The history of Château Durfort-Vivens goes back to the 12th century, when the powerful Durfort de Duras family founded a stronghold. They remained the owners until the 19th century. Over the centuries, the family - either directly or by marriage – contributed to the rise and later to the consecration of the great Medoc wines, through their properties Durfort and Lamothe, presently Chateau Margaux. In 1775, during his visit to Bordeaux, Thomas Jefferson noted down the quality of the Durfort wines, placing them directly after Lafite, Haut Brion and Margaux, which was sanctioned by the 1855 classification when Durfort Vivens received the title of second top growth wine in the Medoc (2ème Cru Classé Margaux property). The name had changed in 1824 when Monsieur de Vivens acquired the property and appended his family name as customary.
The vineyard of Château Durfort-Vivens was taken over in 1937 by Château Margaux, having the Lurton family as one of the main shareholders. The wine was made at Chateaux Margaux until 1961 when Lucien Lurton, who was already the owner of Chateau Brane-Cantenac, took Château Durfort-Vivens over. His passion and great knowledge of the viticultural land helped to put the vineyard back on its feet. Lucien’s son, Gonzague Lurton, inherited the property in 1992 and installed a new cellar and tanks in 1995 and 1996. Since the 2002 vintage, most of the grapes are vinified in small wood and cement tanks which helps to optimise the temperature control during the vinification process and to obtain a particularly fine selection of parcels. Without adopting new processes, he still continues to produce the best quality wines from this superb soil.
Château Durfort-Vivens is situated in the district of Margaux, Cantenac and Soussans, the roots are planted on the 32 hectare vineyard on slopes of gravelly soil, deep and particularly poor, deposited by successive layers from the bed of the Garonne river during the Quaternary. This rich soil facilitates the early maturity of the Cabernet-Sauvignon, giving delicate and silky tannins : A touch of elegance typical of the top growth wines from Margaux. The supervision of the vine and the vinification respect the quality of the soil as much as possible. Reasoned Agriculture, low yield ( 45 hectolitres per hectare ), parcel selection, adapted vinification (small tanks, long maceration, variable maturing in barrels according to the quality of tannins), all this produces, in a very precise and rigorous touch, a fine and firm deep tannic wine where one can frequently find the fragrance of violet, black cherry and truffle. Grape varieties : 70% Cabernet-Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 10% Cabernet-Franc.
The Pocket Wine Guide by Hugh Johnson rates Château Durfort-Vivens with three blue stars (out of five and blue is for good value in its class) and recommends vintages as follows (bold years should be ready for drinking and a particular successful vintage is marked with a '): 82' 85 86 88 89 90 93 94 95 96' 98 00' 01 02.