Bordeaux is well-known for robust reds – but the sisters of the Vignobles Famille Courselle are just as happy to be known for the region’s dynamic whites, rosés, clairets and crémants, too. Based at Château Thieuley – just 30 kilometres outside Bordeaux – the group also includes Clos Sainte Anne and the export-only Château Saint Genès, and is run by sisters Sylvie and Marie, who consider themselves as ambassadors for the region’s small, welcoming châteaux.

As the girls grew – playing in the vineyards originally bought by their grandfather André, in 1950 – the business did too. “We had an extraordinary playground,” explains co-owner Sylvie Courselle. “We always knew what we wanted to do. It’s in our DNA.” But they also aimed to move beyond Bordeaux reds, and build on Thieuley’s reputation for other options, including high-quality whites. “There are fewer places worldwide where you can produce very good whites,” says Sylvie. “We really believe in our terroir.” That terroir includes Clos Saint Anne, in the Côtes de Bordeaux, whose hotter, gravelly soil produces a spicier, “more feminine” wine. Château Thieuley itself sits on clay-limestone, and the name ‘Thieuley’ means ‘tiles’ in old French, harking back to a time when a working clay-tile factory sat here.

Vignobles Famille Courselle - Sylvie and Marie Courselle

Sylvie and Marie Courselle.

Indeed, the sisters’ modern, open-minded approach is built on strong foundations, and it is this sense of history – and their father Francis’ dedication to keeping the sites welcoming and accessible – that they bring to public tastings at the château. With a certification from sustainable winemaker association Terra Vitis, Château Thieuley’s methods are also eco-friendly, and ensure that production will continue without overbearing industrialisation, and find the perfect mix of history and innovation. “We constantly seek balance,” explains Sylvie. “We are mothers…and managers. That is our quest – to find balance, and be the generation that is showing the dynamic face of Bordeaux.”

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