A “appellation“ a village's history
Antic and medieval times
As early as at Roman time, this current east border of the appellation was already a well-known axis linking the port of Libourne/Condat to the wine villas and cropping of the rich Romans. The famous poet and consul Ausone was probably one of them with his villa located further East in the municipality of Montagne-Saint-Emilion.
In the 12th century, the Hospitallers of Saint John of Jerusalem established in Pomerol one of their military based probably alongside a hospital for pilgrims following the via turonensis (Way of St James) from Paris to Santiago de Compostella. Family crest stone pillars and la Croix de Gay, cross of intersection probably related to this pilgrimage, are the current reminders of the old hospital possessions, whose main vocation was to produce grain and cereals. The old Romanesque church, dating from the 11th century and unfortunately destroyed in the 19th century was probably prior to the installation of the Hospitallers in the Barbanne region. One of the cellar of the château La Croix de Gay, built with stones retrieved at the destruction of the church, bears a pediment dated of 1898.
Growing quality at modern era
The second half of the 18th century marks the advent of quality for the vineyards of Pomerol and Saint-Emilion. Indeed, the construction of the bridges on the Garonne in the 19th century and the growing dynamism of trade originally from Corrèze (independent from the historical Bordeaux trading place), will enable the wines of the right bank of the Garonne to impose themselves against the Bordeaux vineyards of Graves and Médoc.
A burgundy like wine production in Bordeaux
Aware of their duty to protect their “terroir”, grape growers know how to remain vigilant against any attempt of urbanisation, through their wine Union and the brotherhood of the hospitaliers of Pomerol. This rural landscape, small houses and of course, carefully cultivated vines in the shade of the bell tower of the parish is one of the characteristics of this designation, a picture you would more usually see in Burgundy than in the Bordeaux region.
The hamlet of Pignon, historic village of Pomerol and chateau La Croix de Gay cradle
The origin of the château La Croix Gay and the Lebreton family is the hamlet of Pignon in the north of the Pomerol appellation, on the edge of the Barbanne River. It is in all likelihood the Pomerol historic village on the road leading from Saint-Emilion to Guitres. The old church dating from 11th century was 100 meters away in the center of the cemetery.
The former rectory where the Abbot Trémolière hid, in 1793, the proscribed Girondins Barbaroux, Louvet and Valady is located in the heart of this hamlet.