Domaine de la Solitude | Pessac-Léognan
Domaine de la Solitude is located 18 kilometres south-west of Bordeaux and extends over 32 hectares in the heart of the Pessac-Léognan appellation. Owned by the religious community of the Holy Family since 1854, its vineyards have been under the stewardship of Olivier Bernard (owner of Domaine de Chevalier Grand Cru Classé de Graves) since 1993; after he agreed a 40 year lease with the Sisters of the Sainte Famille. The duration of the lease offered Olivier the opportunity to invest long term in the domaine and to help realise its true potential.
Changes were immediately made in the vineyards to the existing grape selections and a vast re-planting programme was adopted with grapes better suited to the terroir. The abundance of Sémillon and Merlot plantings were amended and the new grape selection is covered by 25 hectares planted to red grape varieties - Cabernet Sauvignon (56%), Merlot (36%), Petit Verdot (4%) and Cabernet Franc (4%) - and 7 hectares of white grapes planted to Sauvignon Blanc (65%) and Sémillon (35%).
Additionally, on taking up the tenancy, Olivier noted that the absence of soil work in the vineyard was notably prohibiting the terroir from revealing its true potential. Opening up the ground through systematic ploughing has since forced the vines root systems deeper to allow the complexities of the soil be fully expressed. The team have progressively implemented all the basic steps of vineyard productivity including the way of harvesting and the selection of grapes, with the same demanding level that is at the Domaine de Chevalier. The vines at Solitude have taken time to understand the changes, but little by little, they have become used to the new system and the complexity of the grapes has increased noticeably.
Today, the estate's white and red wines compete with the very best wines of the appellation.