Overlooking the legendary plateau of Saint-Emilion from just across the Dordogne River is the Chateau Peyfaures estate, based in the picturesque hamlet of Genissac. The 28-acre vineyard is planted...Read More
Sustainable organic practices out in the vineyard are coupled with a light touch winemaking in the cellar and a traditional aging program, with the proportion of new oak adjusted to the character of each base wine and vintage. The result is a charming lineup of three classic Bordeaux wines: the Chateau Peyfaures Bordeaux Superieur, Dame de Coeur Bordeaux Superieur and Petit Peyfaures.
Situated in the picturesque hamlet of Genissac in the Entre-deux-Mers area of Bordeaux, just a few minutes’ drive from the UNESCO-listed village of Saint-Emilion, this chateau was first established in 1830. Seven generations of the Godeau winemaking family have served as stewards of the estate vineyard, with Nicole Godeau taking over its management at the end of the 1990’s. With the help of her skilled advisors, Mrs. Godeau put the château on the map by gradually ending the estate’s collaboration with local cooperatives and shifting the focus to estate-bottled wines. It was at this point that the estate’s namesake Grand Vin and the Dame de Cœur cuvees were born.
The last in line of the Godeau family at the helm of the estate, Laurent Godeau has remained on to work with the Moraes family, who purchased the property in 2017. In the past two decades, the estate’s wines have enjoyed great success, especially in their export markets, raking in several prizes, including the bronze medal at the « International Challenge of Bourg » and the silver medal at the « Decanter World Wines Awards in 2004.
Today, the Peyfaures team continues to make wines that hark back to a time before large-scale production and modern techniques. Traditional techniques are implemented to create wines that are pure representations of the estate’s magnificent terroir. The wines of the property are characterized by a classic Bordeaux style, with enough body and structure to allow for an impressive potential to age.
The estate reigns over roughly 39 acres in total. Of this, 28 acres are planted to vines across the hilly landscape of Bordeaux’s Entre-deux-Mers area, right across the Dordogne River from the appellations of Pomerol and Saint-Emilion. The vines stretch their roots into soils of ferruginous clay upon limestone, which lend the wines a beautiful, deep color, great structure and a remarkable aging potential. Just like in Pomerol and Saint-Emilion, the vineyard is planted mostly with Merlot, as well as some Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The estate vineyards are managed by means of sustainable organic practices, with the focus on overall vineyard health. The soil is treated with all-natural preparations, without the use of any harmful chemicals. The natural biodiversity of the vineyard ecosystem is strongly encouraged, as evidenced by the lush rows of grass found between the vines.
Rather than following any specific modern trend, the wines of the Peyfaures estate aim to recreate a classic Bordeaux style, popular before the adoption of large-scale production. To do so, the chateau has adopted a progressive approach to winemaking to complement traditional techniques. Famous Bordeaux wine consultant Michel Rolland has been lending a hand at the estate since 2002.
Following a manual harvest, the fruit is crushed gently in a traditional basket press, which encourages the expression of natural fruit aromas. Alcoholic fermentation is allowed to take place spontaneously, exclusively with indigenous yeasts that are found naturally occurring in the winery. That is to say, the wines are not inoculated with any laboratory-bred yeasts cultures. This minimal intervention approach allows the fruit to shine, offering a genuine expression of the local terroir.
Fruit from each vineyard parcel is vinified and matured separately, resulting in base wines that authentically represent their micro-terroirs of origin. The base wines are then blended to create a cohesive expression, one which varies slightly from one vintage to the next, while maintaining a classic Bordeaux style.
Today, the estate produces a portfolio of three wines. Its namesake flagship Chateau Peyfaures is a Bordeaux Superieur that is aged for 15 months in French oak barrels, of which one third is new. This wine blends roughly 95% Merlot with 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon (although the 2015 vintage saw 80% Merlot with 18% Cabernet Franc and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon). While the specific character of the wine depends on the vintage, this bottling tends to express a deep complexity and layered aromas of fruit and earth. In the glass, this Bordeaux displays an intense, reddish-purple color. Upon swirling, the wine exudes aromas of ripe cherries and autumn spices.
On the palate, this Bordeaux Superieur is rich and generous, coating the mouth with delicious black fruit flavors, perfectly complemented by touches of cinnamon, cloves and licorice. The 2015 vintage, whose blend included more Cabernet Franc, presents a gorgeous gravelly minerality to round out the opulent flavors of the Merlot. The acidity of the wine is linear, leading the palate towards a very juicy and silky-smooth finish. And the perfect food pairing? A juicy cheeseburger with char-grilled beef and aged cheddar cheese, or a portobello mushroom burger with blue cheese.
While the 2007 and 2011 vintages of Chateau Peyfaures are already quite enjoyable in their youth, the 2014 and 2015 vintages will evolve beautifully over a decade or so of aging.
The estate also produces a Bordeaux Superieur by the name of Dame de Coeur from old vine blocks of Merlot (constituting 90% of the blend) and Cabernet Franc. This wine is aged for 18 months in French oak barrels, of which 100% are new, following full malolactic fermentation also in barrel. Here, the perfectly ripened Cabernet Franc adds a signature gravelly minerality to complement the luscious fruit aromas of Merlot.
An opulent purple in the glass, this wine exudes jammy red and black fruit aromas, intermingled with nutmeg, clove, black pepper and vanilla bean. Velvety tannins coat the palate, which expresses smoky and toasted touches, lingering on a very long finish. Pair this wine with a filet of dry-aged beef or a earthy mushroom risotto.
Finally, the Petit Peyfaures bottling is made from 80% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, with only around one third of the blend matured in French oak barrels for 12 months, while the rest stays in stainless steel vats. This is a wine made to be enjoyed in its youth, offering a refreshing bouquet of bright red fruit, including raspberries and redcurrants. On the palate, this wine is gentle and round, with delicious flavors of fresh red fruit. The perfect choice for a charcuterie board and aged cheeses.