Margaux - The Lurton family
Château Durfort-Vivens is a winery in the Margaux appellation of the Bordeaux region of France. It is also the name of the red wine produced by this property. The wine produced here was classified as one of fifteen Deuxièmes Crus (Second Growths) in the original Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855.
The Durfort property dates back to the 12th century having been owned by the influential Durfort de Duras family for seven centuries. The family also owned the nearby Château Lamothe, later renamed Château Margaux. The property was purchased in 1824 by M. de Vivens, and renamed Château Durfort Vivens. In the 20th century, the château was purchased by local négociants, and in 1961 it was purchased by Château Margaux, which was controlled by the Lurton family, which also owns Château Brane-Cantenac and Château Climens. Until that time, the wine was produced at Château Margaux. Lucien's son Gonzague Lurton, became the head of operations 1992.
Chateau Durfort Vivens, like many Bordeaux wine producers is named after a previous owner. In this case, it was the Durfort de Duras, a well connected family from South West France. Several hundred years later, in 1824, Chateau Durfort took the second part of their name from the owner at the time, the Viscount of Vivens and became Chateau Durfort Vivens. In those days, the wines of Chateau Durfort Vivens were popular. In fact, the 1844 vintage was priced higher than every other Bordeaux wine in the appellation, except for Chateau Margaux of course.
Thomas Jefferson, the American ambassador to France and the future president of the United States, was a Bordeaux wine connoisseur and ranked it directly after Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Chateau Latour and Chateau Margaux in his fascinating travel diaries.
Vineyards & production
The Chateau has 350 hectares planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. The terroir is gravel, clay and sandy soil. The vines are planted to a density that varies from 6,600 to 7,700 vines per hectare. The higher levels of vine density are for the newer plantings.
To produce the wine of Chateau Durfort Vivens, the wine is vinified in a combination of wood and concrete, temperature controlled vats. Malolactic fermentation takes place in vat. The wine of Durfort Vivens is aged in about 40% new French oak barrels for an average of 18 months, depending on the quality and character of vintage. There is a second wine which is sold under two names, Vivens and Le Relais de Durfort Vivens. The estate also produces a unique label that is specific for the Chinese market for their second wine which is called Jardin de Durfort. In addition, the family also produces Chateau Domeyne from vines they own in the St. Estephe appellation.