Léon Verhaeghe from Morsleede in Flanders, left his native country in the early 20th century to settle in south-western France. His son Charles together with his wife Marie-Thérèse started a farm with mixed cultures in 1958 planting some vines on the property, and adding one hectare of vineyards in three different plots every year.
The call of the vines
While still distilling lavender, Charles bottles his first wine in 1973. His sons, Jean-Marc and Pascal belong to the second generation. A passionate of motor cycles, Pascal discovers or “rediscovers” the vineyard while visiting a friend in Burgundy, Jean-Marie Guffens in 1980.
“During the “Route du Bol d’Or”, a motorcycle race, I just stopped to salute Jean-Marie… I stayed several days and did my first real harvest.”
Eight years later, after having studied enology in Macon Davayé and experienced wine making in Burgundy and at Saintsbury in the Napa Valley, he decides to take over the estate, together with his brother Jean-Marc, a qualified oenologist who obtained his first wine making experience at La Tour Blanche in Sauternes.
While Jean-Marc is responsible for the vineyards, Pascal takes care of the wines and their distribution. From the beginning, their project is based on a great complicity and the convergence of their points of view.
1995 the year of emancipation
It all has been put to a test by a difficult vintage, with 80% of the vineyards damaged by hailstorms. Jean-Marc and Pascal question their way of farming, considering they have to reveal the potential of the terroir and to lower the yields.
“There is an unearthly dimension with vines, you always get more in return than you gave.” By building up the terroir and getting closer to nature, the vines gained balance, giving more taste and quality to the grapes. The style of Château du Cèdre was born.