De Pez and Smith Haut Lafitte

There are days when the Gods must look down upon me and decide to give that story-teller some real gems.  After all the nectar of the Gods, is how some have always described wines, and when I am in the premises of my local wine shop the Fine Wine Source in Livonia, Michigan, the Gods do smile at me. I am going to discus a couple of wines that I tasted, that they were looking at for both the wine shop and their restaurant Vertical in Downtown Detroit, which they will reopen when indoor seating capacity gets up to fifty percent.

Chateau de Pez Saint-Estephe 2016 is a perfect representation of this famed Cru Bourgeois classified wine sine 1932.  The Domaine de Pez was originally established in the 15th Century and was owned by the Pontac family, that owned Chateau Haut-Brion as well back then.  It passed through generations of the Pontac family until the French Revolution when the State took possession. It changed hands many times until it came under the ownership of Louis Roederer in 1995.  There are thirty hectares of vineyards planted and it is almost equally Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, with an average age of twenty-five-years. The fruit is manually harvested and the juice is fermented with their skins for twenty to thirty days.  The juice is then transferred wooden barrels to mature for twelve to eighteen months with racking done quarterly. Saint-Estephe is separated from Pauillac by a stream, and the Commune accounts for eight percent of vineyards in the Medoc. The land is a bit further away from the Garonne River and because of that, the soil has a heavy clay and limestone base which results in poor-draining soils.  It is one of the reasons that Merlot is used more in the Commune, because it ripens quicker.  Chateau de Pez is a very elegant and supple wine and not as austere as some of the other wines from the Medoc.  Even the wine was still young, this deeply colored wine offered dark and red fruit, layered with spices and finishing off with a nice long trace of the terroir. Even though there are probably more Crus Bourgeois designations in Saint-Estephe, the wines are known for longevity and I think twenty years in the cellar would be awesome for this wine, though it was delicious as a four-year-old.

Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac-Leognan 2018 is rated as a Grand Cru Classe for its red wine as done in the 1959 Classification of the Graves; they also make one of the finest examples of a white Bordeaux as well. Grapes have been grown on this site since 1365. Smith Haut Lafitte takes its name from the gravel plateau that was cultivated in 1365, known as Lafitte and in the 18th Century a Scottish wine merchant George Smith became the owner and built his manor house in Pessac-Leognan. The chateau is unrelated to Chateau Lafite Rothschild. In 1958 the estate was purchased by the Louis Eschenauer company and in 1990 after all the renovations it was purchased by Florence and Daniel Cathiard.  The estate is seventy-eight hectares of gravelly soil, and is farmed organically and they produce their own compost, even to using a horse and plow in certain fragile plots, and they also maintain their own beehives, as well as having their own on-site cooper. They also have one of the largest cellars in Bordeaux.  They not only produce a second label, but also a third label as well.  Traditionally, Cabernet Sauvignon accounts for around sixty-five percent of the blend, while Merlot contributes about thirty percent and the balance is picked up by Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The wine is age in barrels for about eighteen months, with about sixty-five percent new. It was one of the finest examples of a Graves wine, that I have ever had. In ten years, it will be wonderful, but then I have kind of spoiled myself with having indulged myself with some older wines in the cellar, but even young, I could find no faults.

About thewineraconteur

A non-technical wine writer, who enjoys the moment with the wine, as much as the wine. Instagram/thewineraconteur Facebook/ The Wine Raconteur
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