Château la Connivence, Pomerol

Château la ConnivenceWhen Alexandre de Malet Roquefort of 1er Grand Cru Classé Château la Gaffelière decides to make a top Pomerol, you can be sure that it will not fall short of the mark. With a group of eminent friends, including Bordeaux businessman Jean-Luc Deloche and professional Bordeaux footballers Mathieu Chalmé and Johan Micoud, he has bought a 1.45 hectare (ha) plot of land from the former Château les Templiers which was being broken up for inheritance reasons.

Nowhere is terroir more hotly contested than in Pomerol, where the most renowned soils are clay on an iron pan – think Pétrus; whilst other equally illustrious Pomerols are to be found on entirely different soils of combined gravel and clay with gravel predominating – think Le Pin. At La Connivence the soil is light sand on top of solid gravel which former consultant Stéphane Derenoncourt describes as ‘not as good as Pétrus, but capable of making not just good but very good Pomerol.’ Wanting to concentrate only on the best terroir the Connivence team turned down an offer of more land from les Templiers, leaving them with just 0.9 ha currently planted with vines. More vines are due to be planted in 2010 but even when they come on stream the total productive land will only be a minute 1.3 ha (just over 3 acres).

Château la ConnivenceThe vines are young, just 10 years old at present, with around 98% Merlot and a smattering of Cabernet Franc. They are managed intensively during the growing season, from bud reduction to green harvesting, de-leafing and even cutting the number of grape bunches in order to produce a small, concentrated yield of just 20 hectolitres per hectare (hl/ha) in 2009 and 15 hl/ha in 2008, their first vintage. Yields will not be allowed to supersede 20hl/ha, with a total maximum potential production of just 3,000 bottles, so as to ensure that the wine retains its concentration even in less easy vintages.

In terms of vinification, the philosophy is very much to reproduce the terroir of the vineyard. Put in his words, when interviewed by Jancis Robinson MW: ‘That’s why wine is so great. It’s not just a drink but after time it becomes an expression of place and vintage’. Fermentation takes place in big, 400 litre barrels with traditional pigeage or punching down to mix the cap and juice to aid extraction of colour and tannins. Thereafter it is run into 100% new oak barrels where malolactic fermentation happens spontaneously when the wine is ready; the wine rests on its lees all winter with a first racking in the Spring after harvest. It will remain in barrel for around one and a half years, depending of course upon the vintage.

Château la ConnivenceInitially sceptical, particularly when introduced to the concept of celebrity footballers as backers of the project, we were not sure what to expect when we visited La Connivence. Glamour, perhaps, glitz definitely, however what we found instead was a windswept young vineyard on the edge of Pomerol with a determination and ambition to be amongst the best. Given the youth of the vines, we expected the wines to be over-extracted to compensate, however again our expectations were confounded – and what we found were beautifully concentrated, perfumed wines with a lovely combination of elegance and power and, we believe, the ability to age well into the future.

Château la ConnivenceWhat is clear is that this is a labour of love for all the parties involved, with a view to the long term, intent on making serious Pomerol and very far from just another ‘garage’ wine.

We are delighted that Private Cellar has been appointed as the UK agents for La Connivence. To visit the Château's website, please click here.

Château La Connivence is released during the en primeur campaign each Spring. Due to the size of the vineyard, quantities available are necessarily tiny so we recommend that you register your interest in advance of the campaign. For current availability and more information, please call us on 01353 721 999 or email laura@privatecellar.co.uk.

Press & Reviews

 Download our Château La Connivence brochure here

"Aléxandre explained that La Connivence means ‘little secret’, and the wine is the little secret among the four friends. With only one hectare of land, a maximum of 3,000 bottles production, and an allocation of only ten 6-bottle cases plus a few large formats for Hong Kong, wine lovers will certainly want to keep it a little secret. Google translates Connivence more literally as connivance or conspiracy ... which perhaps is more true!"
Read Tersina Shieh's review on her blog here: http://tersinawinejournal.blogspot.hk/ (Sunday 15th December 2013 or download it here as a PDF.

"An Absolute Stunner from Pomerol" click here to read Ali Nichol's Wine Times HK review of Château La Connivence after the wine was first launched in Hong Kong in October 2013.

In 1997,  Aléxandre de Malet Roquefort of 1er Grand Cru Classé Château la Gaffelière together with eminent friends including professional Bordeaux footballers Mathieu Chalmé and Johan Micoud (who also represented France at the 2002 World Cup and in their winning Euro 2000 team), acquired a 1.45 hectare vineyard in Pomerol.  They named it Château La Connivence and hence was born one of the best; if not the best wine I have ever tried from Pomerol.

Sure, that’s bold considered the competition from esteemed and long standing estates such as Petrus and Le Pin but considering the levels of production and the price tag of the wine, I think it is more than just a great wine from Pomerol – it is an exceptional wine.

- See more at: http://winetimeshk.com/an-absolute-stunner-from-pomerol/#sthash.6d0dQEZY.dpuf

In 1997,  Aléxandre de Malet Roquefort of 1er Grand Cru Classé Château la Gaffelière together with eminent friends including professional Bordeaux footballers Mathieu Chalmé and Johan Micoud (who also represented France at the 2002 World Cup and in their winning Euro 2000 team), acquired a 1.45 hectare vineyard in Pomerol.  They named it Château La Connivence and hence was born one of the best; if not the best wine I have ever tried from Pomerol.

Sure, that’s bold considered the competition from esteemed and long standing estates such as Petrus and Le Pin but considering the levels of production and the price tag of the wine, I think it is more than just a great wine from Pomerol – it is an exceptional wine.

- See more at: http://winetimeshk.com/an-absolute-stunner-from-pomerol/#sthash.6d0dQEZY.dpuf

" In 1997,  Aléxandre de Malet Roquefort of 1er Grand Cru Classé Château la Gaffelière together with eminent friends including professional Bordeaux footballers Mathieu Chalmé and Johan Micoud (who also represented France at the 2002 World Cup and in their winning Euro 2000 team), acquired a 1.45 hectare vineyard in Pomerol.  They named it Château La Connivence and hence was born one of the best; if not the best wine I have ever tried from Pomerol.

Sure, that’s bold considered the competition from esteemed and long standing estates such as Petrus and Le Pin but considering the levels of production and the price tag of the wine, I think it is more than just a great wine from Pomerol – it is an exceptional wine.
"
Ali Nicol, Wine Times HK

"Stephane Derenoncourt [is] consultant at this new property, that saw its first vintage in 2008. Cropped at 18 or 19 hl/h. Alcohol about 13.5%, because sandy terroir has managed to keep it delicate. Really a very good wine, lovely freshness, great red fruits, one of those brilliant 2009s that mask their power under this unbelievably silky cover. Could pretty much drink this right now, but feel certain that it will develop into something wonderful. Lovely (but £130 a bottle, so it should be). 95." Jane Anson, www.newbordeaux.com

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