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Château Clos Haut-Peyraguey


Portrait de Vignerons Bordeaux

Château Clos Haut-Peyraguey

­­­At the top of a hill, on the peak of the Bommes plateau, in its commanding position stands one of the finest estates of the Sauternes appellation, classified as a 1st Growth in 1855, Château Clos Haut-Peyraguey, whose vineyard almost touches the vines of Château d’Yquem.

It is October and despite the frantic activity involved in bringing the treasured harvests to the vat house, it is the kind of perfect autumn day that Sauternes winegrowers wish for … When the Garonne and the Ciron swathe the vineyard in mist and as the sun begins to shine it burns away this early morning haze. The air in the vineyard then becomes muggy, humid and warm. In this unique micro-climate noble rot proliferates, maturing the grapes’ skins, concentrating their sugar content. The presence of noble rot is an absolutely essential condition for making this liquid gold in Sauternes.

The fine weather is quite a relief, because if this Indian summer continues it will undoubtedly make up for the strange month of August we had in 2007. The harvest is satisfactory; the fusion that occurs when the grapes are covered with noble rot gives perfectly roasted, crystallised berries. At Château Clos Haut-Peyraguey, quality rules out quantity. Authorised yields are 25 hectolitres per hectare, but the majority of “Classified 1st Growths” ensure their yields are well below this figure.

If weather conditions allow, slow, meticulous harvesting will continue until the end of the month of November and may even go as far as December, depending on the grape variety.

Sauternes, a wine of all superlatives, a mine of pure gold …

Four years ago, she appealed to her father for his approval, listening solely to her own inspiration, imploring him to encourage her in continuing the venture carried out by several generations before. If Jacques PAULY eventually came around to Martine LANGLAIS-PAULY’s arguments, it was because he understood that his daughter’s determination showed the continuation of principles of excellence, which he had personally established at this estate.

17 hectares in total, of which 12 in AOC Sauternes, Classified 1st Growth in 1855, for three wines:

Château Clos Haut-Peyraguey
• Château Haut de Bommes
• ­­­Le Domaine de l’Aubépin
: (a dry white wine, whose production depends on the weather conditions of each vintage)

In the sub-soil beneath the vineyards ...

lies the answer to the enigma of the uniqueness of Sauternes wines … make your own opinion:

“A thin layer of clayey sand, known as Barsac “red sands”, covers the limestone sub-soil. This relatively cracked layer of rock prevents vine roots digging down any further than approximately 50 cm. In the summer months, the finely porous limestone returns water to the vine that it has soaked up during the winter and this prevents any occurrence of excessive hydrous stress. Upon this type of soil, white wines of exceptional delicacy can be made.” Denis Dubourdieu, Consultant Oenologist of Château d’Yquem and owner of Château Doisy-Daëne.

To these exceptional geological features found in the Graves area (sub-soil comprised of clay, mixed with pebbles and rather abundant fragments of limestone) three main, complementary types of grape variety are particularly suited: Sauvignon, Muscadelle and above all, Sémillon (at Château Clos Haut-Peyraguey 90% of the vineyard is planted with Sémillon). This variety in fact only yields its true expression through noble rot, but its contribution brings tremendous aromatic complexity to these wines.

For the splendour of this wine …

After several minor skirmishes that were necessary to establish her position within an extremely masculine team that runs this estate, Martine LANGLAIS-PAULY is now preparing her fourth vintage in collaboration with Anthony Defives (Production Manager) and Serge Chauvet, Consultant Oenologist. Jacques PAULY can be proud today, because the integrity of new talents such as those his daughter possesses are indefinitely asserting the values of this wine in consumers’ minds. With enthusiasm and judgement influenced by her youthful experience, Martine is making perceptible, wise transformations, so that the vineyard and wine-making installations of this estate are run in optimal conditions. With modesty, observation, attentiveness and understanding for each factor involved, she succeeds and wins respect from her most sceptical colleagues and even from her peers … Because through the history of PAULY wines, a more personal aim for those produced by “Château Clos Haut-Peyraguey” has clearly been imposed. This objective stemmed from a philosophy, a personal quest, an ideal about life perhaps … Martine LANGLAIS-PAULY is convinced about the importance of the environment and how urgent it is to find a solution today, not just so that her grapes can possess their essential elegance, but so that the natural benefits enable us to live according to the laws of the universe.
She has in fact created her own universe, her own sense of beauty, with a new, airier, more stylish label, made in her own image.

The most striking demonstration, if one was needed, is revealed by a tasting of the 2003 vintage, which at this stage (experience proves that the length of the maturation period is essential for these fine wines. It always provides more unity and a complete harmony of sensations) is receiving endless rave reviews full of praise.

“I situate this vintage on the same level as 1989 and 1990. From 1989 it takes its sophistication and from 1990 its powerfulness. This sums up its tremendous rareness! 2003 is a remarkably botrytised vintage characterised by:
• Excellent precision;
• Powerful aromas, of marvellous aromatic purity and a range of unique expressions, which could intrigue certain tasters used to more average wines;

• Structure on the palate, devoid of heaviness, with magnificent gentleness of texture. A combination of botrytised and raisined grapes give this vintage great delicacy. The flavours mingle fresh fruit flavours with crystallised hints, each one balancing perfectly with the other. This absence of heaviness is also due to the presence of slightly bitter flavours, which balance out the sucrosity on the finish and make it evanescent.

“Carnet de dégustation” by Jean-Marc Quarin

Other well-informed tasters, such Bettane & Dessauve, the Revue du Vin de France, Gault & Millau and head sommeliers take absolute pleasure a step further by combining this magnificent wine with the finest gastronomy …

Anne-marie NOUAILLE

Martine Langlais-Pauly
Château Clos Haut-Peyraguey

Tél. : 05 56 76 61 53