For Véronique Cochran, wine is more than a second life. Anchored at the summit of the village of Bayon, she has given a soul to the wines of Château Falfas. Renowned as the finest property in Côtes de Bourg, Château Falfas is a hidden gem built in 1612, and its wines were exported through special privilege to the court of Edward of England.

Véronique grew up in a village near Saumur in the Loire Valley, where her parents were wine growers. François Bouchet, her father, was a farmer, a researcher, and a poet at heart. He was one of the first to apply the theories of Rudolph Steiner (the father of biodynamy) to his vineyard and in 2003 he wrote a book ‘Biodynamic Agriculture: how to apply it to the vineyards’. In fact, nowadays, many wine estates worldwide have become familiar with biodynamic principles and apply them throughout their vineyards thanks to Monsieur Bouchet, who also created the label ‘Demeter’.

Today, the family domaine in the Loire is run by Véronique’s brother and has been farmed biodynamically since the 1960s.

In her youth, Véronique showed more interest in the art world than in the wine sphere. She embraced an artistic career in Paris, including ballet dancing. It is in the capital that she met her future husband, John Cochran, an American lawyer practising in Paris. Both had a dream: to make their own wine and Bordeaux would be their chosen region.

After visiting several properties, they purchased Château Falfas in 1988, the place ‘that touched their hearts’. They rapidly moved to Bayon and, unsurprisingly, Véronique aimed at tending the vineyards according to the biodynamic principles with which she was brought up. Reluctant at first, John soon realised that Véronique had the strong ability and energy to interpret these principles and to apply them in the vineyard with a simple philosophy in mind: the wines are not ‘made’, but rather ‘grown’.

Sadly, John died following a long illness in 2008 and Véronique has since been making the wine and running the domaine by herself, assisted by her vineyard team and supported by her two daughters, Annabelle and Suzanne.

Today, Château Falfas is a 20-hectare single vineyard, with Merlot, Cabernet, and Malbec planted on south facing hillsides on gravel, clay and limestone soils.

Located less than half a mile from the estuary between the river Gironde and Dordogne, in this beautiful area nicknamed ‘Little Switzerland Gironde’, the vineyard of Falfas benefits from the oceanic air every six hours, due to the tides. A 15-hectare woodland on the estate acts as a treasure for the vineyard life and its biodiversity. Véronique’s respect for her terroir, her vines, and the well-being of her soil is immense. She believes in ‘a healthy fruit’ which is the result of her relentless work in the vineyard, considerably painstaking, and remarkably respectful. This perpetual labour brings to the wines of Falfas beautiful minerality, a sense of place, balance, harmony, and freshness. 

The wines of Château Falfas wines are pure, vibrant, rich with a magical elegance, and they deliver extraordinary energy and appealing acidity. Véronique is considered one of the pioneers of the biodynamic method of cultivation in Bordeaux and, with love and tranquility, she crafts wines that delight the senses and provide joy.

Profile © Françoise and Seán Gilley

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