The vineyard landscape
Rooted on the limestone plateau, on Saint-Emilion's western slope, Château Berliquet looks out over the Dordogne River in the distance. In this hilly landscape, undulating under the Atlantic breezes, where the fragrance of Mediterranean trees mingle with the scents of the ocean, the vineyards are imbued with a very special atmosphere. Here a patchwork of vegetation of soft or vibrant greens stretches over the hillside creating a preserved environment, a hanging garden surrounded by dry stone walls Constructed by hand, they protect the vineyards, letting only the cool northwest wind and sea breezes caress their contours.
Unique species of plants, more usually found on the shores of the Mediterranean, have become acclimatised here, retreated to this warm, sun-kissed land, which reflects the glow of the summer evening light. We call it the "Mediterranean belt", it is a resurgence of the coastline, as if Provence had run forward to embrace us and forgotten to stop.
Standing at the top of the vineyards, an old mill bears silent witness to a past in which both cereals and vines were grown to provide a necessary diversity. A little further on, we find a wash-house, fed by one of the many natural cold springs that refresh the subsoil. Berliquet's charm lies in this gentle symphony, in its relaxed, almost Tuscan way of life.
The Cypress tree
- Latin name: Cupressus Sempervirens
- Family: Cupressaceae
The Cypress tree is the symbol of Tuscany, as well as Provence, majestically planted along the roadsides. Its proud bearing and flamboyant green mark the entrance to the property, an invitation to contemplation and a slower pace of life. Symbol of immortality and rebirth, the cypress tree is a vigorous species, able to resist the ravages of winter. It breaks the might of the wind and acts as a shield against the elements to protect the surrounding vegetation. Guardian of the property, it stands, like an invincible soldier, commanding and watching over the bountiful countryside. Lined up along Château Berliquet's driveway, the cypress trees pave the way to the vineyards overlooking the valley below.
- Family: Vitis Vinifera
Merlot is the queen variety of Libourne. It adorns the landscape with its plump, early-ripening fruit. It thrives in these soils bathed by the sun and swept by the oceanic wind. This black grape variety is much appreciated for its early ripening, smoothness and lovely delicate aromas. Planted in limestone soil streaked with delicate bands of clay, it ripens early and to perfection on the right bank of the Gironde. It produces fine yet intense wines with notes of peony, violet, black fruit and later, after a few years' cellar-ageing, hints of truffle, tobacco and leather.
The Stone Pine
- Latin name: Pinus Pinea
- Family: Pinaceae
This sun-loving tree is at home in stony, arid soils. It can be found standing alone on the shores of the Mediterranean, facing the sea, or more secluded, in the middle of a forest, always turned towards the sun. Its hard resistant wood is used for shipbuilding. Here, on Château Berliquet's land, it has found itself in a perfect location. It can be spied from afar, standing proudly at the foot of the mill, an enduring emblem of this little piece of paradise, acting as a sentinel to the vines spread out over the hillsides.
The Holm Oak
- Latin name: Quercus Ilex
- Family: Fagaceae
This is the oak from which we craft the staves for the barrels, which then encase the wine and perfect its ageing process. The oak tree also shapes the landscape, standing firm and immutable. Its legendary longevity and resistance to the elements make it a life-long companion, stoically facing each day with endless patience. Like the Cabernets and Merlots, it thrives in the dry, well-drained limestone soils, producing a heavy, compact wood.
The Cabernet Franc
- Family: Vitis Vinifera
This black grape variety probably originated in the Spanish Pyrenees; it slowly migrated north along the Gironde estuary to the mouth of the river. But it is on the right bank, and particularly in Saint-Emilion, where the grape has acclimatised best. It prefers a clay soil, which enhances its aromatic finesse, spicy notes and structure. Blended with the Merlot, it provides backbone and fine tannins, endowing the wines with their great ageing potential. It is a skillful conciliator, not highly productive yet vital to the development of the wines' spicy depth.
The Laurel tree
- Latin name: Laurus Nobilis
- Family: Lauraceae
We use it to make laurel wreaths for our victors or to make ointments. Its subtle aromas complement the most refined of dishes. Heroes, geniuses, wise men and poets all adored its thick foliage, perhaps finding the secret of immortality in its balsamic notes. The laurel grows quiet on the Château Berliquet estate, releasing a sweet, smoky fragrance into the air, blotting the sky and the clouds with its dark green. It grows as a thick hedge, a natural barrier that holds back the warm wind. It thrives in our stony, filtering soils, which undoubtedly remind it of its native Mediterranean.
The Fig tree
- Latin name: Ficus Carica
- Family: Moraceae
Every summer, the fig tree's plump, brown fruit, gorged with the summer sun, tempts the walker. Just reach out and pick the fruit then peel back the thick skin to reveal the tender, juicy, gold-specked flesh within. The generous fig tree offers up its fruit to the sun and the passer-by. In the hollow of a rock, at a bend in a path or in a hidden nook exposed to the open sky, this tenacious tree always finds a way to grow. Its thick tortuous branches bend this way and that, coming up with ingenious ways to extract the water it needs via the cracks and crannies.