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Château d’Arcins is steeped in character and overflowing with history… a place that inspires all who enter. Dressed stone façades decorated with pilasters, a sculpture lined pediment, stained glass windows… the property’s architecture unveils its legendary origins. And while the vineyard owes its existence to fourteenth century Knights of the Templar, the responsibility to passionately preserve and protect its heritage today rests with the Castel family.
Château d’Arcins is one of the Médoc’s oldest properties. Extraordinarily well preserved, it is one of the guardians of a vineyard that can be traced back to the year 1300. Beyond bricks and mortar, the property epitomises the region’s famous personality, defined by the extraordinary character of its landscapes, locals and lifestyle.
An unmissable stop on the Bordeaux region’s famous Route des Châteaux, Château d’Arcins is an enduring presence at the heart of its eponymous village. The château even gave the village its timeless name, by way of a certain Chevalier d’Ars, who can be traced back to when the place was home to Knights of the Order of Malta.
Having fallen in love with the château’s remarkable vineyard, the Castel Family acquired the property in 1971. Since that date, they have carried out a number of ambitious renovation projects, striving to reveal the property’s full potential. While a number of properties have since joined the family’s portfolio, this one continues to occupy a special place in the family history. Here, the family’s passion for wine is personified by Christiane Castel, sister to Pierre Castel, who lives at the property, working daily to preserve its character.
Château d’Arcins’ never-ending pursuit of quality allows it to be recognised year on year by the Crus Bourgeois classification, and to count among the members of the prestigious Grand Cercle des Vins de Bordeaux. Both of these institutions are vehicles enabling the property to pursue its long-standing commitment to the Médoc, defending the region’s interests and upholding its values.
Cultivating the Legend
Some legends are maintained. The Château d’Arcins legend is cultivated. Although its 101 hectare vineyard, planted in a single block around the estate, represents an extraordinary heritage, a considerable amount of work is required in order to reveal its full potential. This kind of technical precision necessitates close attention to the vines, and a deep respect for the property’s natural heritage, of which we are no more than temporary custodians. This is why Château d’Arcins is committed to responsible vineyard management, subscribing to the tenets of sustainable winegrowing that are enshrined by the Terra Vitis certification, held since 2018.
At Château d’Arcins, terroirs and varietals work as a pair, bringing out the essence of the Haut-Médoc. To the north of the property, gravelly soils reveal the elegance of the Cabernet Sauvignon. To the south, Merlot thrives in pockets of clay-rich soils, especially in a plot named “Queue de Boeuf” located near Moulis, which provides the blend with its signature mouthfeel.
At a vineyard with a density of 9600 plants per hectare, the deeply rooted vines are aged on average 30 years. This enables them access to the soil’s water and nutrients, encouraging biological activity and, in so doing, giving voice to the terroir.
Despite its size, the Château d’Arcins vineyard is managed with an approach based on rigorous plot selection. Attention to detail is as crucial in the vines as it is in the winery, especially when it comes to planting grass covers, which must be adapted to the vines’ rate of growth according to the particularities of the vintage. The chateau’s approach centres on understanding the terroir, bringing together respect for tradition and a desire for constant evolution.
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In the winery, Château d’Arcins displays the full force of its character. The interplay of lights and colours created by the stained-glass windows, coupled with the gentle trickle of the ornamental fountain, contribute to a peaceful atmosphere that belies a certain intensity of temperament. As far as vinification goes, the aim here is to perpetuate tradition, to preserve the unique style of the Médoc. At Château d’Arcins, timeless classicism is a stated objective.