Friday, August 2, 2019

Going Organic at Château Peyruche

On one of Bordeaux's hottest days this summer, I rode with Chateau Peyruche's owner, Bertrand Weisgerber up into the vineyard to meet winemaker and vineyard manager, David Sarry, to learn more about their conversion to organic farming. Along the way, Weisgerber shared that locals refer to this area as "little Tuscany" because of the rolling hills and bucolic landscape.

Château Peyruche sits on the small hillsides of Langoiran which overlooks the Garonne River in the Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux region. The name comes from old French words meaning "rough stone." The estate is built on these calcareous rocks. The house was built in at least the 15th century, if not earlier, and was renovated in the 17th century. Weisgerber is now in the midst of renovating it again.

Weisgerber purchased the estate in early 2017. He had always wanted his own winery and upon seeing the historic property, he immediately fell in love with it. He quickly hired David Sarry to begin the three year long process of converting the estate to certified organic.

The vineyards are primarily planted with Merlot vines with some Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Sémillon, and Sauvignon Blanc. Sarry explained that as hot and dry weather becomes more typical, they are planning on planting more Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot which are later ripening varieties to help manage alcohol levels.

Weisgerber shared that the property had enjoyed greater biodiversity in the 19th century and they were hoping to regain some of that with their care of the estate now. He pointed out some nearby walnut trees and he also added that the surrounding woods has led to some animal traffic coming through the vineyard. We headed back to the Château for a tour of the renovation, a tasting, and some lunch.


The wines:

Château Peyruche Bordeaux Blanc 2018 - After an erratic spring that brought lots of rain and hail threats, the year evolved into a beautiful summer and fall with a smooth harvest. The wine is a blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Sémillon grown on gravel, red clay and and limestone soils. The wine was fresh and bright with white nectarine and pear with hints of spice and floral notes. The wine has a rich, rounded feel from lees aging that was done partially in barrel. It was an elegant pairing with the local oysters.

Château Peyruche Bordeaux Rosé 2018 - Fruity and fresh with aromas and flavors of mixed red berries and a lingering finish, this Merlot rosé is ideal in the summer but can be enjoyed with simple seafood dishes all year.

Château Peyruche Côtes de Bordeaux 'Fûts de Chêne 2015 - This blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon came from a year that many have described as ideal. The wine is aged partially in new oak and partially in used oak for 12-14 months. Aromatic and fresh with cherry, berries, and plum, the wine is well-structured with a tannic backbone and a persistent spicy finish.

Château Peyruche Côtes de Bordeaux 'Fûts de Chêne 2017 - This was a low yielding year due to spring frosts. It is also a blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon that was aged in both new and used barrels for 12-14 months. The wine displays rich cherry and cassis aromas and flavors with a good tannic structure and a lengthy, slightly spicy finish.
Château Peyruche Cadillac 2017 - Spring frosts also made this a very limited production wine. Loaded with honeysuckle aromas and tropical flavors, this sweet wine is fresh and rich with a creamy feel all the way through the lingering finish.

All of these wines are highly recommended.

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