Saint-Emilion, the largest of the right bank districts, is home to some of Bordeaux's most sought after wines, including Cheval Blanc, Ausone and, since the 1990s, a handful of expensive, small production 'garage' wines. One of the rising stars here is Château Quinault, whose 12 hectare vineyard is now surrounded by the urban sprawl of Libourne. This rather unusual location creates a warm microclimate, which helps to ripen the grapes and protects from frosts. Since Dr Raynaud and his wife Françoise saved this property from the developers in 1997, quality has been on the up and the wines are now fully exploiting the unique potential of the vineyard.
The soils are mainly gravel and well drained, with a low water table that encourages deep-rooting vine growth. As is typical for Saint-Emilion, Merlot is the dominant grape, with a tendency to produce lush, fruity wines. The other grape varieties grown here are the Cabernets Franc and Sauvignon, which contribute acidity and structure. Unusually for Saint-Emilion, which suffered a devastating frost in 1956 that wiped out entire vineyards, Quinault's vines are old: half the vines are over 50 years old, with the remainder more than 40.