Laurent Cisneros, a passion for horses and wine

With his Spanish ancestry, a background in football (playing alongside Zidane) and a successful career in the central heating business, Laurent Cisneros is an atypical Bordelais chateau owner.  

Born in Bordeaux, away for years running a thriving business in the Charente, Laurent’s come back to his roots in more than one way : he is the proud descendent of a Spanish winemaker who gained medals in the 1889 Paris exhibition.   

He is passionate about his chateau, his family, the environment and last but not least, his horses - showjumping at national  competitions with his daughter and using traditional Percherons to till the land around the vines.  He bought the 17C Chateau de Rouillac in 2009 and won the  Best of Wine Tourism award for his environmentally-friendly practices in 2012 and 2014.

Chateau Rouillac CIsneros et Cheval  

What is the chateau’s history?

The chateau was built on land given to a noble by the French king in the 17C.  It has had numerous owners since then, the most famous of which was Baron Haussman who acquired the property in 1864. Napoleon III is said to have tasted the wine and loved it, making it a feature at the imperial table and extolling its merits to the King of Belgium!

 

What tourist activities do you provide at the chateau?

Apart from the wine tastings which are held either in the cellars or in the magnificent stables, surrounded by the horses, we also organise business seminars, with cocktails, food, and wine tasting.  We offer 4 x 4 tours of the vineyard.  Events, such as ‘Open Day’ of the chateau to the public and horse shows, are held throughout the year.

 

What do you think are the principle attractions of the region?

The chateau itself is ideally positioned - in the countryside but only 15 mins far from the centre of Bordeaux.  Pessac Leognan is a wonderful appellation - there’s a huge diversity of chateaux, from the well known grand chateaux to much smaller, family run vineyards.  And the region is small, it’s easy to go from one sector to another.

 

What about Bordeaux?  Where are your favourite places?

I love the historic side to Bordeaux, the patrimony, such as the magnificent architecture of the Grand Theatre, the beautiful Place de la Bourse with the views of the Garonne, or the quays, which take you down to Chartrons, where the history of Bordeaux and wine began.

Chateau Rouillac cuvier  
Chateau Rouillac chevaux portrait  

 

Where do you take friends when they visit the region?

I take them to the Grand Theatre and Place de La Bourse and suggest they walk the length of the quays to get a real feel of Bordeaux.  There are some great restaurants along the way…  Then of course, there’s the coast. La Corniche, near the Dune de Pyla is one of my favorite places, the views are fantastic and you can take a boat over to Cap Ferret for oysters at the Pinasse café.  Superb!

 

Which are your favorite winemaking regions outside of Bordeaux?

I would have to go with my Spanish roots and talk about Spanish vineyards - such as those of Rioja or La Mancha.  There’s a wonderful wine museum in Vivanco, so different from the Cité du Vin that you just have to see both!