This cru bourgeois property gets its name (which means 'elms of Pez') from a copse of tall, ancient elms which grew here, but have sadly long since gone. Pez is also the name of a nearby hamlet here in the northwest of the Saint-Estèphe appellation.
There has been a château here since the late 18th century, which was owned during the 1800s by the well-known Alibert family, who also owned Château Belgrave. In 1940 it was acquired by the Cazes family, who also own fifth growth Lynch-Bages, and both properties remain in the family to this day.
At first, due to poor facilities, the wine had to be made at Lynch-Bages, but Ormes de Pez underwent big renovations in the 1980s and 1990s. After many years at the helm, Jean-Michel Cazes passed the reins to his son Jean-Charles in 2006, who continues to run the property with the same high standards. Indeed, the vineyard management and production techniques are every bit as strict as those at Lynch-Bages.
There are 37 hectares of vines which can be split into two fairly distinct terroirs: deep gravel soils for cabernet sauvignon and sandy clay for merlot, although petit verdot and cabernet franc are both also grown. Conditions are quite challenging in cooler vintages, so we don't buy Ormes de Pez every year, preferring it at its satisfying, vigorous best in warmer years.
The wine tends to be a blend of 50% cabernet sauvignon, 33% merlot, 10% cabernet franc and 2% petit verdot, which ages for around 15 months in oak, up to half of it new.
As you would expect from a property owned by the talented Cazes family, Ormes de Pez is a consistently well-made claret - bright-tasting, full-flavoured and vibrant, and designed to give pleasure for between four and 12 years after the vintage.