Terroir is a combination of soil-and-climatic factors and specific characteristics of the terrain (relief, wind, presence of waterbodies, woodlands, insolation, surrounding animal and vegetal life, human factors), which determine the varietal characteristics of produced wines. It is one of the fundamental notions of French oenology.
The Chateau Guges’ vineyards, located in the very heart of the Médoc region, benefit from Medoc’s privileged terroir for many reasons:
The Medoc peninsula is surrounded by two very important water bodies: the Atlantic Ocean and the Gironde estuary. This situation contribute, by regulating the temperature, to create a favorable microclimate for the vineyard and the grapes.
Soil and subsoil
The soils of the Medoc’s region are mostly composed of alluvial layers brought for millennia by the Garonne. They have a slightly high proportion of gravels, with more or less proportion of sand and clay. This kind of soils gives the vines a chance to work hard to get to provide itself with water and nutrients. An adage states that the vines must suffer to produce concentrated wine grapes… From this point of view, the degree of suffering of the vine in Medoc has reached its climax!
At Château GUGÈS, the soils consist in different proportions of the gravel, sometimes coarse, mixed with sand and clay. In the basement, there is a clay-limestone matrix (asteroid limestone) which thickness can reach several meters. Slight variations in the component proportions are very important – they can generate great differences in quality of wine, even between two neighbouring plots. It is precisely from this variety of terroirs that the diversity of wines is born.
The altitude of slopes is very low, from 10 to 12 meters on average at Château GUGÈS. They descend toward the forest, and shallow streams allow the rapid evacuation of rainwater. Soils are well drained, and the vine can evolve to give each plot a character specific to its terroir.
The vineyards are mainly planted with the colorful Cabernet Sauvignon (traditional for the northern part of the Medoc) and the elegant Merlot, with also a small proportion of the spicy Petit Verdot and the herbal Cabernet Franc.
- Cabernet Sauvignon gives the bouquet a taste of eternity, saturating it with the shades of black currant, spices and coffee.
- Merlot builds the structure of the wine, making it round and soft. Fruity moods of Merlot appear in juicy shades of plum and cherry, with floral flavors of rose and violet.
- Petit Verdot offers flavors of dried herbs and tart blueberry. It also brings a deep black color to the wines.
- Cabernet Franc brings tension to the wines and offers floral, plum, blackberry, cassis, spice and fresh herb flavors.