AMA Vertical Tasting
Château Cadet-Bon

AMA Vertical Tasting-Château Cadet-Bon - Alexandre MA

I started paying attention to Château Cadet-Bon back in 2016, and every time I taste their wines, I’m struck by an indescribable sense of “self-control”. It’s a refreshing and comfortable feeling that lurks behind their passion, a strength that dwells quietly within its modesty and tranquility.


The way it expresses the limestone terroir has won my heart—the texture of its tannins like chalk dust, and the salty breeze that touches your palate are irresistibly enticing. It’s what I call a “smolderingly attractive” wine. Even more impressive is that this wine maintains a very friendly price, with an annual production of just around 25,000 bottles, making it perfect for those niche consumers who prefer to taste something out of the mainstream.


In January, I visited the technical team at Château Cadet-Bon, tasted 14 vintages with the owner, Mr. Guy RICHARD, and the new winemaker, Charles, giving me a deeper understanding of this Château. To dive into the technical details, I requested a press kit.


To my surprise, I received a special document of 167 pages that Château Cadet-Bon used to apply for the 2022’s Saint-Émilion classification! It covered everything from soil analysis, grafting type, winemaking processes, to even the type of paper used for the labels.


Given their sincerity, I couldn’t just sit back. After two days of researching this document, I’ve summarized the most crucial details for you. It might come across as a bit “Dry”, but for enthusiasts, it’s packed with valuable insights. I hope next time you taste Château Cadet-Bon, you’ll spend a few minutes reading through this article for a whole new appreciation.

AMA Vertical Tasting-Château Cadet-Bon - Alexandre MA

Terroir Details:


Château Cadet-Bon is nestled in the northern part of the Saint-Émilion, merely 895 meters from the village center. Its 7 hectares of vineyards are roughly divided into two sections (nearly 2 hectares are currently fallow): Haut-Cadet, located near the top left corner of the map, and Cadet-Bon, situated to the south of the Château. Both of these parts sit atop Saint-Émilion’s prized clay-limestone soil.


Haut-Cadet, situated on the top of an abandoned quarry, elevating this section higher (at 76 meters above sea level) with a high proportion of limestone in the soil and thinner topsoil. This environment is exceptionally suited for cultivating the elegant Cabernet Franc. The young Cabernet Franc planted in recent years are mostly originate from this area.


Cadet-Bon, on the other hand, stretches over a gentle slope facing slightly south. While it also features clay-limestone soil, it has more clay on the surface of soil compared to Haut-Cadet. This composition allows both Cabernet Franc and Merlot to thrive, often resulting in more texture to the wine.


The lower part of Cadet-Bon on the southern part is a bottomland with the highest clay content. It’s particularly suited for Merlot, especially for producing powerful Merlot with large structure and depth.


Since 2001, Château Cadet-Bon has been dedicated to a mission: to seamlessly integrate the distinct characters of each plot into a harmonious family. They nicely use the inherent ‘freshness’ of limestone to accentuate the fragrant and authentic essence of Cabernet Franc. Meanwhile, the sweetness of Merlot is skillfully combined with the robust structure provided by clay and the refined complexity offered by limestone. The aim is to make a Château Cadet-Bon with a refined silhouette, and an abundance of enchanting floral and fruity notes.

AMA Vertical Tasting-Château Cadet-Bon - Alexandre MA


After understanding the characters of the soil, the next step for Château Cadet-Bon is to “boost vines’s vitality.” They know that transitioning to organic and biodynamic practices isn’t something that happens overnight—it requires time for the vines to adjust and patience for the technical team to experiment.


Since working with winemaking consultant Derenoncourt’s team in 2004 (Frédéric MASSIE and Stéphane DERENONCOURT), they embarked on a long-term “vineyard revival” plan. After nearly a decade of observation, in 2017, they decided to test the “Tisane or infusion” (a mix of nettles, horsetail, willow, yarrow, and chamomile) to reduce the use of sulfur and copper. According to Frédéric, the results were beyond expectations, with grape quality improving significantly, most noticeably through purer and clearer aromas.


This initial success boosted the team’s confidence. In 2018, they took on the challenge of transitioning to organic farming. Three years later, to everyone’s surprise, they achieved organic certification in the challenging vintage of 2021. The vines excellently resisted mildew, with both grape quality and yield exceeding expectations.


Winemaker Charles shared that in 2021, Château Cadet-Bon installed their own weather stations in the vineyards, allowing real-time monitoring of rainfall, temperature, humidity, soil moisture, and wind speed from anywhere via an app, enabling effective vineyard management. He also revealed that Château Cadet-Bon has begun experimenting with biodynamic practices in some vineyards, with very promising results so far. Bordeaux may welcome another “biodynamic Grand Cru Classé”. in the future.

AMA Vertical Tasting-Château Cadet-Bon - Alexandre MA

Let’s just focus on the unique winemaking processes at Château Cadet Bon, without talking about every detail of the procedure.




Upon arrival, grapes are immediately infused with CO2 to prevent oxidation. Depending on the different vintage, they could take the measure of bleeding about 10-30% of the juice. The yeast remains commercial yeast (10g/hl), with a conservative approach to nutrients, adding only when necessary. Manual “pigeage” (punching down) is employed at the beginning of fermentation, after 5-7 days of alcoholic fermentation, the wine undergoes post-fermentation maceration at 30°C to ensure full integration of tannins and anthocyanins.


Free-run wine and pressed Wine: 5-10% of the free-run wine starts malolactic fermentation in new oak barrels, while the rest is completed in cement or stainless steel tanks. Pressed wine is categorized into three quality levels: P0, P1, and P2, aged separately and blended during the final blending based on their quality.




The wine is aged for 14 months. From 2010 to 2014, only 225L oak barrels were used including new barrels, one-year barrels, and two-year-old barrels. Starting in 2015, the Château started to use 30% of 500L and 400L barrels, leading to crisper fruitiness, fresher palate, and silkier tannins, yet without losing the original structure of Château Cadet-Bon. In 2018, a 700L amphora (Tava) was completed. Winemaker Charles noted that while Tava offered a straightforward and more aromatic fragrance, it lacked the roundness of oak-barrel aging. Considering Tava’s characteristics, they prefer to keep 5-10%, ensuring the ideal elegance and complexity.

AMA Vertical Tasting-Château Cadet-Bon - Alexandre MA

If you’ve read it this far, you’re truly a “wine geek” at heart. Honestly, in today’s world where information is everywhere, it’s rare to find consumers who study wines this intently.


So, here’s a little bonus for you: How to select Château Cadet-Bon from different vintages? From my experience, the difference between cool and hot vintages at Château Cadet-Bon is quite obvious. For a wine that’s somewhat “low-key,” it needs higher maturity to ignite its inner spark. The 2019 vintage stands as my personal pinnacle; from this year, Château Cadet-Bon became more translucent. The 2018 vintage is also a good example, where its “passion” and Château Cadet-Bon’s “restraint” blend seamlessly, perfectly showcasing its inherent “self-control.”


One more thing to share: Château Cadet-Bon updated its label in 2022, with significant changes in both color scheme and design. Next time when you see the label, take a closer look– there’s a secret there 😆. If we ever meet up with a new vintage of Château Cadet-Bon next time, I’ll share this interesting story with you.


See you next time my dear friends!