The story of Ampélia is about a meeting, a challenge and a conviction.
In 1996, three years before acquiring the lands of Ampélia, François Despagne inherited the
Grand Corbin-Despagne estate from his family, making it the seventh generation of his family
at the helm of this Saint-Emilion property.
François then eagerly sought a new challenge and created a new vineyard –this time, not in
Saint-Emilion, but in Castillon – Côtes de Bordeaux, the bordering appellation.
The spirit of the terroir
The wines of Château Ampélia offer the freshness and mineral character that come from the
limestone soils of Castillon in the Côtes de Bordeaux, where these wines thrive. They are
even pleasant to drink young and can be very attractive for consumers who don’t like to wait
for their bottles to age.
From the pruning to the harvesting, each necessary vineyard task (de-suckering, de-budding,
removal of double shoots, de-leafing, crop thinning and shoot thinning) is performed in such a
way that the highest quality grapes can be produced each year.
“The common thread that runs through my work as a wine grower is anticipation, respect and
stability, in order to make the best wine possible in each vintage,” says François Despagne,
who applies the same golden rules in each of his vineyards. “Through careful observation and
decision-making throughout the whole of the growing season, I aim to produce a precise,
well-defined wine that respects its terroir and its identity.”
Throughout every stage of the growing season, François Despagne demonstrates a deep
respect for the terroir and its identity. Constantly attached to his land, he even chose to begin
converting his vineyard in 2010 to certified organic status -a choice that reinforced his
commitment to quality and high standards of vine growing.
Quality and uncompromising standards: from the harvesting to the bottling
Before the harvest, the berries are sampled on the vine, firstly by tasting and then by
laboratory analysis. This enables us to determine when they will be perfectly ripe and ready to
pick. While being manually harvested, the bunches are sorted in the vineyard. They are then
sorted again at the cellars before being de-stemmed. The berries of the batches brought in
from the vineyard’s different plots are transferred to the cellars into 6 temperature-controlled
vats. Each lot is vinified according to its potential and monitored by close observation,
analyses and tastings.
After maceration and running off, the lots are pre-blended and kept in the ageing cellar, which
contains 60 barrels, a third of which are new. The wine ages in barrel for around 12 months
depending on the lots and the vintage. The final blending is then carried out. The bottling is
done 21 months after the harvest.