Classification: Grand Cru
Chateau Gloria did not exist at the time of the 1855 Classification and this has lead to an all too common situation where the Château is making wine of great quality and is not ranked for it. Gloria came into being as the result of one man's desire to own and run a classed growth property. Henri Martin, one time Mayor of Saint Julien, was born at Château Gruaud Larose in 1903 and was a cooper. Martin's family had wine in their veins having lived around Bordeaux for more than 3 centuries and coopering for the châteaux He bought 14 acres of vines in 1942 in Saint Julien which were the beginnings of Chateau Gloria.
Martin expanded his vineyards, buying and trading land row by row, parcel by parcel, until he had assembled 123 acres. He was a able to accumulate different soil areas from Crus Classés Châteaux Beychevelle, Léoville Poyferré, Gruaud Larose, Léoville Barton, Ducru Beaucaillou and Duhart Milon - a feat made all the more difficult by the fact that Saint Julien only has 2,200 acres all told and almost all of these belong to the 11 Crus Classés in the appellation.
He named his Château “Gloria” after the land on which the Martin family home was built. Martin became Mayor of Saint Julien, President of the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bordeaux, co-founded the Commanderie de Bordeaux and is responsible for reviving the ancient fame of the village. He worked for a reclassification of the 1855 system (in my opinion much needed) but without success. Martin's quest to own a classed growth estate was realised when he bought Château Saint Pierre in 1982 at the grand age of 78. Château Saint Pierre is the very reverse of Château Gloria – it's one of the oldest in Médoc with records dating back to 1693. Today Martin's son-in-law, Jean-Louis Triaud, continues his work at both estates.
Chateau Gloria's vineyards are 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 5% each of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The vineyards lie in three zones: the centre of Beychevelle, the west and the north of Saint Julien and towards the border with Pauillac. The soils are Günzienne gravels with clay-sands and with vines aged over 80 years old and others 30 years, the average age of the vine is around 45 years.
Château Gloria is a deep crimson wine with rich blackcurrant, toffee, pepper, spice and cedar notes. The wines are aged in large oak foudres and small oak barrels – 50% of which are new. They are full bodied with supple tannins and are best drunk after 5 years of cellaring.
Owner: Domaine Henri Martin
Château Website: www.domaines-henri-martin.com
Oenologist: R di Costanzo