Part of the family business is a wine estate in Bordeaux, in the southwest of France: Château Puynard. Our team helped out during harvest last autumn, to get to know the wine, the makers, and the region..
Located on the right bank of the Gironde river, Château Puynard primarily focuses on the organic production of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. These two grape varieties showcase the geography and geology of the Right Bank, with its clay and limestone soil. The ‘Tradition’ is their classic Merlot-based Bordeaux wine, which also contains a little Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s a traditional red Bordeaux blend from the Right Bank, part of our house selection. This unoaked wine is characterized by blackberry, laurel, and light tannins, making it a pleasant glass to enjoy in our lounge or at the dining table.
Alongside the ‘Tradition’ is ‘The Steps,’ its more powerful brother. This red blockbuster is made from Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from older vines. It’s the top-of-the-range cuvée from the Château, aged in French oak barrels for 15 months. Leather and tobacco aromas are complemented by tones of black fruits, making for a wine with more volume and good structure in this wine.
During our grape harvest experience, we learned more about Château Puynard’s top cuvée. All grapes are picked manually, selecting only the ripest and sweetest grapes for this prestige wine. The lowest grapes on the vine have the most time to fully ripen, making them the largest and sweetest. The top grapes don’t make it into the wine, as they grow much later and have much less sugar. Our team selected only the very best grapes, but this meant bending forward to reach them, making it a tough job that requires hard work. After harvesting the grapes, they were destemmed, and the last imperfections were removed manually. This is what you see in the picture above. Finally, the destemmed grapes were transferred into small oak barrels, where they will ferment.
The summer of 2022 in Bordeaux was hot and dry, causing the grapes to ripen earlier than other years. When we arrived at Château Puynard, we almost missed the harvest. However, we were just in time to help out on the very last day of grape picking. Although the yield of grapes was lower than in previous years, the quality was significantly higher, making the vintage 2022 very promising!