When the owner of a funky little wine shop in downtown Bellingham with 35 years of experience in serving, buying and selling wine (Seifert & Jones Wine Merchants – check them out) introduces a wine to you by saying, ‘It’s like a cool, good looking guy who’s been working out and favours tight black t-shirts,’ you know you’ve got to buy it. And now, after tasting it, I’m like ‘He’s mine, all mine!’
The Chateau was founded only in 2000 and has 100 ha of vines in Saint-Drezery, a small village just 15 km northeast of Montpellier in Coteaux du Languedoc, AoC. The Coteaux du Languedoc is in the far eastern part of Languedoc-Roussillon, adjacent to the Costieres de Nimes. Some of France’s first vineyards planted around 125 BC were established here.
Coteaux du Languedoc is huge and extensive, but is also sometimes referred to by some ungenerously as a ‘simple’ appellation. That said, it has come to offer some of the best value options for French wine. Saint-Drezery is the Coteaux’s smallest region. Most wine produced there is engineered by the local cooperative, save for Puech-Haut which is noted in Jancis Robinson’s Oxford Companion of Wine as ‘producing fine reds and whites’.
A little research reveals that Puech-Haut’s 2009 exploded onto the US wine scene with a 93 awarded by Robert Parker, unsurprising as this is exactly the style venerated in the Wine Advocate – big, bold, flamboyant, full and with so much going on. The 2010 was similar, earning a 94 in the Rhone Ranger, and sold out quickly. The most incredible thing though is the price – how is it possible that after several celebrated vintages, this 2011 is still less than US$20?
But hey – I’m not one to question a good thing…No, make that a beautiful thing. This wine is 55% Grenache and 45% Syrah, grown on gravelly limestone strewn with galets (huge round rocks that absorb the day’s heat and re-radiate it to the vines overnight) in dry conditions with low yields and aged in concrete tanks.
Gerard Bru is the owner and he has had some of the best of the best consultants assist with his wines including the one-and-only Michel Roland and Claude Gros. This cuvée is no exception; it was executed by Philippe Cambie and Eric Solomon whose names are on the front of the bottle which is itself interesting and unusual.
Clear and bright, this wine is a deep, inky ruby red with deep legs. On the nose it’s clean with developing medium plus aromas of ripe, red and black fruit, leather glove, sous bois, vanilla, game, lavender and roasting herbs.
The palate is dry with high but integrated alcohol, medium plus acidity and medium plus body. The tannins are medium ripe and velvety and the medium plus flavour characteristics include more raspberry, ripe strawberry, pomegranate, cassis, dry leaves, thyme, rosemary, purple blossoms, savoury meats and leather saddle. The finish is long and lingering.
This wine is WSET ‘outstanding’. What a find; I’m going back for more of this black t-shirted hunk. The balance is phenomenal and seamless – fresh and fruity, perfect tannins that can go for 5-8 years more and still provide a frame, development of secondary characteristics, the flavours and aromas of which are lengthy and complex.
This will age gracefully but I recommend ‘drink now’, and enjoy as much as you can.