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Clos Puy Arnaud: imagine exceptional wines

Clos Puy Arnaud
Winegrower Bordeaux
Clos Puy Arnaud :imagine exceptional wines

“You have to imagine the wines you want to make.”

Stated by Professor Denis Dubourdieu, whilst he was still teaching at the faculty of oenology, this phrase has guided Thierry Valette on a daily basis for the past seven years …Produce excellent wines in the AOC Côtes de Castillon, bestow them with character and delicacy, working with sustainable viticultural methods: this is the challenge the estate owner and wine-maker set himself in 2000 when, after having sold Château Pavie (1st Great Classified Growth) in Saint-Emilion, of which he was joint owner, he purchased Clos Puy Arnaud in Belvès de Castillon.

This is a venture in which numerous other winegrowers are involved and are contributing to the “revival of Castillon”, an appellation whose reputation is established on a marvellous, noble clay-limestone terroir situated in the continuity of Saint-Emilion.

Revealing the expression of a terroir is truly an art

If there is one thing Thierry Valette has retained and observed throughout his career in viticulture, it is that wines take on the qualities and characteristics of those who make them, and become delicious or jovial, complex or austere … Intention is passed on, paying tribute to an eminent craft skill.
The main aim for Clos Puy Arnaud was to make fruity, mineral wines using organic growing methods. It was an ambitious and visionary scheme, which requires specialist knowledge of organic and energetic balances, as well as imposing a demand for flawless standards of quality. But this plan is bearing fruit: the production of Clos Puy Arnaud has already received flattering write-ups in many wine magazines (Robert Parker, Tanzer, Jancis Robinson, R. Burtchy), Bettane & Desseauve and specialised wine reviews in general all underline the originality of these wines). Prices range from 9 to 11 Euros for the second wine and from 24 to 32 Euros for the first wine, depending on the vintage.
Member of a family that has been producing wine for four generations (owning vineyards in Algeria, the Loire Valley and also Château Pavie and Troplong Mondot …), Thierry Valette originally intended to work in the field of modern dance and jazz in Paris, but ultimately he was enticed back by the call of the land.
He is constantly guided by a quest of making a wine which possesses its very own character, a genuine dose of “additional personality”. To achieve this, he worked for the first four years (2000 to 2004) with Stéphane Derenoncourt, before joining forces with Anne Calderoni. This talented associate (from the Institute of Oenology in Talence) trained at Château Canon La Gaffelière and subsequently at Château Pavie Maquin, alongside Stéphane de Neipperg and Stéphane Derenoncourt, whilst specialising her techniques for organic and biodynamic growing methods. Her arrival coincided with the strategic decision of independence for the estate and its changeover to biodynamic methods (during the winter 2004 – 2005). In fact, these precise, intuitive methods require a winegrower to be capable of making key decisions in his vineyard. For this purpose, Anne Calderoni is responsible for the vineyard, for soil management and for the implementation of organic and biodynamic growing methods.
Concurrently, a certification procedure for the AB approval has been set in motion since 2006 (2008 is therefore the third year of certification). Clos Puy Arnaud has also been a member of the Biodyvin association since 2007 (2008 is therefore the second year of conversion to biodynamics), figuring amongst the most illustrious names of the wine world: Pierre Moret, Olivier Humbrecht, Anne-Claude Leflaive, Noël Pinguet, Michel Chapoutier, Alphonse Mellot, François Chidaine… just to mention some of the most talented. Clos Puy Arnaud

Promote excellence to reinforce the brand’s identity

Increase investments on machinery and production techniques, perfect biodynamic vine work, propose authentic, highly approved fine wines possessing tremendous expression, contribute to the growing reputation of the best wines of the “Cercle Rive Droite” group and try in the near future to join the “Renaissance des appellations” association, founded by Nicolas Joly, which brings together winegrowers from all over the world who are advocates of organic and biodynamic methods … There is no lack of goals for the year ahead.
Bolstered by its development, the brand is beginning to establish its position on various markets. 80% of production is sold for export, mainly to the United States, Switzerland, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Canada … They are well-informed buyers, who know how to select Bordeaux wines not necessarily produced in prestigious appellations, because these experts have the skill of identifying excellent quality for money amongst blends of Cabernet and Merlot from all over the world.
For sales, Thierry Valette mainly wants to strengthen his connections with the wine trade network in Bordeaux and establish real partnerships with a small number of partners. The brand “Clos Puy Arnaud” intends to concentrate its efforts on promotion in France and abroad (tastings and press coverage).
We can be sure that the orientation chosen for “Clos Puy Arnaud” is the right one: demand for organic wine is increasing by 20% to 30% per year.
A tasting organised by Biodyvin will be held in April 2008, hosted by Alain Moueix at Château Fonroque (500 visitors in two days last year). The aim is to meet winegrowers who see in these growing techniques a salutary alternative to the standardisation of wines, as well as a good way to ensure the survival of small-scale estates in the current context of wine globalisation.

C.F.N.EARL Thierry Valette
7 puy Arnaud
33350 Belvès de Castillon
Tel : 05 57 47 90 33
Fax: 05 57 47 90 53