Château Lafon-Rochet | Basile Tesseron
Far from being only decoration, Lafon-Rochet is first and foremost a family property saved a few years ago by Michel Tesseron and his sister Caroline Poniatowska.
There are three generations that live permanently on the property side by side. Every Tuesday evening, Michel’s grandchildren visit and spend their wednesdays running among the vines. Baptisms and weddings are celebrated in the property’s chapel and friends often come for the weekend.
The château has been painted bright yellow so that it can be seen from the road, but this unusual colour shouldn’t distract from the history of this estate. Around 1650, Antoinette de Guillemotes married Étienne de Lafon, thus uniting her husband’s family name with her “Rochette“ land.
In 1855, the Imperial Commission asked the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce to select the best Bordeaux wines to be presented at the Exposition Universelle in Paris. Lafon-Rochet was one of the 61 châteaux chosen. It was an important recognition for the château since the Saint-Estèphe appellation only had 5 classified growths.
There was a succession of owners until July 1960 when Guy Tesseron purchased the estate. At which point, Lafon-Rochet became a family property again. In 1964, the original château, which had been damaged by termites, was destroyed.
Guy took 10 years to build the 18th-century style charterhouse. Since he has been in charge, Michel has continued his father’s plans for the vines, the cellars and the château.
No major transformations; no major shake-ups; he continues to progress little by little. Just like the wine, it is the sum of small details.
In 2007, he entrusted the running of the château to his son, Basile, because Michel believes that “only people who are young enough will take the risks that enable them to make progress”. You can feel the total trust that he places in his son to make the improvements, which might seem slight, that will make the quality of the wine even better.