Domaine de Viaud
Known for their practice of holding back vintages to maturity, this small but high-quality Lalande-de-Pomerol producer crafts some best-in-class wines that are often tough to find but remarkably rewarding. De Viaud remains a family-run property of the Bielle family and is a great reference-point for classic claret in the modern era.
Domaine de Viaud is located in the heart of the underrated appellation of Lalande de Pomerol.
The history of the estate dates back to the 18th century. The estate was the property of Montesquieu, the famous French philosopher and highly influential political thinker of the time, and author of The Spirits of Laws.
The property was purchased by Marius Bielle in 1955. Marius was a respected winemaker on the right-bank. He owned a few estates in the neighboring appellation of Fronsac that he sold a few years later in order to focus on Domaine de Viaud.
Marius mastered his terroir of rich clay, sand and gravel and as the years went by, he acquired numerous new plots scattered all over the appellation bringing the overall vineyard size to 16 Ha with 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc.
Just after purchasing Domaine de Viaud, Marius suffered from 5 terrible vintages, where yields were minimal from 1955 to 1960. As a result, Marius decided to keep a significant amount of stock back during exceptional vintages in order to have significant volume to sell the difficult years.
This philosophy lives on today and Domaine de Viaud continue to store impressive volumes of strong back vintages in their cellar. In 1982, Lucette Bielle, the youngest daughter of Marius took over her father’s business.
Taking over the estate was no light work and Lucette soon took full responsibility in every role. To this day and well into her 60s, she is the vineyard manager and winemaker, whilst also carrying out all of the sales, marketing & distribution tasks. Close to retirement, she is still very energetic and has a very witty sense of humour. Lucette also manages all orders, labels the bottles and prepares the shipments by herself – not all heroes wear capes.
Lucette Bielle applies a traditional and sustainable philosophy in her vineyard management and winemaking techniques. Everything is done by hand & Domaine de Viaud engages in environmentally respectful practices. The wine is vinified in concrete vats, with Lucette using as little as 25% new oak during the ageing process in order to let the terroir fully express itself, producing a fresh and classic style of claret.