Well Chateau Dacher de Delmonte actually isn’t so much vin de garage as vin de salle a manger. Literally. The dining room is the barrel cellar, a guilt mirror hangs from the wall and a chandelier of sorts hangs in the ceiling. What was once the kitchen, houses a laboratory and the bottling line stands in the hallway. The cuverie, two plastic tanks and a concrete one, along with the press, stand in what appears to be a brick addition to the side of the building, itself hidden in the front garden of a larger property alongside the main road that runs through Listrac. The place is quite extraordinary. Oh and one of the owners is a helicopter pilot. No I’m not making this up. These guys are serious. Their consulting oenologist is none other than Eric Bossenot.
Alain Capdevielle and Francine Dacher are the husband and wife team behind Chateau Dacher de Delmonte. The estate has only been going since 2006 and is produced from just two hectares of vineyard in Listrac. It’s an operation that defines the term artisanal. Indeed the cru artisan status that the property enjoys is something Alain Capdevielle is extremely proud of. He could apply for cru bourgeois status but he couldn’t be bothered with all the hassle. I expect the officials would have a heart attack if they visited the place. It’s spotless, don’t get me wrong, but what an unusual place it is.
Their first wine, the 2006, made the Guide Hachette and won a gold medal at the Concours General Agricole in Paris. Watch out for the 2009 when it’s bottled next June. You’ll be lucky to get hold of any of course as only 9000 bottles will be made, but if you do, and a small quantity may end up on sale in the Relais de Listrac in the village, then you’ll find a really concentrated red made from 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon with 10% Petit Verdot. It is formidably tannic but with purity, concentration and style. In many ways it’s got more in common with Madiran than Bordeaux but that’s Listrac for you. The 2010 vintage was still macerating when I visited on Armistice Day in November. It had the prospect of another couple of weeks on the skins. Jet black and inky the wine also had great concentration and structure. The Petit Verdot still had sugar to shed. Mind you their 2009 didn’t finally ferment dry until last April. This is really from the heart, far out winemaking. Each barrel and bottle here is filled not only with dark powerful wine but with enthusiasm and passion equal in concentration.