At the heart of Saint-Émilion
A history-filled place
built in the 13th century
Opening the door of Couvent des Jacobins is like entering in a place that has gone through 7 centuries while preserving its identity.
The family's objective has been to keep alive the spirit of the Jacobin Brothers, a flame that visitors can find in each stone, room, and detail. At Couvent des Jacobins, it feels like time has stopped.
The former bakery of the monks is now the tasting room of the estate. It is the eldest part of Couvent des Jacobins and the most iconic of the times of the Jacobin Brothers. An iron plaque inside the chimney of the room, is marked "1389", the date of the establishment of the brotherhood in Saint-Émilion. The old bakery, located on the East side of the Couvent, is adjacent to the city walls and the moats of Saint-Émilion, 20 meters below.
The family renovated the 'garden of prayers' of the monks in the 1980s, with, at its center, an old roman baptistery. The cloister was also rebuilt in 1985. And the old dining room of the Jacobin Brothers, which used to host a dozen monks seating around a long table, has now been converted into a small ageing cellar.
Beyond the centuries, and with small touches, the soul of the Couvent has been reinstated...
But the history of Couvent des Jacobins also continues in the underground caves of the estate, 10 meters below the house, down the stairs dug inside the rock. Those caves started as quarries in the 17th and 18th centuries, providing building stones for houses in Bordeaux and Saint-Émilion. Extending below ground from the entrance of Couvent des Jacobins to the East moats, they have been used for wine storage since the beginning of the 20th century, thanks to their high natural humidity content and a constant temperature of 15°C throughout the year.
The underground cellar also contains the memory of more than a century of presence of the JEAN and JOINAUD families at the estate. Numerous bottles of old vintages of Couvent des Jacobins, a "library" of great wines of Saint-Émilion, are kept, every year, for future generations. They age slowly, in perfect conditions, under the guarding eye of Thomas Aquinas, the most prominent member of the Dominican Brotherhood.