Among satellite communes of St-Emilion, Montagne-St.-Emilion consistently produces wines prized for their deep, lush character. Located near the Graves section of St. Emilion and Pomerol, the hillside soils of Montagne are primarily limestone in composition. The best wine comes from the southern end of the appellation where the hillside slopes toward the Barbonne River. Though the wines of Montagne-St-Emilion were never officially classified, the wines from this southeast slope are the qualitative equivalent of grand cru St. Emilion. This is where the 15-hectare vineyard of Chateau Gachon is situated.
The saga of the Arpin family, owners of Chateau Gachon, began in 1919 when Jean Baptiste Arpin bought a single hectare of vines in Pomerol. Starting with these humble origins, three generations of Arpin's have expanded the holdings to include three other Chateaux. Today, winemaker Gerard Arpin is at the helm and has steadily improved quality through the implementation of more rigorous farming techniques, and the construction of a new, modern winery.
The 2003 vintage was a challenge to many growers due to the extreme heat that threw many wines out of balance. However, early rains allowed porous soils, like that of Montagne-St. Emilion, to store up the necessary water reserves to survive the intense summer heat. The best wines from the vintage, made from grapes drawn from these well-drained soils, were able to shrug off the roasted character, while emphasizing the density and added richness imparted by the heat.
The soils of Chateau Gachon are similar to the gravelly, sandy soils of the Lalande de Pomerol, but with more clay/limestone. Like a "little" Pomerol, the 2003 Chateau Gachon is full-bodied, fleshy and plump, with pretty red fruit flavors and a soft finish. Drink now-2010. Enjoy with grilled or roasted meats, poultry and winter stews.