Dourthe: Château Pey La Tour   
The Bordeaux negociant and property owner aiming to change the fortunes of affordable wines from Bordeaux

The next morning saw us visiting Pey la Tour, one of Dourthe’s top properties, although it is only a lowly Bordeaux Supérieur property in the Entre-Deux-Mers region. It’s 200 hectares, with mostly clay soils, planted at 6000 vines/hectare. To get balance, a reasonably high canopy is used here because there’s quite a bit of water in the soil.

Merlot predominates (vineyard split is 88% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot), and yield is usually around 50–55 hl/ha, although in 2009 it was reduced to 46 hl/ha by hail. Pruning is taille Bordelaise with two canes and no replacement spurs.

Back in 1990 there were just 30 hectares here, so it has grown quite a bit. The property is rented on a rolling 3 year contract. It’s seen as a model estate for the Syndicat for Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur, appellations that are really struggling in today’s marketplace. Dourthe’s vision is to make a brand out of the Château. ‘It’s realistic in the long-term to build a volume brand here that’s also an estate wine,’ says Patrick Jestin. ‘It took 10 years for us to really have the level of quality that we expected,’ he adds.

We sampled some tanks:

2009 Merlot on clay, 25 year old vines: ripe, vivid and intense with strong Merlot character

2009 Merlot, 40 year old vines. Sapid and vivid with dark fruits and a big green character. Attractive.

2009 Cabernet Franc: very Cabernet Franc, with expressive mineral notes and nice sappy, green fruit.

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, on gravel: lovely structured, ripe wine with good density. Lovely.

2009 Petit Verdot: dense, structured with deep colour and lots of fruit. Tannic and pure.


1 Introduction
2 Sauvignon Blanc
3 Château La Garde, and dinner with Matthieu Chadronnier
4 Château Pey La Tour
5 Château Belgrave, and blending Essence
6 Château Le Boscq

See also:

The Bordeaux wines of Bernard Magrez (series)

Wines tasted 11/09
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