Tag Archives: Christophe Piat wine

Boots On The Ground In Bordeaux And 2014 Chateau Couronneau


Bordeaux – 1 April 2017. After two reasonably smooth flights, I arrived in Bordeaux on Wednesday afternoon, preparing to take part in the annual En Primeur tastings. If you follow these kind of things, you probably have heard some pretty good news so far. As I type this, I have only tasted six of them, so I will reserve judgement, at least until after tomorrow, where a warehouse full of barrel samples awaits. In addition to the barrel samples, I am also here to taste already bottled wines and to take in the zeitgeist of this year’s proceedings.


It’s great – each year, there are always new things to see, to learn, to taste, and to figure out. But there are also many familiar things as well. One such exercise is now bordering on ritual, and that would be the Saturday rental car pickup and the drive out to Sainte Foy la Grande to visit the Hecquets in Montravel and the Piats in Ligiuex which I did again early this morning. First stop was at Château Couronneau to visit Bénédicte and Christophe Piat.

The three of us sat in their living room pictured above and caught up on things. They’re on the fast track to becoming empty nesters, as their youngest will be leaving the family home soon to finish her studies abroad. And in the wine department, Christophe explained to me that beginning with his 2015’s, he has changed the type of filtration he uses. The net-net of this is that the wines need a bit more time after bottling before they are fully resolved and ready to drink. I tasted through their entire line of 2015’s, which were all recently bottled, save the blanc, which was bottled in late December. Change in filtration or not, the 2015’s were going to need some time in bottle regardless. We also spoke at length about the 2016 vintage, and they asked me if I had tasted any barrel samples yet. “Just six,” I said, yet still smiling, for the first three were at Château Margaux. With a chuckle and a wry smile, Christophe matter-of-factly inferred it was standard practice to taste Margaux and then Couronneau due to their similarities (his idea of an April Fool’s joke).

16th Century Château Couronneau – 1 April 2017

Yep, That’s a 16th Century Moat – 1 April 2017
Christophe went on to say his 2016’s were plentiful and the quality was outstanding. They too were going to need some time. The wines from Couronneau are usually ready to go once they’re released, but the Piats cautioned me that the past two vintages will be at their respective best five years after release. So what vintage to drink now? The 2014, of course. I asked Christophe his thoughts on the matter, and he feels that the 2014 exhibits lighter acid levels than the past two vintages, and that the fruit is more supple and silky. He admits that the 2014 Couronneau is fine to drink now, but it will be at its best 2 to 5 years from now. I popped a bottle shortly before leaving San Francisco, and I just loved the aromatic expression and the medium-full body of this lovely wine. The Piats’ biodynamic practices have obviously paid off!

The Vines Will Follow Soon, But The Vineyard Is Alive

We recently received our final drop of the 2014 Couronneau, so it’s in stock at the moment. So try a bottle today. If you like it, we’ve got a super deal for you. If you already know and enjoy this wine, the deal is good for you as well. Beginning tonight, we are offering a “special full case discount.” It’s much better than our normal discount, and we do not want to be disorderly and advertise this unheard of price in all the usual online places. If you would like to know what the discount is, simply load 12 or more bottles into your online shopping cart and you will see what it is. ***Please note: You can easily remove the items from your cart should you not wish to make the purchase.

Alors. The (semi-) mellow part of the trip is now finished. Over the next 7 days, I am going to be hit with a barrage of barrel samples from the 2016 vintage. I am ready. Should any of you be curious about any particular 2016 sample, please feel free to drop me a note, and I will do my best to taste it and report back with my observations. In the meantime, should you wish to profiter from a super deal on a fine bio-dynamically farmed wine from a seriously great vintage grab a full case (or two) today!Peter Zavialoff
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments about the 2016 Bordeaux En Primeurs, Bordeaux in general, or English Football: peter@wineSF.com
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Filed under 2014 Bordeaux, Barbecue Wine, Bordeaux, Peter Zavialoff, Value Bordeaux in San Francisco

The Monster: 2010 Chateau Couronneau Cuvee Pierre de Cartier

 

Everyone is talking about Bordeaux, or so it seems. Parker released his reviews for the 2012 vintage on Friday, essentially ruining every Bordeaux negociants’ weekend. Our very own resident Bordeaux Scout, Pete Z., has been filling us in with vintage impressions and assessments and entertaining us with stories about the many visits he paid to our Bordeaux friends in early April. No trip to Bordeaux would be complete without making the trek to Chateau Couronneau, which Pete made the day before he returned home to SF.  Pete reports that owner/winemaker Christophe Piat’s dedication to organic farming is as strong as ever as he continues to implement Biodynamic farming practices. Starting with the 2012 vintage, Chateau Couronneau will be certified Demeter. I admire Christophe’s passion for farming and his desire to learn how to work even better in the vineyard than he already does. 

 

Chateau Couronneau’s 2010 Cuvée Pierre de Cartier is made from the estate’s oldest Merlot parcels grown on clay-limestone soil. I have never tasted such depth and raw concentration in the Cuvée Pierre de Cartier as I do in the 2010. In the spirit of full disclosure I must note that my tasting experience with the 2010 is limited to a day old sample. Remarkably, a day spent in a small glass vial did nothing to tame the intensity of fruit. I couldn’t believe what I was tasting; were the guys playing a trick on me? The story goes that the Piats nicknamed the 2010 Cuvée Pierre de Cartier, The Monster. Knowing their non-interventionalist approach to winemaking, this Monster was obviously created in the vineyard; severely reduced yields made for some incredibly concentrated juice. The news of The Monster had spread and some wine regulator types came to inspect the winery, thinking they might find some trickery going on, but of course they did not. Given the plushness of the 2010 Couronneau Classique, it seems only natural that this reserve bottling, the Cuvée Pierre de Cartier, would show even greater intensity. I wouldn’t say that the 2010 Cuvée Pierre de Cartier is a departure for Chateau Couronneau but it is without question, a monster. The dark plum fruit approaches jamminess but does not cross over that line. There is spice and cedar box lurking beneath the fruit. It is young and delicious and will certainly evolve nicely in bottle. Another aspect to this wine that makes it so appealing are the soft, round, cocoa-dusted tannins, reminding me of what is so darn attractive about Merlot from Bordeaux. 

 

I am uncharacteristically irritable today, and feeling downright annoyed – my daughter woke up this morning with horns in place of her halo, I encountered way too many aggressive drivers on the ride in to work and Pete just devoured a sandwich from the Deli Board, piled high with cured meat, in front of me, oohing and ahhing the entire time (I am in the final stretches of a 7-week meat abstinence). Days like these are eased and soothed by the promise of a quiet moment with a glass of wine at the end of the day. Wine is good! —Anya Balistreri

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Filed under 2010 Bordeaux, Anya Balistreri, Bordeaux, Southwest France