Château de Saint-Cernin is a 12th century feudal castle restored in 1875, set in the heart of the Périgord region of France, close to the city of Bergerac. It is at the top of the little village of Saint-Cernin-de-Labarde, counting some 200 souls, overlooking the valley of the River Conne.
Out of the original eight 14th century towers, only two are still standing today. The remains of a third tower can be found on the western buttress. The west wing still has two square turrets, one of which has an impressive « à la romaine » staircase and a beautiful Renaissance door. As early as the 12th and 13th centuries, the chronicles of the time recount the terrible attacks against the people in the castle from coalitions of the surrounding areas.
The region then became the property of the King of England.
The Hundred Years War broke out in 1337, destroying towns and castles, which in turn belonged to the English, then to the French army. The Périgord was liberated in 1450 by the troops of Charles VII.
Château de Saint-Cernin belonged to some members of the nobility who can be traced back to 1417. It is a majestic edifice which has been home to wine production for centuries, as reflected in the designs above the fireplace of the main dining-room.
LOCAL WINE HISTORY
Vineyards in Périgord date back as far as Roman times. Château de Saint-Cernin is precisely set in the “Périgord Pourpre” (Purple Perigord) describing the colour of the red wines produced in the area around the city of Bergerac. The history of the local wines is linked to that of its river, the Dordogne, which was the only means of transporting wines down to nearby Bordeaux from where they were sent all over the world.
Robert Wessman, an Icelandic businessman, bought it at the beginning of the 2000s with the ambition to bring it back to its former splendour and to produce world class wines in very select quantities.
His partner, Ksenia Shakhmanova who co-owns the winery, is an experienced gourmet and knowledgeable taster. She co-manages the business and participates in all the key stages of the life of the vineyard with an important impact on the quality of the wines and their packaging.
Gérard Basset, World Champion Sommelier and the only person ever to hold simultaneously the Master of Wine, Master Sommelier and MBA Wine honours, is Robert and Ksenia’s personal consultant for the quality strategy, and plays a vital role in the wine selection and blends.
James de Roany acts as the company’s CEO and cellar-master.