- Entre-deux-Mers, Bordeaux, France
The Hitier-Buffeteau family has been running Château Haut-Dambert for three generations; Jean-Luc Buffeteau, also an oenologist, is now taking care of the domaine. They have 30-hectares located in two villages, ten hectares in Castelnieu and 20 hectares in Gornac. Gornac is in the Haut-Benauge, which is considered one of the most complex areas for whites in the Entre-deux-Mers.
In the vineyards, the Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris and Muscadelle are planted at 4,500 vines per hectare, well above the minimum of 3,300 vines per hectare. The vines grow on hillsides at 80 to 130 meters elevation and the limestone soil gives complexity to the wines. Buffeteaux is very conscientious about products that they use on vines; about 70% of treatments are organic or biocontrol products. They do use some synthetic treatments as needed, but they mostly use sulfur for oidium/mildew. Because of careful farming, the winery has reduced its treatments by 40% in three years.
Haut-Dambert is one of the first to go back to working with Sauvignon Gris in their white Entre-deux-Mers; 25% of the blend is Sauvignon Gris, 60% is Sauvignon Blanc, and 15% is Muscadelle. Sauvignon Gris is less acidic than Sauvignon Blanc and it is round, giving a nice balance with the Sauvignon Blanc which is aromatic and has a notable high acidity. Muscadelle is fruity and floral, but with some age it can give notes of gun powder. The Haut-Dambert wines are compelling and balanced, offering incredible value for so-called ‘entry-level’ Bordeaux.