At the northern tip of the Haut-Médoc, overlooking the Gironde from its position on the Cos plateau, Château Lilian Ladouys, with its two imposing turrets, flies the flag for the Médoc region and watches proudly over the sea of vines that surrounds it.
Situated on the axis that joins Calon Ségur and Lilian Ladouys, the Domaine’s vines cover over 80 hectares in the appellation’s most outstanding terroirs. The vines are planted in gravelly soils on a clay and limestone subsoil, the undisputed geological treasures of the appellation.
The domaine has undertaken an extensive restructuring plan as part of its quest for excellence. The parcels have been isolated and planted with carefully chosen varietals, in keeping with the 19th century traditions at the Domaine, in order to enable them to reveal their true potential.
The vine parcels at Lilian Ladouys are now able to reflect the full complexity and depth of these Saint-Estèphe terroirs.
Les informations clefs du vignoble du Château Lilian Ladouys
50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc
80% de sols graveleux, 20% de sols argilo-calcaires
Precision is the byword in the vineyards. Man’s hand carries out the same perfectly orchestrated rituals, vintage after vintage.
Pruning, cutting, trellising, binding and sexual confusion techniques are carried out prior to the first tillage. These practices are followed by shoot removal, vine lifting, a second round of shoot removal, careful leaf stripping and, very early on in the year, a second round of vine lifting. Green harvesting is carried out where necessary as well as 4 to 6 cuttings, 4 to 8 tillages and 4 samples are taken in order to assess ripeness levels. This equates to no less than 40 different interventions each year and for each vine stock by our winemakers.
A sustainable approach
Lilian Ladouys is committed to respectful and sustainable winemaking practices. The domaine encourages practices that allow the vine to breathe and the microbiological life of the soils to thrive. As such, mycorrhization remains central to our cultivation methods. These microorganisms, which evolve in symbiosis with the vine and enable it to absorb all of the nutrients it needs from the soils, are stimulated by tillage. Alternating tillage and grassing is instrumental for this, as is the use of compost or green manure. Preference is given to grain and plant composts made by one of our Médoc based partners.
The efforts undertaken by the Domaine in preserving our ecosystem and nurturing our terroir were awarded with HVE (High Environmental Value) level 3 certification in 2018. This is the highest of the three levels and attests to our use of cultivation practices that protect our environment and our biodiversity.
True to its ecological approach, Lilian Ladouys also adheres to the Natura 2000 charter which encourages respectful environmental practices and forbids the use of fertilisers, CMR substances and endocrine disruptors.
These environmental efforts go hand in hand with the strong desire to continue to improve the quality of the wines at Château Lilian Ladouys, year upon year.
The planting ratio
The planting ratio has been carefully selected in order to provide the most suitable balance for our terroirs: 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet-Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc.
Merlot is the predominant varietal and is used in higher proportions at Lilian Ladouys than in other Saint-Estèphe wine domaines. It thrives in these clay-limestone and gravel soils which lend it its incredible freshness. It imparts structure and a sensation of depth to the wines.
Cabernet Sauvignon, the appellation’s emblematic varietal, remains a well loved friend in our newly planted vineyards and is well-suited to the deep gravel, sand and clay soils here. It is used in high proportions in our wines in order to give them their distinctive and complex characters.
Petit Verdot, the traditional Médoc varietal, has achieved excellent results in our newly planted vineyards. It imparts spicy notes and adds a little je-ne-sais-quoi whilst strengthening the wine’s identity.
A vineyard restructured
Creating an outstanding Saint-Estèphe wine begins with selecting the finest terroirs for the blend.
Since 2008 the Domaine has undergone extensive restructuring works in its vineyards. It made the decision to bring the focus back to its finest, primarily gravel terroirs with the objective of taking quality to new levels and producing some of the appellation’s finest wines.
In 2018 the Domaine acquired adjoining parcels from Château Clauzet and Château Tour de Pez, parcels which displayed the ideal characteristics for the new planting strategy at Château Lilian Ladouys. These parcels have taken the surface under vine at the Domaine to 80.5 hectares. The soil composition is now 80% gravel (compared to 67% previously) and 20% clay-limestone (compared to 34% previously).
Owing to this increase in both quality and quantity at the Domaine, the selection process for the first and second wines has become much stricter. The 2008 vintage, which included the grapes harvested from the newly planted parcels, confirmed the success of the new parcel approach with these increasingly distinctive and well-balanced wines.