This bottle was in the cellar for a few years now, and admittedly it is an estate I had many bottles of (check here, here and here for notes) and got a bit tired of the last years. But tonight I felt it would be the right bottle to match an oven-roast chicken with lots of fresh herbs, and it did a great job.
But first, about the estate. Château Puech-Haut has been entirely built from scratch with great audacity by the former industrial Gérard Bru. He planted vines on a piece of land that wasn’t yet classified AOC, built the Château out of stones of an ancient prefecture building that was torn down years ago and hired the notorious Michel Rolland as a consultant. It all started in 1990, and like a thunderstorm, Gérard Bru shook up the region, probably awakening it from a general state of inertance. People were talking about him both with admiration and denial. Jealousy and mockery were to be heard by long-established smaller winemakers. He was on everyone’s lips… and his wines on every restaurant’s list. I experienced it myself when I lived in Montpellier between 1998 and 2001: his wines were seeked by many, also because he was one of the first winemakers in the region to offer consistant quality and the wild Southern aromatics at the same time. Undeniably, and despite the many critics, Gérard Bru has done a lot for the AOC Côteaux du Languedoc.
But back to the wine with a (way too) short tasting note. As I already suggested, it actually beat my expectations and I would even add that it was better than most of the CDP and Rhône wines I had last year.
A nose of ripe black and red berries, a bouquet of garrigue herbs, some tar and sand, maybe bread notes. A mouth full of wine on the palate with smoothed out tannin. Here again: berries, appearing juicy and fresh. The wine is heavy in alcohol but not burning your throat and not out of balance. Nice finish with an impressive 20 second length. Perfect at this time of the year with the snow outside. Popped and poured, no decant needed. 90 points!
One to try out for those who haven’t heard of Puech Haut or still talk about it in denial. But one also has to know that there can be big quality difference from vintage to vintage.