Chateau Haut Queyran is a real discovery. This wine is extremely difficult to track down despite the fact that the Demarchi family have been making excellent Haut Medoc and Cru Bourgeois since 1964. One of the reasons is that this 37-acre estate was once called Domaine Haut Brion. This caused a problem for the owners as it was too easy to confuse this little property with the great First Growth Chateau Haut Brion (even though Haut Brion lies over 40 miles away). Many chateaux have similar names and it can cause trouble if a prestigious Grand Cru Classe wants to protect their brand. There are numerous examples and Domaine Haut Brion is one of them. Subsequently Domaine Haut Brion changed their name to Chateau Haut Queyran.
This mysterious little property may have been pushed under the radar but it’s well worth discovering. It’s located in the north of the Medoc just above the appellation of Saint Estephe. The soil here is made up of clayey limestone and the domaine is flanked by woodland. It’s off the beaten track and the nearest village is the small village of Saint Germain d’Esteuil. Incredibly, Haut Queyran sits on one of the most beautiful Gallo Roman archaeological sites in the Gironde: Brion.
Brion is thought to be the ancient city of Noviomagus. The city was abandoned around AD 350 and was rediscovered in the 19th century. Numerous objects have been found there, the most amazing being a bronze Ram’s head. The site is full of tiles, richly painted plasters, marble, and friezes. However, the archaeological site of Brion does not attract crowds. It has enough to attract history lovers, with its theatre of 3,000 seats, its Roman road, traces of habitation and especially the beautiful vestiges of a Gallo Roman temple. The most recent excavations were conducted in 1990. You may be wondering why the Roman city under Brion is not more well known. There are two reasons: not many people know of its existence and there simply isn’t enough funding to explore its treasures.
At the domaine wines are made by Laurent and Patricia Demarchi who are the latest generation of wine makers in the family. Haut Queyran is a particularly good Haut Medoc; we recommend decanting it a couple of hours before serving. It will pair beautifully with with classic Bordelaise dishes such as Rognons a la Bordelaise (kidneys with red wine and mushrooms) and Entrecote a la Bordelaise (rib of beef in red wine sauce). Try it with fillet steak, rich casseroles, venison and braised liver and onion.
Learn more about chateaux names on Nicks Blog: What’s in a name? Branding battles in Bordeaux