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Château de Pitray, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux 2012

Red Wine from France - Bordeaux
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A fine example of what the Castillon appellation can deliver in terms of quality and value. The terroir here resembles that of neighbouring Saint-Emilion, but the wines command considerably more modest prices. With generous sweet fruit and a rich, smooth palate, this is very impressive for the price.
is no longer available
Code: CB4441

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Medium-bodied
  • Merlot
  • 13% Alcohol
  • oak used but not v. noticeable
  • Cork, natural

Bourg, Blaye, 1er Cotes

The best growers in the less-fashionable regions of the satellite appellations Blaye, Bourg, and the old Premières Côtes have to work that bit harder to get their wines known and the quality is often exceedingly high while the prices remain sensible.

Blaye is the northernmost of these satellites, named after the town of Blaye (pronounced ‘Bly’), which sits on the varied soils of the right-hand shore of the great Gironde estuary. Merlot dominates and the majority of the wines are soft and easy-drinking, balanced and flavourful, but without the dominance of new oak. The wines are usually ready to drink much sooner than those of neighbouring Bourg.

Côtes de Bourg is a smaller region south of Blaye, where the Dordogne joins the Garonne to become the Gironde. The soils here are more homogenously clay with limestone and the wines, though still generally merlot dominated, are more robust with delectable tannins, and they benefit from a little more time in bottle as a result. They can...
The best growers in the less-fashionable regions of the satellite appellations Blaye, Bourg, and the old Premières Côtes have to work that bit harder to get their wines known and the quality is often exceedingly high while the prices remain sensible.

Blaye is the northernmost of these satellites, named after the town of Blaye (pronounced ‘Bly’), which sits on the varied soils of the right-hand shore of the great Gironde estuary. Merlot dominates and the majority of the wines are soft and easy-drinking, balanced and flavourful, but without the dominance of new oak. The wines are usually ready to drink much sooner than those of neighbouring Bourg.

Côtes de Bourg is a smaller region south of Blaye, where the Dordogne joins the Garonne to become the Gironde. The soils here are more homogenously clay with limestone and the wines, though still generally merlot dominated, are more robust with delectable tannins, and they benefit from a little more time in bottle as a result. They can develop extremely well with short to mid-term cellaring.

Before the draining of the marshes of the Médoc in the 17th century it was these areas that provided a good deal of the wine exported to Britain.

Castillon adjoins Saint-Emilion to the east along the Dordogne and inland to the north. It is developing a good reputation for its wines and several prestigious producers from neighbouring appellations have invested a good deal to make wine here and too very good effect alongside a number of excellent locals such as Château de Pitray. Merlot again dominates on a mixture of soils from clay to sand and gravel, though cabernet sauvignon is also has a presence.

A wider umbrella appellation controlee called simply Côtes de Bordeaux identifies special terroirs, which includes Blaye and Castillon with one or two others on the banks of the two rivers Garonne and Dordogne. The vast majority of production is red, made mostly from merlot, and there are many excellent producers here, such as Denis Dubourdieu.
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Château de Pitray

The majestic estate of Château de Pitray has been in the de Boigne family for 600 years. Situated on the Gardegan plateau in the west of the Dordogne Valley, the property falls under the Côtes de Castillon appellation, but it lies just 8km from the better-known town of Saint-Emilion. Pitray is thought by many to be amongst the finest properties in the appellation.

The château itself has been rebuilt twice, most recently in 1868 when it was built in a wonderful Victorian Gothic style, with a recent £1 million roof sprucing the place up after hail damage. The building is hidden amongst century-old oak and cedar trees at the end of a sweeping drive, with the vineyards planted around the outskirts of the estate to preserve the château’s serenity. Indeed, its builders thought that a view of the vines would be rather vulgar and hid them from sight. However, far from being an elite residence sequestered away, the château is hired out for elaborate cocktail parties and weddings, and some of its rooms are used for a memorable bed-and-breakfast experience. On top of all that, oak trees are now being planted with a view to producing truffles!

Since 2003, the estate has been run by current generation Jean de Boigne. He farms the estate sustainably with the health of the soils, vines and the environment around them uppermost in his mind. The 37 hectares of vineyards are split into 75% merlot and 25% cabernet franc, both of which enjoy the clay-limestone soils, and vines have an average...
The majestic estate of Château de Pitray has been in the de Boigne family for 600 years. Situated on the Gardegan plateau in the west of the Dordogne Valley, the property falls under the Côtes de Castillon appellation, but it lies just 8km from the better-known town of Saint-Emilion. Pitray is thought by many to be amongst the finest properties in the appellation.

The château itself has been rebuilt twice, most recently in 1868 when it was built in a wonderful Victorian Gothic style, with a recent £1 million roof sprucing the place up after hail damage. The building is hidden amongst century-old oak and cedar trees at the end of a sweeping drive, with the vineyards planted around the outskirts of the estate to preserve the château’s serenity. Indeed, its builders thought that a view of the vines would be rather vulgar and hid them from sight. However, far from being an elite residence sequestered away, the château is hired out for elaborate cocktail parties and weddings, and some of its rooms are used for a memorable bed-and-breakfast experience. On top of all that, oak trees are now being planted with a view to producing truffles!

Since 2003, the estate has been run by current generation Jean de Boigne. He farms the estate sustainably with the health of the soils, vines and the environment around them uppermost in his mind. The 37 hectares of vineyards are split into 75% merlot and 25% cabernet franc, both of which enjoy the clay-limestone soils, and vines have an average age of 29 years.

The cellar produces almost a quarter of a million bottles annually. Each parcel of vines – and there are many – is vinified separately according to its respective character and needs. The merlot undergoes maceration for longer than the cabernet franc, but both are kept at cool temperatures for the duration, retaining the grapes’ natural character and aromas.

