The domain of Pez, created in the 15th century, is, with Calon Segur, one of the oldest in Saint-Estephe. In 1452, Squire Jean de Briscos ruled the estate followed in time by Jean de Pontac in 1585. The Pontac family, who also created Haut-Brion, gave Pez its vineyards. The property remained in the hands of their descendents until the French Revolution after which it was sold as a property of the State. When Louis Roederer bought it in 1995 they immediately set about improving the vineyards and cellars. 1996 was the first vintage fully made under the new ownership, and quality has been improving ever since.
Grapes: 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 46% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot.
Harvest Report: This was a vintage quite unlike its predecessor, marked by damp, changeable weather with temperatures ranging from cool to torrid. This combined with a high incidence of disease led to erratic growth throughout the year, resulting in uneven fruit set and crop loads that forced us to maintain the vineyards parcel by parcel - and in some cases, even vine by vine. The end of the season was no better than the beginning: a wet, cool August was followed by a heat wave in early September then thundery periods at the start of the harvest.
All of this, of course, made for grapes with distinctly different tastes depending on variety and terroir. That, in turn, complicated matters at the winemaking stage, fuelling predictions that the birth of the 2006 vintage would be anything but pain-free!
But despite all the difficulties, there are some nice surprises, with the results far exceed expectations, partly due to the strict sorting of grapes, at the time of picking and on the sorting tables on arrival at the winery.
Viticulture: The vineyard dominates a high plateau with well-exposed slopes. At the summit there is a deep layer of Gunzian gravel overlying the clay and limestone bedrock of St Estephe. Here the Cabernet Sauvignon thrives on the free draining soils whilst Merlot dominates on the lower slopes with heavier clay soils. The plantings contain many old vines, averaging 30 years of age. The estate covers more than 26 hectares.
Wine Making: The wines are left to ferment in traditional oak vats, before being blended and left to develop for a period of 16 to 18 months in oak barrels, 40% of them new.
Colour: rich and full with deep red highlights.
Nose: lovely red fruit, showing ripeness and a mixture of subtly toasty, truffly aromas mingled with hints of spices and the forest floor - quite complex even at this early stage.
Palate: a touch lively on the attack but agreeably firm and rounded as it develops on the palate, with no trace of hardness. Lovely, fairly elegant substance showing silky, persistent but unaggressive tannins. Somewhat firm on the finish for the time being but with all the signs of a great wine that will improve with age: elegant, refined and mouth-watering.
Chateau Les Ormes de Pez - www.ormesdepez.com
Chateau Les Ormes de Pez
Cabernet Sauvignon Blend
Full & Fruity