|The Noble House of Gassies
The fief of Gassies en Medoc, in the circle of influence of the Castellany of Blanquefort at the outset, then of the Barony of Margaux, was the domain of the noble Family of Gassies until 1524. It then passed, by marriage, to the squire Gaillard de Tardes. Traditionally involved in the arms trade, the knights of Gassies were most often men-at-arms of the City of Bordeaux. In this noble lineage of the sword, history has recorded the swashbuckling feats of the corsair Laurent de Gassies who, in 1523, boarded and captured a Spanish ship on the journey back from the Americas and brought the spoils back to Bordeaux.
In 1615, the domain of Gassies en Medoc was part of the dowry of Marie de Montferrand, who married the squire Bertrand de Faverolles. In September 1661, Pierre Desmesures de Rauzan purchased the fief and lands of Gassies from the Faverolles de Montferrand family. Mr de Rauzan was well known in the world of wine at the time. He was not only a Bordeaux merchant, but also farmed at Chateau de Margaux for the Fumel family, then at Latour, before the Segur family. The strategy of Pierre de Rauzan was to purchase land close to his prestigious tenant farms, namely the Cru de Gassies for Margaux, and the future Cru de Pichon for Latour.
When he died in May 1692, Domaine de Gassies, by then named Rauzan, covered 40 hectares and his wine was considered to be the top second growth of the parishes of Margaux and Cantenac. His daughter Therese inherited the Cru de Pauillac adjacent to Latour, and his three sons inherited the Rauzan estate. While his brothers, known as Rauzan the Elder and Rauzan the Officer, turned to new horizons, the youngest son chose to become the Lord de Gassies and to stay in Margaux.
Until April 1763, when the estate was divided up between Jean-Baptiste de Rauzan and Jean de Roulier, the nephew and heir of the Lord de Gassies, Rauzan kept its unity by means of a joint management system. When Catherine de Rauzan married the Baron of Segla in 1785, the estate was permanently divided. This division gave rise to the growths of Rauzan Segla and Rauzan-Gassies, whose name perpetuates the mediaeval roots of this noble House of Margaux.
Rauzan-Gassies, Second Classified Growth in the 1855 classification
The 1855 Classification was the result of a long race among the most reputed growths of the Medoc region. During the Ancien Regime, growths were already classified, but by parish. For the Bordeaux Intendance, the purpose of such classifications was to establish a tax base to calculate the one-twentieth tax of the time, the ancestor of land registry taxes.
In 1740, 1745, and 1776, the royal administration drew up increasingly thorough and precise lists of great growths. During the 1st Republic, in 1795, this was the task of the register of communes. In 1823, the Napoleonic land registry started its work in Margaux. The lists showed the names of estate owners, growth rankings, broken down into four categories or more, and the prices of wines per barrel. In all these different rankings, the ”Rauzan” growth was invariably just behind ”Chateau de Margaux”, i.e. the leading second growth of Margaux and Cantenac.
The land division of 1763, followed by the permanent division of the estates in 1785, and the changes in ownership due to inheritance, did not change the hierarchy; hence its logical implementation for the Imperial Classification of 1855. From Second classified growth of Margaux-Cantenac, Chateau Rauzan-Gassies became a Second Grand Cru Classe of the Gironde. From 1775 to 1823, the Pellier family, the heirs of Jean de Roulier, held joint ownership of the estate. In 1823, the widow of Louis Chevalier, nee Pellier, managed the estate and lived at Gassies.
Napoleonic land registry in 1825
Her heirs, who sold their wines under their own names, Puilboreau and Chavrier du Gol, then Viguerie as from 1851, held joint ownership of the estate. The Rauzan Gassies brand appeared for the first time in 1839, and subsequently became the only established brand for the growth. When Charles Pereire and Charles Leopold Rhone, two Parisians from the Faubourg Saint-Honore, purchased the estate in 1867, it covered 17 hectares in Margaux and 24 hectares in Cantenac. This did not change until 1930, when its area increased to 35 hectares in Cantenac. In the meantime, the widow of Charles Rhone owned the estate from 1875 to 1889. It was then owned by Jean-Baptiste Rigaud, 29 rue de la Bienfaisance in Paris, followed by his widow in 1901. In 1923, Mr Puyo, a Bordeaux notary, became the owner. After his death in 1930, his widow and heirs held the estate in joint ownership until Paul Quie purchased Chateau Rauzan-Gassies in 1946.