CHÂTEAU MALARTIC LAGRAVIERE
- Alfred-Alexandre Bonnie
- Jean-Jacques Bonnie
In 1803, the Domaine de Lagravière was bought by Pierre de Malartic. However, it was a subsequent owner, the widow of Arnaud Ricard, a barrel-maker in Léognan who acquired the property in 1850, that appended Malartic to the château name. It was done in hommage to Pierre’s uncle, Comte Anne-Joseph-Hippolyte Maurès de Malartic, a famous officer of the French army in the 18th century and for a time governor of the island known today as Mauritius. Hence the sailing vessel on the wine label of Malartic-Lagravière. The Ricards also acquired Domaine de Chevalier in 1865 followed by Château de Fieuzal and Château Haut-Gardère. Angèle Ricard inherited Malartic-Lagravière in 1901. Her grand-daughter, Simone, married the estate manager Jacques Marly. This couple sold the estate to the champagne group Laurent-Perrier in 1990, which in turn decided to sell in 1997.
In the hands of the new owners, Michèle and Alfred-Alexandre Bonnie, the renaissance of Malartic-Lagravière began. Major investments were made, including the construction of a new chai, or vat rooms and cellars. Expert consultants were brought in to contribute to fine-tune the wines, Denis Dubourdieu for the whites until 2000, and Michel Rolland for the reds. Today it is Alfred-Alexandre's son Jean-Jacques, together with his wife Séverine, that have control of Château Malartic-Lagravière.
When the Bonnie family became owners of the Château, the vineyards were subject to a detailed analysis and a new programme of planting began; some vines were grubbed up, others newly planted, and there was even expansion with the purchase of 18 hectares from neighbouring estates, including a 7-hectare vineyard that had once originally belonged to Malartic-Lagravière. Malartic-Lagravière has a superbly located vineyard that covers 53 hectares on a typical soil of this Graves region: dry gravel on a clay subsoil. Seven hectares are devoted to white grapes, forty-six hectares are planted with red grapes.
Alfred-Alexandre Bonnie set out revitalizing the estate, with new developments in the château which was expanded, vineyard and chai. Bonnie started with new cellars based entirely on gravity and fully equipped with temperature-controlled stainless steel and new oak vats.
In recent vintages, progress has been made with the reds, which have taken on more weight and vigour while displaying the elegance and the delicious red fruit of the classic Graves styles. The white improved significantly as well and has proven to be a fragrant, deliciously citric, lively and refreshing wine, one of the most beautiful expressions of the Bordeaux style of Sauvignon.