Château Simard has an enviable address on the sunny southern slopes of Saint-Émilion. Surrounded by the region’s first growth vineyards, Château Simard’s vineyard has excellent exposure and predominantly clay soil mixed with sand and gravel. Château Simard’s classical, refined style can be attributed not only to its fine vineyard location, but also to its traditional winemaking practices and distinctive aging program. The blend each year reflects the vineyard’s makeup of Merlot blended with Cabernet Franc. Elegant and balanced upon release, Château Simard expresses its deep roots in Bordeaux’s famous Right Bank.
Historic Right Bank
With a legacy that dates back to the 17th century, Château Simard is located near the ancient and beautiful town of Saint-Émilion. Called the hill of 1,000 châteaux, Saint-Émilion is home to the Right Bank’s most prestigious estates.
Among the most renowned of these is Château Ausone — one of only two estates classified in 1955 as Saint-Émilion Premiers Grands Crus Classés A — which is Château Simard’s sibling. Château Ausone’s proprietor, Alain Vauthier, acquired Château Simard when his uncle Claude “Coco” Mazière passed away in 2008.
The Saint-Émilion region is marked by moderate temperatures due to the nearby Dordogne River, which acts as a tempering mechanism to prevent spring frost and to moderate the summer heat. This allows for a long growing period to ensure perfect ripening.
Merlot is king in Saint-Émilion, with Cabernet Franc its queen. These two grapes comprise most of the production of the region. The wines from Saint-Émilion are known for being sumptuous, with smooth tannins and the ability to age over long periods of time.
A quintessential Saint-Émilion producer, Château Simard’s vineyard is surrounded by the region’s first growth vineyards. The 40-hectare (98.84-acre) hillside property is marked predominantly by clay with sand and gravel soil and a deep water table, forcing the vines to grow far into the ground. It is planted to Merlot and Cabernet Franc vines that average 50 years in age.
In the 2006 reclassification of Saint-Émilion, Château Simard’s vineyards qualified for Grand Cru classification, which is showing from the 2008 vintage on the label. However, the winery’s owner at that time, Claude Mazière, valued his freedom from regulations and preferred to continue as he had for decades, hand-selling each vintage to his loyal customers.
Château Simard produces only one wine. It is classically elegant, with a refined style that results not only from the excellent vineyard location, but also from traditional winemaking methods employed at the château. Winemaking at Château Simard includes fermentation in concrete vats and an extended maceration period. During aging, the wine is racked using traditional methods. It is bottled and aged in the cellar, allowing the fragrance and flavors to develop complexity, nuance and finesse.
A Family Legacy
Steeped in history, Château Simard has long intrigued Bordeaux fans. Originally owned by Count Simard, the vineyard was once a larger parcel. Then in 1870, a railroad track was built in the center of the vineyard, dividing it into two parcels: Château Simard and Haut Simard.
Shortly thereafter, the Mazière family arrived in Saint-Émilion. They purchased a small château and part of the Haut Simard vineyard parcel. In the early 1920s they purchased the remainder of the parcel. Then in 1954, Claude Mazière assumed ownership of the Simard vineyard.
Claude was a bon vivant with a simplistic approach to his business. He sold only one vintage at a time, managing all aspects of it with the assistance of only one secretary. This allowed him to dote on his treasured customers.
Today, his nephew, Alain Vauthier, is the sole owner of the winery. Alain’s family has been producing wine in Saint-Émilion for several generations and with his daughter Pauline’s assistance, he will maintain the pristine health of the vineyard and restore the historic château.
Alain’s approach will differ from his uncle’s in that he will make multiple vintages of Château Simard available simultaneously, with the ultimate goal of releasing future vintages within four to five years of production. It is also his intention to use these sales to accelerate the same reinvestment in Château Simard as he has undertaken at Chateau Ausone. His efforts are already evident in the future of Château Simard. In 2008, Alain devoted the resources necessary to officially classify the Simard vineyard as Grand Cru.
With a history of making the highest-quality wines, Château Simard has built its reputation on delivering those wines at exceptional value. With a new generation at the helm, it is sure to become recognized as one of the top growths of Saint-Émilion with a vibrant, promising future.