About the winery
Château Camensac borders on the Saint-Julien appellation, in the commune of Saint-Laurent-Médoc. The vines are located on the commune's finest gravelly rise. The topography is fairly steep and the pebby soil quite deep.
This makes for excellent natural drainage, which is complemented by a well-maintained man-made drainage system. The estate's excellent potential is fully realised thanks to a "craftsmanship" approach by the Camensac winemaking team. Each vineyard plot, each vintage, and each vat constitute a unique entity, and are treated as such. Systematic methods leaving no room for variation are avoided. The vineyards are carefully observed every day, and viticultural operations are carried out only when required, according to strictly natural criteria.
The vineyard has a density of 10,000 vines per hectare, and grape varieties are as follows: 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. The average age of the vines is quite old, which makes for reasonable yields. Only natural fertiliser is applied, and quite sparingly. Pruning is rather severe and, if need be, bunches of green grapes are removed to improve concentration. As a result, the average yield does not exceed 40-45 hectolitres per hectare, which is considerably below the usual figure for the appellation. At the end of the growing season, the vines invariably produce healthy, ripe grapes that are well-ventilated (to avoid rot). Sorting is also done at harvest-time so that only the best fruit is made into fine, great growth wine.
Careful consideration is given to the ideal date to start picking. This entails a "risk in the interest of quality" so aptly described by the eminent professor Emile Peynaud. A wine as fine as Camensac will only live up to its reputation if the grapes are sufficiently ripe to provide good extract.
The staff at Camensac are helped in their decisions by consulting oenologist Michel Rolland (who also makes his own wine!). Monsieur Rolland is closely involved with Camensac, and his experience is quite precious. He knows the vineyard very well and takes great pains to stress the importance of picking only perfectly ripe fruit. He also follows the winemaking very closely.