Chateau La Peyre
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The Rabiller family has a long tradition of growing grapes in Saint Estèphe. However, in the past, the entire harvest was sold to the local cooperative. Dany and René Rabiller, the current proprietors, recognized the potential of their vineyards. They decided to build their own winery on the family estate and, since 1994, they have vinified and bottled their own wine. Production of Château La Peyre is approximately 50,000 bottles per year.
Château La Peyre is made up of several separate vineyard plots covering a total of eight hectares in the Marbuzet sector of the Saint Estèphe appellation. The average age of the vineyards is 30 years (as of 2011). Cabernet Sauvignon is the major grape variety grown at Château La Peyre, comprising 50%, followed by Merlot (40%), Petit Verdot (5%) and Cabernet Franc (5%). The distinctive soil is composed of gravel with limestone and clay. The gravel facilitates drainage while the clay retains valuable moisture during the dry summer months and allows even ripening. Every care is taken in the vineyard to ensure healthy, fully mature grapes. Winter pruning is severe and limits the crop size. Green harvesting is employed to further balance the crop load during the growing season.
The careful attention given to the vineyards follows through to the winemaking process. Grapes are only harvested by hand. Before going into the fermentation tanks, the bunches are carefully sorted by hand to remove any under-ripe or damaged grapes. The Rabillers follow traditional winemaking techniques, preferring a long "cuvaison" or maceration period in the fermentation tank. This allows gentle extraction of color, tannins and flavor components and results in a naturally concentrated and well-balanced wine. Following fermentation, the wines are aged between 12 and 15 months in oak barrels. Only 30% new French oak is used each year to avoid overwhelming the character of the wine. The wine is gently fined using egg whites before bottling but it is not filtered.