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Château Bonnet

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image vignoble château Bonnet
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 A rich family of Libourne merchants first planted vines at Bonnet (16th century - 1744)

In the 16th century, Château Bonnet's vineyards in Grézillac were planted by the de Reynier family, rich merchants from Libourne. These dynamic négociants acquired the "maison noble de Bonnet" circa 1560 and consolidated the vineyards around the manor house. In order to do so, they exchanged numerous plots and bought others that were covered with trees…The land surrounding the owner's house changed significantly over a thirty-year period, and vines replaced trees on nearby slopes. A terroir was born…

A century later, in 1653, Bonnet produced about sixty hogsheads of wine.

In the early 17th century, Pierre de Reynier increased his wealth, power, and influence thanks to three marriages, each time to a rich heiress.

Upon his death in 1650, Pierre de Reynier, Lord of Bonnet, as well as a royal councillor and tax collector for the province of Guyenne, left behind a great deal of debt and family discord.  An inheritance dispute broke out between his widow, Catherine de Moneins (who was soon remarried to Jean de Cadoin, lord of the nearby seigneury of Mouchac), and the oldest son from his first marriage, Jacques de Reynier, a royal councillor at the Guyenne Court of Aids.  The court cases involved in settling the dispute took more than thirty years to be decided. The Bonnet estate was one of the main stakes in this legal marathon.

Eventually,  in 1676, Jean-Joseph de Reynier became the full-fledged owner of Bonnet. Several leaseholders followed one another in managing the estate. They did this as if it were their own, as was the custom at the time.

Pierre de Reynier's descendants remained the owners of the "maison noble de Bonnet" until the winter of 1744…

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Modernisation of the estate by the Chillaud Desfieux family (1744 - 1811)

On 17 December 1744, squire Pierre de Reynier, Lord of Barre and Bonnet, and former captain of the Normandy regiment, sold the family estate to squire and royal coucillor Jean de Chillaud Desfieux, president of the royal court of appeals, for 53,881 French livres.
Originally from the Périgord region, the Chillaud Desfieux family tree included several mayors of Périgueux. They settled in the Bordeaux region in the 17th century and owned Bonnet until the French Revolution, adding several modern touches to the estate.

Jacques Justin de Chillaud Desfieux markedly improved the vineyard plots growing in front of the manor house and in order to welcome his friends, mostly influential members of the Bordeaux parliament, he razed the existing house dating from the 17th century and built a large, less austere building in its place. This was also much more comfortable and functional.

In danger during the tumultuous revolutionary period because he was a member of the aristocracy, Jacques Justin de Chillaud sought refuge far from the city of Bordeaux at Château Bonnet, where he even hid in a well near the house for several days (the hole is still visible today).

He nevertheless did not escape from the revolutionary fervor for very long and was imprisoned for several months in Bordeaux.

However, as opposed to many other nobles, Jacques Justin de Chillaud saved not only his life, but also his possessions..

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Château Bonnet in the 19th century.

Still, Jacques Justin de Chillaud came out of this troubled period financially weakened and was later obliged to part with the family estate.

On 24 January 1811, he sold Bonnet to Eugène Lavignac, a rich land owner from the commune de Sainte-Terre who had made a fortune trading with the Carribean island of Hispaniola.

The Bonnet estate covered a hundred hectares at this time.

After his death, his son, also named Eugène, inherited Bonnet and began to quarry stone there in 1879. These former quarries have since become the château cellars.

On 11 novembre 1880, he sold the estate to Etienne Brunetière, who sold it in turn to Léonce Récapet on 30 December 1897.

image portrait Léon Récapet
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Léonce Récapet: an enlightened winegrower (1897 – 1956)

Léonce Récapet, grandfather of the present owner,, managed a large liqueur production facility in the neighbouring commune of Branne. A man of character, who ran a prosperous business, he decided to take up a new adventure: winegrowing. Having heard that Bonnet was for sale, he made sure to acquire it.

With a vineyard in poor shape after attacks by mildew, oidium and phylloxera, Léonce Récapet knew he had an enormous job ahead of him.

He rose to the challenge, becoming an accomplished viticulturalist in just a few years. He experimented with various rootstocks to discover the best ones, and then planted them...

The vine-covered slopes around the château soon reached 120 hectares.

At the same time, he made architectural modifications to the château. He added a tower affording an extraordinary view of the surrounding countryside, as well as new cellars, outbuildings, and gardens.

Very attached to Bonnet, Léonce Récapet succeeded in making it one of the most beautiful estates in the region.

In 1953, one of his grandsons, André Lurton, inherited Bonnet. He perpetuates the work begun by his grandfather...

Wines produced by the chateau

Address and location

Château Bonnet

Tél: + 33 (0)5 57 25 58 58
Fax : + 33 (0)5 57 74 98 59

GPS: 44°48'12"N  -  0°13'27"O