The Bijou of Margaux

Situated a stone’s throw away from the Gironde, Ferrière (Troisième Cru) is the little gem of a Bordeaux estate, comprising merely 16ha of vineyards. The vineyards are located in the communes of Margaux and Cantenac, some of which are next to those of the namesake Château Margaux (Premier Cru). Planted with 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc, Ferrière’s soil composition is characterised by deep Garonne gravel on limestone marls. This superb terroir is one important reason behind the estate’s ranking in the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855 during the reign of Napoléon III.
The name of the estate came from its founder, Gabriel Ferrière, royal grosvenor and wine broker of the Ancien Régime, as well as an illustrious member of the court of Louis XV in the mid-18th century. His cousin, Jean Ferrière, became the mayor of Bordeaux in 1795 after the fall of Maximilien de Robespierre – the mastermind of the Reign of Terror. Owned by the same family until 1914, the estate changed hands several times in the 20th century.
Upon acquiring ownership in 1988, the Villars family started a thorough modernisation of Ferrière to restore its former glory. The driving force behind this revival is Claire Villars-Lurton, who geared the estate towards organic and biodynamic viticulture. In addition to Ferrière, she is the owner of Haut-Bages Libéral (Cinquième Cru) and La Gurgue (Cru Bourgeois Supérieur), as well as co-owner of Domeyne (Cru Bourgeois) along with her husband Gonzague Lurton, himself owner of Durfort-Vivens (Deuxième Cru).
With berries entirely hand-picked, Ferrière’s namesake grand vin is typically matured in French oak barrels – 40% new – for 18 months. Interpreting Margaux’s signature finesse and elegance at very delicate prices, Ferrière is rarely overlooked by the savvy connoisseurs. As for second vin, the estate produces Les Remparts de Ferrière.

1-FerriereChâteau Ferrière 2010
A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot and 2 % Cabernet Franc. Dark garnet with Burgundy-purple rim, the nose is complex and nuanced, offering dense cassis, black cherry and damson for fruits, interwoven with clove, forest mushroom and violet. Buttressed by generous acidity and mellow tannins, the palate is ripe and scented, radiating vivid bilberry, blackberry and prune for fruits, complemented by liquorice, cocoa and Christmas spice. Medium-full bodied at 13.5%, the measured entry transforms into an animated mid-palate, leading to a persistent finish. From the superlative 2010 vintage, long-term will be rewarding.

2-FerriereChâteau Ferrière 2006
A blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Merlot. Rich garnet with cardinal-ruby rim, the nose is floral and serene, revealing delicate blueberry, red cherry and plum for fruits, interlaced with cinnamon, sous bois and sandalwood. Underpinned by lively acidity and silk tannins, the palate is composed and discreet, providing succulent raspberry, redcurrant and morello cherry for fruits, enriched with bouquet garni, allspice and rooibos tea. Medium-bodied at 13%, the subtle entry continues through a focused mid-palate, leading to a stylish finish. From the commendable 2006 vintage, mid-term cellaring is an option.

3-FerriereChâteau Ferrière 2004
A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot. Dark garnet with carmine-chestnut rim, the nose is elegant and radiant, exuding bright bilberry and black cherry for fruits, intertwined with cinnamon, cocoa, sous bois and violet. Supported by juicy acidity and suave tannins, the palate is aromatic and rounded, presenting fleshy morello cherry and damson for fruits, augmented by clove, mushroom, coffea arabica and cedarwood. Medium-bodied at 13%, the herbal entry evolves into a fruit-driven mid-palate, leading to a firm finish. From the creditable 2004 vintage, this wine has already hit top gear.

Available via multiple channels – wine merchants, hotels and restaurants etc.

by Jacky I.F. Cheong
Jacky I.F. Cheong is a legal professional by day and columnist by night. Having spent his formative years in Britain, France, and Germany, he regularly writes about wine, fine arts, classical music, and politics in several languages.
Categories World of Bacchus