A long history
The Verdignan estate
Verdignan is known as one of the oldest winemaking estates in the Pauillac area and is certainly the oldest in Saint Seurin de Cadourne. It stands out by the beautiful architecture of its château building. The estate remained in the same family from the late 18th century until 1934, a sign that the former owners loved staying at this property steeped in history and with a stunning view.
The château is still an impressive structure today, despite having lost a third of its floor area on its south side to a fire in the 1940s. The many photography lovers who stop here often remark on the architectural similarity with other buildings in the Médoc region from before this part of the 18th century.
There is a date on the stone lintel of the oldest door of the fermenting room at Verdignan: 1720.
For many years, the abbeys held the secrets to winemaking. It is therefore no surprise that the fermenting room at Verdignan was built just a few hundred metres from the former Cadourne Abbey, a stopover for pilgrims on the Way of Saint James, who would cross the estuary here, arriving in the port of La Maréchale. This port was also a loading spot for the scows which shipped barrels of wine to Bordeaux.
THE MIAILHE FAMILY
The family originated from Tarn et Garonne and moved to Portets in the Graves region, before Bordeaux. They were known as wine brokers. The first to start out in the profession was Elie, appointed as a Royal Broker by letter patent in 1793 (source: departmental library).
The brokerage firm of the same name began only in 1818 (source: family history). Successive generations went on to work in the profession without interruption. Jean Miailhe was the last to earn his living from this activity, before stopping in 1970.
The first member of the Miailhe family to become a winemaker in the middle of the 19th century was Frédéric (Château Siran), by a happy coincidence in his private life: his marriage.
Later, during the major winemaking crises from the 1920s through to the 1950s, his two sons Louis and Edouard complemented their brokerage work by investing in other Médoc wines.
After the sale of Pichon Contesse by May Eliane de Lencquesaing (Edouard’s daughter), the last winemaker in this family line was his nephew Edouard Miailhe, at Siran.
In 1924, Louis bought Coufran and only his son Jean stayed in winemaking to follow on from him in Saint Seurin-de-Cadourne. He then had the opportunity to take over the neighbouring Château, Verdignan, in two phases, in 1972 then 1975.
Since the 80s, his two children Marie Cécile Vicaire and Eric Miailhe have taken over.