Always the territory of powerful men, Beychevelle boasts a long and rich history. During the Middle Ages, when it was owned by the counts of Foix-Candale, the wine was shipped from the port at the bottom of the garden. Bishop François de Foix-Candale had a first château built in 1565. He was followed by Jean-Louis de Nogaret de la Valette, first Due d’Épernon and Admiral of France, his son Bernard who added the central portion of the château in 1644, then Henri de Foix-Candale. In the eighteenth century, the property belonged successively to Jean-Baptiste d’Abadie, President of the Bordeaux parliament; to the Brassier family who partially rebuilt the château, giving the building its present form; and to the ship-owner Jacques Conte.
The vineyards of Pauillac lie to the west of the town, parallel with the Gironde. The northern vineyards are slightly higher on more noticeable slopes than those of the south. Both areas have infertile soil that is very stony. In the south the gravel stones are generally larger than in the north, forming pebbles. The entire area is bedded in strata than ensure good drainage.The French wine of Pauillac is strongly influenced by its terroir. It is rich in colour (purple or granite red) strong, powerful, with substantial backbone and tannin, but also juicy, very refined, and elegant. It is worth leaving for at least five years but far better ten before opening.
Some of the characteristic aromas are blackcurrant, cherry, plum, strawberry, raspberry, violet, rose, iris, cedarwood (of cigar boxes), vanilla, menthol, spices, cocoa, coffee, liquorice, leather, and toast. This robust French wine with a great deal of finesse and elegance is just as delicious with a simple but wonderful roast leg of lamb, served with mushrooms as it is with a tournedos Rossini (with real goose liver and truffle).
The Saint-Julien parish has existed since the seventh century according to some historians, the eighth according to others. In its early days the parish was in the archdiocese of Moulis. Known as Saint-Julien-de-Reignac, the commune changed its name to Saint-Julien-Beychevelle in the first half of the twentieth century, adding the name of the small port and hamlet whose activity contributed to the wine’s fame. During the seventeenth century a few aristocrats and well- informed owners discovered the terroirsexceptional wine-growing potential.
This commune, practically in the center of the Haut-Médoc, is separated from Cussac in the south by marshland created by two streams originating in the Saint-Laurent region. Rising up from the Beychevelle marsh is the attractive gravelly crest of Beychevelle, and on the north-east is the Saint-Julien hilltop, separated from Pauillac by the Juillac stream.