the grapes to local cooperatives until 2010, when neighbouring coop growers started selling their land to Lynch-Bages, Sophie decided to build a barn in her garden and buy winemaking equipment.
Her 0.62 hectares of Pauillac vines in the Bages lieut-dit produce around 3 - 4,000 bottles each vintage, making her the smallest Pauillac producer by a short mile and it’s with celebration that I welcome her wines onto the UK market. The Pauillac is 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, making it especially elegant and fragrant in style, whilst maintaining its rustic gravelly structure.
Machinery is kept at bay, stripping leaves by hand, hand-harvesting to separate Merlot and Cabs for optimal ripeness, grape crushing and punch-down by foot and racking using gravity. The wines spend 18 months in barriques (one third new, one third second year, one third third year), when they are then fined in barriques before bottling by gravity.
Only a 5 minute drive away, Sophie also has 4.5 Ha in Saint Laurent Médoc, where she has 40-year-old vines planted in limestone-clay soils and makes 6,000 bottles of Haut Médoc, which she calls La Petite Julia. This 2020 vintage is a blend of 60% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot. The wine offers ripe fruit, generous texture, an elegant finish and comes in at a very modest price-point.