Château de FranceWine, history passion & perfection

Anna Caidan meets Arnaud Thomassin, technical director at Château de France
Wine Story

What could you tell us about the history of Château de France?

‘Château de France is a Château that my father bought in 1971, so 37 years ago now. We were farmers from close to Paris; we used to make alcohol from sugar beet. We moved in 1971, and at this time there was only twenty hectares of vines, and now we have forty. I arrived in 1994 to run the estate.’

What is your favourite step in the winemaking process?

‘My favourite step is when we begin the first pumping over, because you can see the colour of the wine, smell all the flavours, and I like to touch the wine with my hands, that’s why they are a bit dark!’

What is the secret to making Château de France wines?

‘To find the secret for any kind of wine, comes from the trilogy of terroir, the kind of vines you have, and the weather. So if you have a good trilogy, you can make very good wines, and the biggest part comes from the terroir, the soil or gravel.’

What is your best memory since working at Château de France?

‘My first vintage. My very first vintage I did alone, it was the 1996 vintage. We had someone taking care of the wine before me, he stayed with me for two years, and after that I did my very own vintage in 1996.’

…and the most challenging?

‘To make the best wine possible. We are not classified growers, so I want to try to reach the Grand Crus Classés, in terms of quality.’

What is the story behind the labels?

‘It is very easy, in fact the name Château de France comes from the land, the ‘lieu-dit’. On the bottle there is a drawing of the Château.’

When is the best time to drink your wines?

‘I have two wines, a white and a red. You can begin to drink the white from 2-3 years. After that it can age for 10-15 years depending on the vintages. For the red, I would say it is good to drink it after 5-6 years, it needs to age a little bit to get rounder, but after that it can age for years as well.’

What type of food pairs best with your wines?

‘For the white, we can say some kind of cheese, fish and scallops. For the red, a good meat should pair very well, like a T-bone or entrecote.’

How would you describe the French way of life?

‘Depending on the region! The French way of life is to have good moments, but also to take time having lunch or dinner, we never hurry. I like my lunch time and dinner time, I don’t drink wine each day, because there are too many occasions to drink wine! But we like to take the time to have a good aperitif and to spend good time at the table!’

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