Blessed by the Gods
Château Rochebelle, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classé, covers 3 hectares of vines in an exceptional setting on the asteriated limestone plateau. The vineyard is planted with 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc and the plants boast an average age of 45 years. The vines face East/South-East and lie at between 85 and 94 metres above river level on gentle slopes that enable the runoff of surface water in the event of heavy rainfall. This gentle gradient combined with the estate’s topographical location and the porous nature of the limestone rocks, which absorb excess water like a bottomless pit, allow excellent natural drainage. In dry weather the vine roots use a form of capillary action to draw water from the limestone rocks thereby ensuring a constant yet not over-abundant supply of water to the vines. They receive neither too little nor too much water, limiting any negative effects of hydric stress.
The terroirs at Rochebelle are composed of brown limestone soils (Calcosols) and brown calcic soils (Calcisols) lying on top of the mother rock in varying depths of 30 to 100 cm. These soils are shallow and arid. The asteriated limestone rock prevents the vine roots from growing deeper into the soils which in turn limits the vine’s natural tendency for over-vigorous growth. Furthermore, the mineralisation of organic matter on these limestone soils is slow, meaning that the nitrogen supply to the vines is minimal.
These two factors, combined with natural water regulation, are what enables Rochebelle to produce such high quality grapes.
In the current context of meteorological fluctuations, the powerful buffering capacity of this terroir affords a natural protection against extreme weather conditions.
This is why we often say this terroir has been blessed by the Gods!.