Bouteiller is one of the most famous names in the Médoc. For many years the family owned Château Pichon-Longueville Baron in Pauillac, before it was acquired by the AXA insurance empire, and Hubert Bouteiller was formerly president of the Conseil Interprofessionel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB). He recently retired in 2009 and named a new woman winemaker, Paz Espajo, to take over the flagship estate, Château Lanessan.
Paz Espajo was raised in the renowned Ribera del Duero district in Spain, and originally came to Bordeaux as an enologist for the Cordier firm. The Bouteiller family hired her based on her impressive winemaking skills and her progressive ideas. Her first objective was to modernize the fermenting facilities, which were over eighty years old. Her second job was to make the vintages more consistent, and expand the production of a second wine, Les Calèches de Lanessan, so that the main label could be fuller and finer.
Lanessan is the flagship of the Bouteiller properties. Jean Delbos bought the property in 1793, and through marriage the estate has remained in the family ever since. It has been incorporated as a vineyard for over 400 years, and was unfortunately left out of the famous 1855 Médoc classification because Louis Delbos, the owner at the time, neglected to send samples for the judging. The property lies right on the southern border with Saint-Julien and borders Château Branaire-Ducru. Over 40 hectares (100 acres) are planted in vines, of which 75% are Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The average age of the vines is about 40 years, and yields are deliberately kept low.
No discussion of Lanessan would be complete without mentioning the Horse Museum, constructed by Jean Bouteiller, a champion equestrian. He built a special building in 1951 to celebrate his passion for riding, and over the years it has become one of the area’s showpieces. The museum is complete with stables, a saddle-room, a tackle-room and a carriage house, in which several antique phaetons and coaches are on display. All have been carefully preserved in their original condition, and the museum can be visited year round.