Château Durfort-Vivens is a Bordeaux wine estate in the Margaux appellation. One of the grands crus classés (classified grands crus) of the Médoc, it was ranked as a second growth in the original 1855 Classification. The estate is overseen by Gonzague Lurton, who took over running the property in the early 1990s.
It was one of the estates visited by future US president and known wine-lover, Thomas Jefferson, just before the French Revolution. Jefferson, who was then ambassador to France, produced his own ranking of the châteaux of the Médoc, rating Durfort-Vivens just under Lafite, Latour and Margaux.
Like numerous holdings in the area, the estate in the post-revolutionary era of the 19th Century was marked by a succession of owners. This continued into the 20th Century before the château was bought by the Lurton family (who at that time also held a stake in Château Margaux, only a few hundred meters to the northeast) in 1937.
In 1962, Lucien Lurton, of the same family, bought the estate. He passed the running of the château onto his son, Gonzague, in 1992. Since then, Gonzague Lurton has revamped the cellars and, in more recent times, converted the estate to organics (certified by Ecocert in 2015) and biodynamics (first certified by Demeter in 2017).
The 55-hectare (136-acre) vineyard is planted on deep gravel soils over a sand and clay base. Roughly 70 percent of this is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, with 24 percent Merlot and 6 percent Cabernet Franc.
In the winery, there are a range of wooden and concrete vats sized to match specific vineyard parcels. Following fermentation, winemakers select the best barrels to hold the grand vin – usually around 40 percent of production – and wine typically spends around 18 months in French oak barriques, with 35 to 45 percent new wood.
The remainder goes into the second wine: Vivens de Durfort-Vivens (formerly Segond de Durfort). The estate also produces Le Relais de Durfort Vivens and Jardins de Durfort, both reportedly alternate labellings of the second wine.