The Countess Alexandra

Fleurie: Vision & ambition for an outstanding terroir

Growing your own vines and producing your own wine is an intimate thing. I don't have family roots in Beaujolais and for me it's a choice of terroir because I rank the granitic soils of Fleurie among the greatest terroirs in France. Until the end of the 1970s, the prices of wines from Fleurie, Moulin-à-Vent and Saint-Amour were higher than those of Gevrey-Chambertin, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Châteauneuf-du-Pape or Margaux. Today, the wines of the fifties and sixties taste marvellously and offer density, complexity and freshness, proof of the greatness of their terroir. They come from the foothills of the Massif Central, 350 million year old soils made of granite, feldspar, schist, mica, quartz, gneiss etc. These soils are common to the Northern Rhône, Côte Rôtie, Condrieu and Hermitage appellations. The vineyard is planted with very old vines (60 to 100 years old) of Gamays, Viognier, Chardonnay and Syrah in massal selection on Riparia Gloire and Viala, plants of the highest order.

Alexandra de Vazeilles: the story of a passion

Both MBA and graduate in oenology and viticulture

I have an MBA from Northwestern University Kellogg in Chicago - finance and strategy - and a degree in viticulture and enology. I worked and lived in the US for 15 years. Before To acquire my own vineyard, thus allowing me to express myself fully and to realise my dream, I trained with the greatest, at Château Latour in Pauillac - Premier Grand Cru Classé 1855, at Domaine de Montille in Volnay and at Domaine Roulot in Meursault.
At Château des Bachelards, I broke the codes of the region and defined my style from the first vintage, knowing that biodynamic viticulture is a big part of it, as well as my vision and ambition for my terroir. I chose this terroir on my own, one cold January morning, I did not inherit it, my parents were not winegrowers, it is my choice and that changes a lot. Growing your own vineyard and making your own wine is an intimate thing. Wine is an invitation to inspiration, to dream, to travel because my wine is the expression of a singular place. There is a spiritual dimension between Man and the Earth which makes its interpretation singular. In this I join the work of the Benedictine monks who founded the estate and produced their wine there for eight centuries.
This is my interpretation of each vintage of the place called Les Bachelards, which is a unique place. This is also what makes my job fabulous. The thing about great wines is that they are like no other and can age quietly for 20 years. My wines have a velvety mouth feel, silky tannins and endless length. I thank Mother Nature for these first seven vintages and we are redoubling our efforts in the quest to make our great wines. Indeed, making a good wine is easy, but making a great wine is the result of constant attention to the vines and the fruit of renewed intuition, a vision of the vintage, an ambition for the land and an intimate relationship with the terroir.

The granite and its autochthonous and king grape variety, the Gamays.

An enduring tradition

Gamay is conjugated in the plural here because the massal selection of the Château des Bachelards tends to prove that there are several of them... An ampelographic study is in progress.

Then one day, I stopped in the Rhône, in Fleurie to be precise. I fell in love with what I consider to be one of the most beautiful and complex terroirs in France. I acquired the Château des Bachelards and its old vines. From now on, my terroir will be the granite of the primary area and its native grape variety, Gamay, brother of Chardonnay and the king child of Pinot.

Formerly the wine estate of the monks of Cluny, the vines now cover 12 hectares, including 6 hectares in Fleurie, all in one piece around the château, which is surrounded by an enclosure and cultivated like a garden. To this can be added my vines of Moulin-à-Vent and Saint Amour. Challenge for challenge, the Château des Bachelards will also produce wines with Viognier and Syrah grapes.