Château Rayne Vigneau is a Sauternes wine estate located in the commune of Bommes. It produces a sweet white wine of the same name and ranks among the Sauternes premier crus in the official 1855 classification. Château Rayne Vigneau was founded in the early 17th century and has long been run by the Pontac family. Château Rayne Vigneau is one of the appellation's finest, boasting, vintage after vintage, a style of intensity, length and freshness.
Château Rayne Vigneau was created at the beginning of the 17th century. The Vigneau de Bommes referred to the vineyard, the Château, the Seigneurie and the de Vigneau family, who was the first owner. Gabriel de Vigneau appears in writings from 1635. His son Étienne marries Jeanne Sauvage, daughter of the lord of Yquem, and personally takes over the property in 1681. The Baroness de Rayne, born Catherine de Pontac, bought the Domaine du Vigneau in 1834 (her grand-nephew paid homage to her in 1892 by renaming the château under its current name: Rayne Vigneau). In 1855, the castle was classified as a premier grand cru in the official classification of Sauternes wines. At the Universal Exhibition of 1867, the 1861 vintage won the gold medal.
The château remained in the hands of the Pontac family until 1961, when the estate was dismantled. The family kept the château, the outbuildings and the park while the vineyard and the wine-growing facilities were sold to Mr Georges Raoux before the latter sold the estate to the trading company Mestrezat-Preller, owner of Château Grand-Puy Ducasse. The cellars were completely renovated in the early 80s.
Since 2007, the castle has adopted sustainable agriculture that respects the environment. In 2014 Rayne Vigneau obtained HVE level 3 certification as a "Producer of vegan wines and Sauternes without added sulphur". Between 2004 and 2015, Château de Rayne Vigneau belonged to CA Grands Crus, a subsidiary of the Crédit Agricole Group, which implemented a plan to optimize the entire vineyard. Today, the Château de Rayne Vigneau, bought by the Trésor du Patrimoine group, is managed by Vincent Labergère, assisted by the advice of oenologist Henri Boyer.
The vineyard extends over 84 hectares in one piece on a vast hilltop overlooking the Sauternes. Its basement is composed of sandy gravel, sitting on a clay base. The vines, 30 years old on average, are divided between Sémillon (74%), Sauvignon Blanc (24%), which brings the note of freshness typical of Château wines, and Muscadelle (2%). Yields are 10 to 15 hectoliters per hectare depending on the vintage.
The presence of the Ciron river, a tributary of the Garonne, plays a crucial role in the over-ripening process of the grapes. In autumn, the development of Botrytis Cinerea is favored by the morning mists generated by the Ciron.
The harvest remains traditional with successive selections. Harvested by hand, only perfectly “roasted” grapes are picked. Depending on the year, 4 to 8 selections by hand are necessary. The wines are aged for 18 months in oak barrels, 40 to 50% of which are new each year.
The wines of Château Rayne Vigneau are renowned for their sweetness and richness. These wines offer a rich and complex aromatic palette. We often find exotic aromas such as pineapple, mango and apricot, as well as citrus notes such as orange and candied lemon.
The second wine of the castle is called "Madame de Rayne" in homage to the Baroness of Rayne, it has been produced since 2000 with the same know-how as the great wine of the castle, emphasizing freshness and finesse.
The château also produces a white wine in the dry white Bordeaux appellation, the "sec de Rayne Vigneau" in 100% Sauvignon.
The wines of Château Rayne Vigneau go perfectly with sweet and savory dishes and exotic cuisine such as lamb curry, foie gras with apples or duck à l'orange. As for the cheeses, we will opt for cheeses with character such as Roquefort or Fourme d'Ambert. For desserts, fruit-based specialties are preferred, such as red fruit crumble, apricot tart or pear sabayon.