Château Méaume

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Alan Johnson-Hill, was once quoted as saying “What was the first thing Noah did when he came out of the Ark? He made a vineyard”. Alan bought Château Méaume in 1978 on the evidence of photographs and the enthusiasm of his wife Sue, who went to see it. When Alan, Sue and their three daughters finally turned up at the local railway station in Libourne, in pouring rain, after a journey across the world, it began to seem that it was a terrible mistake. As the new Lord of the Manor, with five permanent employees, he had to learn fast. Alan’s vintage debut year, 1980 was a disaster in Bordeaux. After taking advice, Alan decided to pull up the small uneconomic acreage of white wines and replanting with red and, more radically, to modernize the wine-making equipment by replacing the old underground tanks and concrete vats. At the same time Alan starting working with a new young up and coming oenologist, Michel Rolland (now international renowned). All these improvements and collaboration paid off with the 1983 vintage gaining Alan and Château Méaume critical acclaim and the chateau started to run at a yearly profit. With the family settled into the French life, they were welcomed by the local wine establishment and were warmly entertained at most of the world-famous chateaux.