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Château Marquis d’Alesme
When you want something done, ask a woman. That goes for all worlds: finance, parenting, business and yes, fine wine. Pre-2006 and Chateau Marquis d’Alesme (or Chateau Marquis d’Alesme Becker as it was known then) was an average Margaux. The wine was struggling, despite its 3rd growth status. Post-2006 with a woman at the helm and a largely female team under her, and the wine has surged in quality.

The woman in question is Nathalie Perrodo, daughter of French businessman Hubert Perrodo. Sadly, Hubert died in a skiing accident shortly after purchasing the estate, but Nathalie had proved to be a worthy heir to Hubert’s throne.
Past owners
The history of Chateau Marquis d’Alesme of course goes back much further – all the way to 1585 to be precise. The original Marquis d’Alesme planted vines on his property shortly after. Like many of the bourgeoisie, the Medoc estate and its vineyards were lost during the French Revolution. By 1809, Dutch businessman Jean Bekker Terrlink had purchased the property, adding his middle name to the wine’s label. A succession of owners followed, including Edmond Ritz, who still lives in the chateau today (with Perrodo’s blessing!).
Out with the old...
Apart from dropping the Becker in the wine’s title, Nathalie also changed the famous upside down horseshoe that had been part of the wine’s visual identity for 200 years. This could be due to Nathalie’s Chinese heritage (her mother was from Hong Kong), as inverted horseshoes are seen as a harbinger of bad luck in many Asian cultures as the good luck will “fall out”. “It had been the chateau’s symbol for such a long time that it was a tough thing to change” she says, “but I felt it was essential”. She also replanted almost 40% of the vines, hired superstar wine consultant Michel Rolland and improved the cellars by installing stainless steel vat and new French oak tanks. She also began a lengthy restyling of the chateau itself, adding many auspicious Chinese touches such as water, sky and earth motifs and a Moon Door.
...In with the Chinese
Perrodo’s Chinese connections have meant that her marketing in Asia has been ramped up, and thus the wine, 30% of which is exported to the continent, is very successful over there. A further 30% is exported to the US, with the remaining 40% sold exclusively through negociants in Europe. Aggregate scores have been steadily rising since 2010 yet interestingly the price has not, making Chateau Marquis d’Alesme a very good bet for both your table and your cellar. If you ever find yourself in the area, a visit to the chateau is well worth the time; not only does it have a very groovy little wine bar on its premises, but it caters for children too (including traditional wine pressing by foot)!
Notable facts and vintages
  • In a vintage described as exceptional but uneven, industry news Drinks Business touted 2018 Chateau Marquis D’Alesme in a short list of wines “exceeding all expectations”.
  • Chateau Marquis d’Alesme produces 2 wines; about 8,000 cases annually for the Cabernet-dominant Grand Vin, and around 1,000 cases of second wine Marquise d’Alesme.
  • 2016 Chateau Marquis d’Alesme was awarded 96 points by Robert Parker Wine Advocate’s Lisa Perrotti-Brown who noted the wine’s “long, beautifully fragrant finish.”