55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc. The vineyard covers 85 hectares and has an average vine age of 40 years. Low Guyot pruning. Average yield is 55 hectoliters per hectare. Grapes are hand harvested in small crates and 100% destemmed. Malolactic fermentation takes place in concrete-lined stainless steel vats for 20 to 25 days. Only native yeasts are used. The wine is aged in oak barrels for 12 months, 100% new. Racked every three months during the course of ageing, the wine was then bottled unfined.
Quite simply one of the best and most respected winemakers in all of Bordeaux, Jean Gautreau has been creating some of the world's finest wines at Château Sociando-Mallet in Haut-Médoc for nearly a half-century.
In 1995, the cellarmaster of Sociando-Mallet had the idea of selecting fifteen barrels from among sixty to make a blend called "Cuvée Jean Gautreau." The choice of barrels was made during a blind tasting after one year of aging. The cellarmaster, the daughter/oenologist, Sylvie Gautreau, and Jean Gautreau evaluated wine from each barrel. The fifteen highest scoring barrels were blended and put into special bottles labeled as Cuvée Jean Gautreau. The eponymous wine has a higher proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon than Sociando-Mallet. While somewhat austere in its youth, it reaches its full potential with extended aging in the bottle.
Jean Gautreau is simply another version, indeed another vision, of the Sociando-Mallet spirit, offering a different blend from the estate's leading wine, the taste of a captured moment. It is neither more concentrated, or better, or a luxury product, or a marketing gimmick. It is just another way of approaching the exceptional gravelly terroir and extra-low yields from the same vineyards which produce Sociando-Mallet.
Jean never intended to make his namesake wine available to the public during his lifetime. Instead, he planned it as a legacy for Sylvie, so he produced the wine every year since 1995, bottled them, and kept them at the back of the cellar to age gracefully to be eventually released after his passing. Finally, in 2013, Jean changed his mind and decided to release 12 vintages, 1995 thru 2006, all at once. Jean Gautreau passed away in 2019 at the age of 92. His legacy lives on and drinking fantastic bottles of Sociando-Mallet and Jean Gautreau will be a constant reminder of his role as a pioneer in the world of wine.