The estate’s main wine, Château de Pitray, and also our Society’s Côtes de Bordeaux, are aged in vats, with repeated racking. They then undergo fining with egg whites before blending. Cuvée Madame de Pitray is the result of vineyard and cellar selection of the best grapes, and is often sold en primeur.

The wines have a magnificent propensity to age well, and many assert their quality rivals the famous appellation nearby.
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Bordeaux Vintage 2012

2012 was another complicated vintage in which the producers who were fastidious and sensitive in the vineyard and the winery were the most successful. They produced wines with great charm, freshness and poise that are very often approachable early. The best examples, however, will age well for the medium term.

The growing season was a difficult one. It started late; spring was wet, as was the early summer, which disrupted flowering. The remainder of the summer was very dry but unsettled weather returned for the harvest period. Considerable variability was the result, with some uneven ripening. Those prepared to put in a lot of work in the vineyard and who were willing to sacrifice some of the crop in an already small vintage made the best wines. Care was also needed in the cellars to avoid over-extraction of any unripe tannins.

Merlot on the right bank performed well and there are some excellent Pomerols and Saint-Emilions, but many very fine cabernets were produced at top estates in...
2012 was another complicated vintage in which the producers who were fastidious and sensitive in the vineyard and the winery were the most successful. They produced wines with great charm, freshness and poise that are very often approachable early. The best examples, however, will age well for the medium term.

The growing season was a difficult one. It started late; spring was wet, as was the early summer, which disrupted flowering. The remainder of the summer was very dry but unsettled weather returned for the harvest period. Considerable variability was the result, with some uneven ripening. Those prepared to put in a lot of work in the vineyard and who were willing to sacrifice some of the crop in an already small vintage made the best wines. Care was also needed in the cellars to avoid over-extraction of any unripe tannins.

Merlot on the right bank performed well and there are some excellent Pomerols and Saint-Emilions, but many very fine cabernets were produced at top estates in the Médoc, with Châteaux Margaux, Mouton Rothschild, Haut-Brion, Palmer and Pichon Baron all vying for the cabernet crown, and Vieux Château Certan a particular highlight of the merlot-dominant wines.

There are many well-judged, good-value reds at the lower end of the price spectrum which will make enjoyable early drinking.

2012 was another fine vintage for the dry whites picked before the change in the weather. In terms of sweet wines those châteaux situated in the commune of Barsac breathed a collective sigh of relief at the end of the 2012 harvest, and have made some enchanting wines, with sweetness levels akin to 2008 (lower than in 2009 and 2011), and very pure botrytis character. 2012 was a tale of two communes, with many Sauternes properties deciding not to release a grand vin at all. Barsac’s limestone plateau was better able to withstand both the summer drought and the periods of intermittent rain during the harvest.
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Lancashire Evening Post

From a blend ofmerlot and cabernet franc this wine has aromas and flavours of cassis andsubtle vanilla tones. Tannins are smooth. A great one for lamb and other meatdishes.

- Colin Burbidge

JancisRobinson.com

Mid crimson. Light,correct nose. A bit bloody and bludgeoning on the palate. But satisfying enougheven though I suspect the tannins will always slightly outweigh the fruit. Atad stodgy.

15.5/20 Jancis Robinson

Liverpool Echo

Rounded wine,vanilla, summer fruits, back fruits, rich and ripe.

- Jane Clare

Decanter

Castillon is a great place to look for affordableright bank Bordeaux. Right in the heart of the appellation is the picturesqueChâteau de Pitray, which owns 36 hectares of vines planted on...
Castillon is a great place to look for affordableright bank Bordeaux. Right in the heart of the appellation is the picturesqueChâteau de Pitray, which owns 36 hectares of vines planted on clay-limestonesoils. The blend of the wine reflects the plantings – mostly merlot, witharound a quarter cabernet franc. This is perfect for large gatherings due toits value price tag, and has attractive, smooth cassis aromas with some crunchypepper notes. It shows good right bank typicity, and a surprising amount of classfor the price.
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- Amy Wislocki

joannasimon.com

Straightforward, good value, Merlot-based claret withtypical mulberry and blackberry fruit and savoury cedar and leather notes.Ready for drinking, but good for two or three years.

- Joanna Simon

The Daily Telegraph

Think of this blendof merlot with cabernet franc as a mini-Pomerol. Beautifully fragranced, andshowing some development. A great buy.

- Victoria Moore

France Magazine

This appellation liesimmediately west of Saint-Emilion and just eight kilometres from theUNESCO-listed village of the same name. In keeping with right bank Bordeaux,Château de Pitray's 37...
This appellation liesimmediately west of Saint-Emilion and just eight kilometres from theUNESCO-listed village of the same name. In keeping with right bank Bordeaux,Château de Pitray's 37 hectares on vineyards are 75 per cent merlot and therest cabernet franc. This example has plum and sweet spice on the nose, withthe palate showing mellowing tannins and a maturing blend of primary plum andblackberry, and tertiary fruitcake and warm, sweet, earthy notes. There is anattractive flavour development, and all for a very modest price. Drink withhard cheeses.
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- Sally Easton

The Daily Telegraph

You may have spottedthis in my column – it was featured in my top wines under £10 . TWS is down toits last few hundred bottles so hurry! Merlot and cabernet franc, and no oak.Crack out the...
You may have spottedthis in my column – it was featured in my top wines under £10 . TWS is down toits last few hundred bottles so hurry! Merlot and cabernet franc, and no oak.Crack out the steak frites, or lamb chop with herby new potatoes.
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- Victoria Moore

2012 vintage reviews
2011 vintage reviews
2010 vintage reviews

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