Emilien, Château Le Puy

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Emilien, 2018, Château Le Puy

A young yet elegant Bordeaux with complexity

Region: Bordeaux, France
Grape(s): Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon & Carménère
Genre: Organic & biodynamic
Low Sulphur: Yes
Tasting Notes: Black fruits, plum, herbal, restrained oak, elegance, finesse

Lying next to Pomerol and St-Emilion, in what the Romans called ‘the plateau of wonders’, Château Le Puy has been run by the Amoreau family since the early 17th century. They are making low-intervention wine in a place of ever-growing intervention, which started in 1990 with a move towards ‘natural’ wine and extra focus on carefully selecting perfect grapes that could sing by themselves without added sulphur, sugar or yeasts. They started to work with the lunar calendar, and are now certified as organic and biodynamic- as they put it, ‘tending the vines just as our grandfathers did’. Also, unlike many in Bordeaux, they crush and co-ferment the grapes with indigenous yeasts, with the co-fermentation providing extra complexity to the wines. Now run by Jean-Pierre, Françoise & Pascal Amoreau, who are the 15th generation of their family to work here, they have around 35 hectares with plenty of old vines above 50 years.

Based on the Right Bank of Bordeaux, where Merlot dominates, this wine is 85% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon & 1% Carménère. The Merlot-dominant nature gives lighter body and more juiciness than the heavily structured wines from the Left Bank, where Cab Sauv dominates. This is enhanced by the destemming of the grapes, and fermentation happening in cement tanks. The wines ages two years in oak, and is bottled with only a tiny addition of sulphur. It is an elegant Bordeaux with delicate touches and pure character. It is easily approachable now, in its youth, with fresh fruit, light spice and hints of development, but also has the acidity and structure to develop over the next 20-plus years.