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A sense of family,
an extraordinary history

Travel through time

As ever fewer estates remain family-owned, the largest one in Pomerol is still run by the same family as it was five centuries ago – an exception indeed in the Bordeaux region. Château de Sales has been passed down from generation to generation ever since it was acquired by Bertrand de Sauvanelle in the late 15th century. Since 1464, Château de Sales has seen four different families: the Sauvanelles, the Desaygues, the de Laages and the Lamberts, changes in family name occuring when the estate was passed down through the women of the family.

Château de Sales is currently owned by the Lamberts and their children, who are direct descendants of the Sauvanelles.

1464 -1734

from sauvanelle to desaygues

The Sauvanelles, mayors and magistrates in Libourne, arrived on the lands now known as Château de Sales in 1464, leasing the fief from Dominican monks from Saint-Emilion. The estate remained in the Sauvanelle family for close to 300 years.

In 1602, success arrived for the winemaking estate, which was managed by the Sauvanelle brothers, known as the Seigneurs de Sales (Lords of Sales). Together, they started exporting both white and red wines to Spain.

In 1647, the renowned Libourne family decided to build a Château on the property, which until then had had only a fortified house. The Louis XIII-style country house has remained unchanged since its construction.

In 1735, having no male heir, François de Sauvanelle gave the property as a dowry to his second daughter, Jeanne-Madeleine, when she married Mr Desaygues.

Denis Desaygues
Paul de Laage

1734 -1829

from desaygues to de laage

Augustin Desaygues, Jeanne-Madeleine’s son, inherited the property and married a de Fournel, with whom he had several children. During the French revolution, two of their sons fled to the Vendée region, leaving the women at Château de Sales.

Mrs Desaygues and her daughter Gabrielle were imprisoned and freed only after Robespierre’s downfall. The document attesting to their release is still kept at the Château.

But their hardships did not end there. The estate was seized by the government and the Château ransacked. When they came back, the only belongings they found there were two chairs! Gabrielle fearlessly fought to recover the estate, which she managed to do, buying back the entire property except for three hectares (7 acres).

When Gabrielle’s brother Denys came back from exile in 1802, she handed the estate over to him. Denys Desaygues died without an heir and the estate was therefore passed down to Gabrielle’s grandson, Alexandre de Laage.

1829-1949

from de Laage to Lambert

The estate remained in the de Laage family until Paul’s death. The family had been counsellors to the King and collectors of the taille, a type of tax, until 1830, when Paul resigned from his position as a magistrate in protest against Louis-Philippe, son of Philippe Egalité, who had voted for Louis XVI’s execution. During this period, the trading company “P. Delaage et Cie” was founded, ensuring the family’s prosperity through the 19th century.

The last member of the de Laage family was gassed during the First World War and died without an heir. The estate was ultimately passed down to the children of Alexandre de Laage’s grand-daughter, Simone, marquise de Folin. Her daughter, Marguerite de Folin, married Henri de Lambert, a French army officer, on the eve of the Second World War. In 1949, he took over the running of the estate from his wife’s grandfather, Paul de Laage.

Marguerite and Henri de Lambert
Marguerite and Henri de Lambert
Henri de Lambert

1949-1985

Henri de Lambert,
a figurehead

Henri de Lambert spent his life working both for the estate and for the Pomerol appellation. Once called a “trade unionist and squire” by the French magazine L’Amateur de Bordeaux, he pioneered the modernisation of the estate. He was among the first to look to mechanisation, bringing in tractors from the USA under the Marshall Plan. He also increased the surface area under vines from 28 to 48 hectares (70 to 118 acres) and introduced technical advances to improve quality. At the same time, Pomerol acquired a fast-growing reputation and Henri de Lambert became a figurehead of the appellation.

He was president of the Pomerol wine syndicate from 1969 to 1990, president of the Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (Bordeaux Wine Council) from 1979 to 1980 and president of the CNAOC (the National Confederation of Producers of Wines and Spirits with Registered Designation of Origin) from 1983 to 1986.

He was made a Knight of the Legion of Honour for military deeds.

On his wife’s death, the estate passed to their four children, Gabrielle, Anne, Françoise and Bruno. Bruno took over management of the estate in 1982 when his father retired.

1982-2017

Bruno de Lambert,
35 years as head of the estate

For 35 years, Bruno de Lambert ran the business and shared his love for this exceptional property. A pioneer of wine tourism, he opened the estate to visits in order to share his experience of wine and winemaking. Refusing to give in to fashion, he sought to respect and enhance the Château de Sales terroir in order to make a round and approachable wine.

He was made an Officer of the Order of Agricultural Merit for his work over so many years. He shared the accolade with all of the estate’s workers, whom he called “the extended Sales family”.

Bruno de Lambert and his sisters Anne, Gabrielle and Françoise (from left to right)
Bruno de Lambert and his sisters Anne, Gabrielle and Françoise (from left to right)

2017

the 25th generation takes the reins

In 2017, when their uncle and father retired, the 14 direct cousins and co-owners of Château de Sales rallied to take over the estate, with their parents’ consent. They appointed one of their number, Marine Treppoz, to chair the new company. At the same time, they recruited a Chief Executive Officer, Vincent Montigaud, to manage it. Originally from Libourne, he spent 23 years with Baron Philippe de Rothschild, including 16 years as managing director of Domaine de Baronarques.

Working as a team, they are now responsible for running the Château.

This generation intends to give the estate a prominent position in the Pomerol appellation. The aim is to make Château de Sales a standard-setter in terms of quality, image and family management in order to pass it on to the next generation and keep the story going.

The 25th generation
The 25th generation
Vincent Montigaud & Marine Treppoz

« It is up to each generation to solve its problems with the means it has inherited or created for itself. (…) I have done what I can and it is now for future, better prepared generations to do better in order to keep on developing while bearing family traditions in mind. »

Henri de Lambert, excerpt from his book «Souvenirs et Perspectives» (1994).