Tomorrow, Margaux dissected

Article from 11-07-2006





Margaux. One of the most famous appellation areas in the world. 21 ‘crus classés’ or classified estates in 1350 hectares. 1 million euros per hectare of vineyard.

Tomorrow, Margaux dissected

Plans for the west Bordeaux bypass, whose route should be decided this year, includes five trunk roads for the future motorway, five potential 'spindles', which all cut up the legendary D2 road, the Médoc châteaux route through the Margaux area.

In very real terms, the following appellation areas are affected by these different ‘spindles’:

A1 Bordeaux, Bordeaux supérieur, Haut-Médoc

B1 Côtes-de-bourg, Haut-Médoc

B2 Côtes-de-bourg, Haut-Médoc
“A famous Haut-Médoc property will be affected in its vineyards,” says the government report. We’re talking about the ‘grand cru classé’ (top ranking estate) Château Cantemerle, south of Macau, which also has the nicest park of all the Bordeaux châteaux.

B3 Côtes-de-bourg, Margaux
Château d'Angludet (cru bourgeois supérieur) will lose 10 out of 80 hectares (34 of which in AOC margaux). Château Giscours and château du Tertre will also be affected.

B4 Côtes-de-bourg, Haut-Médoc, Margaux

C5 Côtes-de-blaye, Haut-Médoc, Margaux


The 1st direct result: between 5 and 10 % of vines ripped up, about 60 to 150 hectares.

Second result. A motorway may well be “just” a spindle on paper. It’s “only” 300 metres wide along 30 or 40 km of vines. They’ll also be immeasurable environmental damage: 20,000 vehicles a day, heavy duty machinery, extended roadworks, permanent noise pollution.

Third effect. The vineyards, and what a vineyard! A disaster that the project’s architects have hugely underestimated, talking about simple “earth removal”. Experience tells us that environmental changes like this bring about changes in the complex subsoils, dramatic shifts in water holding capacity, for example, by creating frost zones. Microclimates and terroir altered forever. And of course if you mess with terroir, you’re messing with wine.

And last but not least, vines are part of the cultural landscape, our heritage, fruits of the history of land and man, the very identity of this soil – which is why, just a few kilometres from here, Saint-Emilion was recognized as a world heritage site.

And, to the scientific aspect of the wine landscape (that produces wine), the aspect of tradition (expression of a region’s culture and identity), the environmental aspect (working for the future), you can add the economic aspect; the added value of tourism – in this instance wine tourism – with people from all walks of life.

People from all over the world.

People who sign (6410 so far) the petition on the website.
People who don’t come to France to see motorways, or other causes of environmental damage.
People who come and will come to see in situ, between Cantenac, Arsac and Margaux, why those dream wines are what they are.


André Deyrieux

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