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Chateau de Pez Saint-Estephe (half-bottle) 1999

Bordeaux Red Blends from St. Estephe, Bordeaux, France
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    Winemaker Notes

    Tasting: Deep crimson red in appearance, virtually opaque at the center of the glass. On the nose, the first impression is of wooded notes, followed by the rich aroma of ripe summer fruits (black currant and cherry.) On the palate, the wine is a harmony of strength and finesse, already striking in its great suppleness. Dense, substantial, with well-rounded, almost velvety tannins. The fragrance of summer fruits conferred by the exceptional ripeness of the year dominates the tasting and lingers once the wine is swallowed.

    The 1997 vintage is a fine example of the delicate, silky properties traditionally attributed to Château de Pez soil. Somewhat surprisingly perhaps, this young wine is ready for tasting now.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Chateau de Pez

    Chateau de Pez

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    Chateau de Pez, St. Estephe, Bordeaux, France
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    Created in the 15th century, Château de Pez is the oldest domaine in Saint Estèphe. The Pontac family, who also created Haut-Brion, gave Pez its vineyards. The domaine was sold as a property of the state after the French Revolution and owned by a succession of families before it was purchased by Champagne Louis Roederer in 1995.

    Château de Pez is located west of the town of Saint-Estèphe. The estate consists of 74 contiguous acres, with 54 acres under vine. The vineyard is situated on a high plateau with well-exposed slopes. From a summit of 59 ft. the land descends northward to 39 ft.

    Château de Pez remains resolutely faithful to wood. The blend is composed in December and the wine is stored in barrels where it is racked every three months. After approximately one year, roughly midway through the maturation process, the wine is fined using fresh egg whites. The wine is matured in small oak casks with 40% new oak, 30% "Premier vin", 30% "Deuxième vin". It should be noted that the wine undergoes absolutely no filtration.

    St. Estephe

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    Deeply colored, concentrated, and distinctive, St. Estephe is the go-to for great, age-worthy and reliable Bordeaux reds. Separated from Pauillac merely by a stream, St. Estephe is the farthest northwest of the highest classed villages of the Haut Medoc and is therefore subject to the most intense maritime influence of the Atlantic.

    St. Estephe soils are rich in gravel like all of the best sites of the Haut Medoc but here the formation of gravel over clay creates a cooler atmosphere for its vines compared to those in the villages farther downstream. This results in delayed ripening and wines with higher acidity compared to the other villages.

    While they can seem a bit austere when young, St. Estephe reds prove to live very long in the cellar. Traitionally dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, many producers now add a significant proportion of Merlot to the blend, which will soften any sharp edges of the more tannic, Cabernet.

    The St. Estephe village contains two second growths, Chateau Montrose and Cos d’Estournel.

    Bordeaux Blends

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    One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

    In the Glass

    Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

    Perfect Pairings

    Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

    Sommelier Secret

    While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

    WWH351DPZ91_1999 Item# 55913