Cordouan's Lighthouse

Cordouan's Lighthouse

CAP ROYAL owes its name to the Cordouan lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse in Europe.


The mouth of the Gironde estuary has always had a bleak reputation. The perilous nature of this area led it to be known as a marine cemetery. Since ancient times, however, hermits traditionally lit fires for the sailors and prayed for their souls on the island of Cordouan… Several edifices were built in the sea at the current location of Cordouan, before being recorded in any historical documents.


A light tower was built around the year 1360, known as the “Tour aux Anglais”. The Black Prince (Edward Prince of Wales), head of the English armies who were occupying Guyenne at the time, ordered that the mouth of the Gironde be made secure. The original Cordouan lighthouse was therefore built, a 16 metre high polygonal tower with a platform from which a hermit was responsible for burning a nocturnal fire. The original lighthouse has evolved over the centuries to become the lighthouse we know today.


It was classed as a historical monument in 1862, at the same time as the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, and is now listed as a Historical Monument and also listed in the UNESCO World Heritage in 2021. The Cordouan lighthouse is one of a kind and its grand architecture has seen it become known as the “Versailles of the Sea”. It was therefore known as the “King of Lighthouses” and the “Lighthouse of Kings”.

A historical wine merchant


In less than 35 years, La Compagnie Médocaine des Grands Crus has established a reputation for itself as a key actor in the sales of Bordeaux wines, both in France and around the world. More than just a company, it is first and foremost a team who are there to help you and ensure they provide the highest quality wines possible. La Compagnie Médocaine des Grands Crus is a 100 % subsidiary of AXA Millésimes, the wine branch of the AXA group, and encompasses many of Europe’s most renowned wine domaines.

Jean-René Matignon,

A promise

Jean René Matignon


Jean-René Matignon was born in the Anjou region and grew up in a family of winemakers. His great grandfather was a barrel cooper. He developed a love of fine wines thanks to his brother-in-law, Jean-Luc Pouteau, who won the title of the world’s best Sommelier in 1983. Having completed viticultural and oenological studies followed by commercial training, he moved to Canada in 1982 where he spent a year working for a wine domaine in British Columbia and was able to complete his experience by learning English.


He returned to France in 1983 and joined the Angers Chamber of Agriculture where he developed new vinification techniques with a winemakers association. This was an opportunity for him to get to know local research teams and develop new methods that would form the basis of his quest for innovation.


He became Cellar Master and Cultivation Manager at Château Pichon-Baron in 1985. Since 1987 he has held the position of Technical Director for this Grand Cru Classé wine domaine in Pauillac. He has implemented numerous changes, firstly on a viticultural level including irrigation and planting works, followed by the construction of new vinification and ageing facilities. Alongside Christian Seely, he perfected an ambitious and very strict selection strategy based on an ecologically responsible approach to viticulture. Along with his team, he strives to invest all of his efforts and knowledge into the production of outstanding wines.


In 2013 he worked with the Compagnie Médocaine des Grands Crus on the project of creating an original brand: CAP ROYAL. Jean-René Matignon’s sole objective was to offer high quality yet accessible Bordeaux wines that can be enjoyed by all.

A Promise

“Cap Royal is a new philosophy and a new challenge for me: selecting the very best and creating a high quality wine that can be enjoyed by wine lovers throughout the world.”