Pey La Tour is a model estate at Salleboeuf in the Entre-Deux-Mers, around 15km east of Bordeaux, and has been owned since 1990 by négociants Vignobles Dourthe. Dating back to the 18th century, the vineyards here still contain the ruins of the château which gave the estate its name, and today the vines span 146 hectares.
There are 90 different parcels of vines which are all vinified separately. Clay-limestone soils are used for producing fresh, concentrated merlot whereas compacted gravel plots are ideal for cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc.
Grapes are vinified in temperature-controlled stainless-steel tanks. Dourthe makes two wines under the Pey La Tour label and we buy the Réserve, which is the cream of the crop, aged in barriques for 12 months, 35-55% of which is new oak. The blend is usually up to 90% merlot, with around 5% cabernet sauvignon and small quantities of petit verdot and cabernet franc, producing a wine that is full of ripe fruit and charm.
Investment in the vineyards to reduce yields and improve quality, through a progressive replanting and vine retraining programme, has paid dividends here, and Pey La Tour performs consistently at the top of its misleadingly modest Bordeaux Supérieur appellation.