Château Sociando-Mallet is a 225-acre estate in St.-Seurin-de-Cadourne, which is part of the Haut-Medoc appellation just north of the city of Bordeaux. It has been owned since 1969 by Jean Gautreau, who was a negociant and exporter until buying the château, which was dilapidated. After many improvements and much updating, the estate is today considered by some reviewers, including Robert M. Parker Jr., to be the jewel of the Haut-Medoc. The vineyards are planted to 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc. Though the estate is unclassified, Parker says the château makes “uncompromising wines of extremely high quality….Sociando-Mallet is easily the equal of many of the classified growths….”
Bordeaux is the world’s most famous fine-wine producing region. Even non-wine drinkers recognize the names of Bordeaux’s celebrated wines, such as Margaux and Lafite-Rothschild. Located near the Atlantic coast in southwest France, the region takes its name from the seaport city of Bordeaux, a wine trading center with an outstanding site on the Garonne River and easy access to the Atlantic. Like most French wine regions, Bordeaux’s first vineyards were planted by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago, then tended by medieval monks. Aristocrats and nobility later owned the region’s best estates and today estates are owned by everyone from non-French business conglomerates to families who have been proprietors for generations. Bordeaux has nearly 280,000 acres of vineyards, 57 appellations and 10,000 wine-producing châteaux. Bordeaux is bifurcated by the Gironde Estuary into so-called “right bank” and “left bank” appellations. Bordeaux’s red wines are blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. It also makes white wines of Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle. There are several classification systems in Bordeaux. All are attempts to rank the estates based on the historic quality of the wines.