Chateau Le Rey Les Argileuses 2020
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Type Red BlendRead About the Wine
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Burgundy in Bordeaux—an odd concept, but one that I have increasingly heard in recent vintages in Bordeaux. But what does it mean?
Well, it certainly doesn’t mean picking up the soil of Burgundy, moving it over to Bordeaux and planting Pinot Noir. What it does mean is the adoption of a Burgundian approach to the vineyards—single, named plots which are very specific; vineyard management that’s organic and sustainable; and , in the winemaking, simple, gentle vinifications without much usage of new oak. The results can be seen here, in this wine, and they are stunning:
A pure expression of Bordeaux fruit, something the likes you have just not had before, comes right on the first sniff: wild strawberry fruit, blackberry and plum, all intermingled with hibiscus, peppercorn and a hint of chocolate. On the palate, this wine is super smooth and has a dense, silky texture. This is a rich and full-bodied wine, but with a purity and direct line across the palate — while being rich, it's incredibly drinkable, smooth and supple. It drinks perfectly now, but will age for a decade or more in your cellar.
So where did this wine, and its philosophy, come from? Well, I think that is a bit reactionary, but maybe not in a bad way. First, you may have noticed that there is an enormous price difference between the “top” bottles of Bordeaux and everyone else. And the system that defines the top, the Grands Crus Classes system (join us on September 30th for an exploration of that) has never been changed in some 160-odd years. Think about the rest of the world of winemaking - if you make a great wine, and people like it, you have a chance to win the top position. But not in Bordeaux.
Second, many of those top chateaux are the opposite of a Burgundian approach. They are made up of many parcels of land that are bought and sold all the time (but the System doesn’t change), many producers are NOT organic or sustainable and not even thinking about becoming so, and you’ve heard of Micheal Roland and his “micro-oxygenate everything” routine?
I exaggerate, but the point is this - Chateau Le Rey wants a shot at proving to you that they can be one of the best on the Right Bank of Bordeaux, and the best in both flavor and philosophy. The chateau actually traces its roots back to the 12th century, and for almost its entire lifespan was owned by one family - the Le Roques. Sadly, the last Le Roques passed away in 2015 and that is when the current four-person, wine-loving ownership group took over. Having tasted wines all around the world, they are the ones to adopt this unique idea of Burgundy in Bordeaux and bring it to this nearly 800-year-old property.
I find this philosophy to be interesting, if not more satisfying than the Grands Crus Classes system. But if philosophy bores you, don’t worry! Just skip over it and enjoy this immensely satisfying Bordeaux.