In many ways, Julie and Xavier Gonet-Médeville are the first couple of French wines. Both hail from storied winemaking families: Julie’s family is famous for its incomparable Château Gilette, and Xavier comes from a long line of Champagne growers in Le Mesnil. Leading a new generation of winemakers, they bring their family knowledge, methods, and passion to the many wines they now make together.
In the 1930s, Julie’s grandfather, René de Médeville, was feeling the effects of the economic slump that had hit Bordeaux because of The Depression, so he built concrete vats to replace costly barrels. Shortly after, he served in World War II and, in his absence, advised his wife to leave the wines in vat, thus opening the door several more years of aging than the wines would typically see. When Réne returned after the war, he observed that the wines were breathing well, maturing more slowly and developing more complex aromas. Since this discovery, the Médevilles have let their Sauternes age for decades in concrete vats. The wines never see the inside of a wooden barrel; they go directly from vat to bottle. Although Gilette was not included in the 1855 classification, its wines can compete with the best. Château Gilette is unique not only in Sauternes but in the world, as wines are aged between 15 and 25 years before release.
While Gilette comprises barely three and a half hectares, its sister estate Château Les Justices is nearly eight, just west of the Gironde River in Preignac. Chateau Les Justice is a tremendous value coming from younger vines grown on this world-class estate.
Martine’s Wines is the exclusive U.S. importer for Château des Eyrins with the following exceptions: DC, MD, NY, NJ, VA, MA