Puy Galland comes from Bordeaux, where
the Cotes de Francs vineyards
are in the undiscovered (and high value)
area just 10K east of Saint-Emilion.
Cotes de Francs. A rolling, green part of Right Bank Bordeaux that’s producing some of Bordeaux’s least known but most amazing wine values.
The Thienpont family first put Cotes de Francs on the map. They own Le Pin in Pomerol. You remember, Le Pin. It set an auction record a while back – 12 bottles went for $32,000. They know how to make wine.
The Thienponts recognized what glorious terroir there was in Cotes de Francs which is just northeast of Saint-Emilion and they bought Chateau Puygueraud and then other chateaux. Hubert de Bouard of Chateau Angelus caught on next and bought a chateau for himself there and suddenly people started paying attention – including myself.
I’ve always got my eyes open when it comes to affordable Bordeaux made by winemakers whose livelihood actually depends upon their making a knockout wine. Of course, I am especially keen on finding them in good Bordeaux vintages years like 2006.
In fact 2006 is a very fine vintage but equally important it is now 5 years old is is getting very ready to drink. and it will drink nicely over the next several years.
These smaller, family owned chateaux often are not too good at the marketing part, but they’re great at the wine making part, which is what I care about. I don’t expect my wine to come to me via some snazzy press kit – I’m willing to go out and break a trail if I have to. The rewards for doing this are often stunning.
All of this points right to Chateau Puy Galland. Bernard Labatut’s Chateau Puy Galland is exactly what I look for. A classy Bordeaux with flesh and black cherries, very round in the mouth. Many people don’t realize it, but there are a lot of affordable wines in Bordeaux that just get shouldered aside by the Classified Growth buzz. Yes, you can drink great Bordeaux every night – you just have to know where to find them.
Bernard Labatut is the third generation to work the vines at Chateau Puy Galland. His 26-year-old son will soon take the reins. Bernard likes the organic approach to wine growing. He de-leafs and green harvests to produce better quality, riper grapes.
Bernard inspects all his grapes and rejects anything that is unripe as they are harvested on his table de tri to ensure there are no losers getting into the crush. He uses oak judiciously to maintain a balance between fruit and tannin. He is dedicated to quality and works with oenologist Jean Philippe Faure at winemaker to the stars Michel Rolland’s oenology firm.
There is a round, substantial, dark-fruitiness to this wine. Bernard Labatut suggests nothing less than foie gras for his beauty, but I think we can stoop to things less lofty. I’ve had Puy Galland with a roast chicken or a grilled pork chop and the wine didn’t seem to be embarrassed at all.
Let’s have some ready to drink Bordeaux tonight. Cynthia Hurley