François Mitjavile is one of the most respected winemakers in Saint Emilion, where he settled in 1978 (at the Tertre Roteboeuf domaine). In 1987, he and his wife Emilie purchased a run down estate in the Côtes de Bourg, on the banks of the Dordogne, just after the Gironde estuary separates between the Garonne and the Dordogne, and almost directly across from Chateau Margaux.
Côtes de Bourg, Bordeaux – France
The terroir of Roc de Cambes
Côtes de Bourg has been long renowned for the quality of its wines. Most of the vineyards are on slopes (or Côtes), and most face South. There are three different Côtes. The first is above the start of the Gironde estuary and is very famous. The effect of sunshine is moderated by the Gironde, which allows a regular photosynthesis. This is where the Roc de Cambes vineyard is located.
Roc de Cambes wallThe soils here are very similar to Tertre Roteboeuf (clay over limestone – argilo-calcaires). The 12ha-vineyard was planted with Merlot (75%), Cabernet Sauvignon (20%) and Malbec (5%) and the vines are on average 45 years old. The Roc de Cambes is on a slope, only separated from the Dordogne by the Domaine de Cambes (Cabernet Franc and Merlot) which is on the flat bank and is sold under a separate label by Mitjavile.
Roc de CambesAfter great efforts to change vineyard practices and trellising, and the renovation of the superb winery with cellars dating back to the XIVth century, Roc de Cambes quickly gained status as the best estate in the AOC Côtes de Bourg. Robert Parker rates it as a Fifth Growth in his own classification.
The wines are fermented in concrete tanks (20-30 days) before being pressed and racked to barrels (50-60% new). The wines are then aged for 18-24 months in barrels.