Domaine de Pellehaut overlooks the town of Montréal-du-Gers in Gascony, situated within the Ténarèze region in Armagnac. Gaston Béraut purchased the 18th Century Château after the Second World War and has slowly developed the domaine into one of the larger single properties within the region. Gaston’s sons, Mathieu and Martin, produce the wines, each having acquired global winemaking experience working at Château Beycheville in St. Julien, Chateau Tariquet in Gascogny and Au Bon Climat in Santa Barbara.
The vines at Pellehaut are planted on rolling hills; the lower lands are reserved for other crops and also act as grazing ground for the family’s blonde d’Aquitaine cattle (which contribute to the regions biodiversity). In the 1990s, the Bérauts sold nearly all of their wine production in bulk and were proud of the rather substantial prices their wines fetched, while at the same time, understood that their wines would not command appropriate respect until bottled and marketed with the estate’s unique identity.
In particular, Mathieu wanted to put his studies to better use than anonymously producing vat after vat of wine for an unknown clientele so little by little in combinations of tank and barrel-aging, Mathieu experimented with the large variety of grapes grown on the property: Colombard, Ugni Blanc and Folle Blanche (the noble grape for distillation that is planted by only one other estate in the region), Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Gros and Petit Manseng, Tannat and Merlot.
In addition to this experimentation with different varietals, the Béraut family is also very well known for their Armagnacs that are distilled from their property and labeled under the Château de Pellehaut brand.
|APPELLATION(S)||Vin de Pays de Côtes de Gascogne IGP|
|PROPRIETORS||Mathieu and Martin Béraut|
|WINEMAKER||Mathieu and Martin Béraut|
(SUSTAINABLE, ORGANIC, BIODYNAMIC)
Gers experiences a relatively low summer rainfall due to the barrier of the Pyrenees. Located on the slopes of Pellehaut sitting at more than 180 m high, the vineyard offers an ideal terroir and maximum sun exposure. The region covers 550 ha with 250 ha made up of vineyards situated on three gently rolling hills. The red varieties and Chardonnay are planted on mainly clay-limestone soils, while property’s area consisting of sand and clay soils produces very fine, aromatic whites.
Until 1997, the Berauts had little reason to bottle their wines, as they worked with several negociants who purchased large lots of wine and sold them with other labels, in France and abroad. The winery, stocked with scores of 10,000 liter tanks, was full at the beginning of October and empty by the end of the summer. They were paid well for their bulk wine, and enjoyed not having the complications that come with bottling—like the cost of supplies or having to get out in the market and hustle to sell the product.
When father Gaston retired, Mathieu and his brother Martin took the reins, with Mathieu as winemaker and maître de chai and Martin in charge of the vineyards. They began bottling more of their wine, while retaining their close relationships with negociants.
Today their sales are in the top five of Côtes de Gascogne producers, available in nearly every department of France as well as many countries around the world. With 19 full time employees, brokers working around France and other countries, Pellehaut has become one of the Côtes de Gascogne’s more important and recognizable wine domaines.