A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 705: Château Le Puy

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Harold Langlais

I had lunch recently with Harold Langlais of Château Le Puy, the only Bordeaux property I know that has Carménère in its vineyard (1 hectare). They also have 3 hectares of Semillon and some Ugni Blanc planted. Le Puy, in the Côtes de Francs, is one of the oldest wineries in Bordeaux, dating back to 1610. Fourteen generations of the Amoreau family have grown wine here. They were also the first St. Emilion château to practice organic winemaking.

The 2014 vintage of Château Le Puy Emilien, which we tasted over lunch at Can Can Bistro on Harbord Street, is a blend of 85% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, 1% Carménère and 1% Malbec: Deep ruby in colour with a cedary blackcurrant nose lifted with oak spice and a floral top note; medium-bodied, dry, savoury, red and blackcurrant flavours carried on lively acidity. A beautifully balanced wine with well-integrated oak. ($29.95: 91 points)

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The Amoreau family is lobbying the government to create a special appellation for a 3-hectare plot called “Les rocs” (85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon) from which they produce a wine called Barthélemy. We tasted the 2011 vintage: Mature ruby in colour; cedary, cigar box nose, lightly peppery and graphite notes on the nose with a lovely floral note; medium-bodied, dry, plum and black cherry flavours with ripe tannins. Very light on the palate for its 14% alcohol. A beautifully balanced wine – old style claret. ($170 in Quebec: 93)

“Our wines,” remarked Harold, “taste younger when they’re old and older when they’re young.”

Miscellaneous wines tasted this week:

  • Black Hills Nota Bene 2016, Okanagan Valley ($60): Deep purple in colour with a cedary, tobacco and spicy blackcurrant nose; medium to full-bodied, dry, fruity and fleshy blackcurrant flavour with well-integrated oak. A delicious wine. (92)
  • Luigi Bosca Chardonnay 2017, Mendoza ($19.95): Bright straw in colour with a nose of apples enhanced by oak spice; medium-bodied and dry with apple and lemon flavours. Nicely balanced wine. (89)
  • Gérard Bertrand Grenche, Syrah, Mourvèdre 2015, Corbières ($18.95): Deep purple-ruby in colour with a cedary plum nose enhanced by savoury-herbal notes; medium to full-bodied, dry, black plum flavour with lively acidity and a firm tannic finish. (89)
  • Gérard Bertrand La Clape 2015, Coteaux-du-Languedoc ($18.95): A Syrah, Carignan and Mourvèdre blend. Deep purple in colour with a savoury, herbal nose of black raspberries; medium-bodied, dry, mulberry flavour carried on fresh acidity. (89)
  • Bodega Jesús Romero Rubus 2016, Teruel, Aragon ($18.95): A blend of Garnacha, Syrah and Tempranillo. Dense purple in colour with a cedary, earthy nose of black plum; medium to full-bodied, dry, savoury-herbal plum flavour. (89)
  • Meiomi Rosé 2017, California ($27.95): Predominantly Pinot Noir. According to its website. Pale salmon in colour with a nose of strawberries and red apple; medium-bodied, dry, strawberry and watermelon flavours with a light note of lemon. 88

The password for the Wine Reviews page is drinkme – visit it for full detailed reviews of recent Vintages releases.

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