Stephan von Neipperg acquired Château d'Aiguilhe in December 1998. One of the most beautiful vineyards in the Côtes de Castillon, d'Aiguilhe now benefits from the same exacting standards as the von Neipperg family's estates in Saint-Emilion. A new approach in the vineyard has raised this wine to new heights, and it has received near universal praise since the change in ownership.
Château d'Aiguilhe is an estate well worth visiting The vast inner courtyard is flanked on one side by a plateau, and on the other by a small valley. This overlooks "l'aiguille", a French work meaning "needle", or rocky rise on which the château was built. The château was destroyed by fire in the early 20th century and completely pillaged over time. Imposing buildings from various periods and in different architectural styles surround the courtyard, and a new semi-underground cellar fits in discretely with the environment.
A little history
Far from the river and usual wine trails, the ruins of Château d'Aiguilhe proudly bear witness to the Castillon region's long history.
A local legend has it that there was once a Gallo-Roman villa on this site. Much later, the château is said to have been a commandery for the Knights Templar, who defended the road running underneath used by pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela. The first records of Château d'Aiguilhe and its feudal lord go back to the late 12th century. The present château, which is actually more like what the French call a maison forte, or fortified farmhouse, was built in the 13th century.
The d'Aiguilhe seigneury would appear to have covered a vast territory in the Middle Ages, encompassing several large feudal estates. Located on the border between French and English-occupied zones during the Hundred Years' War, Château d'Aiguilhe's allegiance changed according to the tides of war.
This very ancient estate, undoubtedly one of the oldest in Bordeaux, was a key element in the defence network established by the kings of England to protect their holdings in the province of Guyenne. It was therefore long a bone of contention between the French and Anglo-Bordelais armies.
After this tumultuous period of its history, Château d'Aiguilhe went back to more peaceable pursuits, namely developing exports of its wine, especially to Northern Europe. Starting in the 19th century, the wines of Château d'Aiguilhe were shipped from the port of Castillon to England, Holland, and ports belonging to the Hanseatic League.
The château was acquired by the d'Albret family and then came into the hands of the Leberthon family, who produced many members of the Bordeaux parliament. The Leberthons sold Château d'Aiguilhe on the eve of the French Revolution to a certain Etienne Martineau. He expanded it into a huge estate with four hundred hectares of vines in a single block. His descendents remained owners of the château until 1920.