Histoire du château
From its origins to the
In the Middle Ages, the château of Cantemerle, seat of the jurisdiction of the same name, bordered the Garonne River and made up part of the line of fortifications that defended the banks of the Médoc region, just over half a mile from the present château.
The oldest known manuscript known which mentions the name of the Lords of Cantemerle is the "Grand Cartulaire" of La Sauve Majeur Abbey, dating to the twelfth century. The monks recorded there all transactions executed within the monastic community. In 1147, the Abbey received vast territories as a gift from Arnaud, Lord of Blanquefort, before he set out on crusade. This donation was made in the presence of Pons de Cantemerle (Poncio da Canta merla). . Did he follow Arnaud de Blanquefort on pilgrimage to Jerusalem? No one knows for sure. If he did leave, he returned to France, because in 1151 he was witness to yet another donation - that of the Saint Croix Abbey by the priest of Bordeaux, Lord of L'Isle.
A century later when Aquitaine became English, we find a Lord of Cantemerle fighting beside Henri III of England: in 1242, the king sent a communique calling for support at the Battle of Taillebourg in Saintonge, which he would lose against Saint Louis.
At this time the domain was situated north of Ludon-Médoc, some 500 meters from the present chateau on a circular rise near the la Mouline spring, with dominion over the villages of Lafont, La Lagune and Paloumey. The château formed part of a line of fortified structures defending the shores of the Gironde, and was even equipped with its own port.
On March 22, 1274, Gaillard de Cantemerle and Amanieu Artaud de Cérons signed an pact of mutual recognition. The barony of Cantemerle came to rival that of d’Agassac.
One of his descendants, Ponset de Cantemerle was Lord of the estate in 1340.
The first traces of viticultural production on the property were found in 1354 - the Lord of Cantemerle paid his tithes on wine with a tonneau (tun or Bordeaux cask) of clairet (the pale red wine which inspired the English word 'claret').
In 1369, Edward III named Louis Chabot lord of Cantemerle, entitling him to receive 1/6th of the harvest—mainly grains at this time—from his subjects.
In the fifteenth century, the feudal domain of Cantemerle belonged to the Caupène family, originally from the Landes region. According to a title deed of 1422, the squire Jean de Caupène was described as Lord of Cantemerle. His son, Médard de Caupène, later became Lord until the end of the fifteenth century.
Bordeaux's book of arms shows that during the fifteenth century, a union was formed between the Caupène and la Roque families, with Jeanne de Caupène given in marriage to Henry de la Roque. Their son Charles became the Lord of Cantemerle at the beginning of the sixteenth century and took Isabeau de Lanes as his wife.
A title deed of 1536 shows that Jean de la Roque, also an equerry, was Lord of both Gua and Cantemerle. The Gironde region's historical archives mention that, in 1540, Jehan de la Roque possessed the noble house of Cantemerle, in the jurisdiction of Blanquefort, and thereby had an income of sixty Bordeaux francs in deniers, approximately five or six barrels of wine and some poultry.
In 1575, only three "tonneaux" of wine were collected - that is, 12 Bordeaux barrels - on the Cantemerle estate. During the Middle Ages and up until the sixteenth century, the Médoc was devoted more to cereal-growing than to wine production.
On 20 August, 1579, Jean de Villeneuve, second president of the parliament of Bordeaux, bought the noble houses and outbuildings of Cantemerle, la Raze and Nestérieu for 12,500 livres or "4,166 crowns and two-thirds of a crown"