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Chateau Peybonhomme-Les-Tours

Artisanal ‘Farmer’ Bordeaux from a Biodynamic Pioneer

In the globalized, painfully commercial world of today's Bordeaux, finding quality, authentic wines at everyday prices is a gargantuan challenge. In fact, despite many visits to the region, we had essentially given up on this quest until in 2011 this producer appeared on our vinous horizon. 

The Hubert family settled at Château Peybonhomme-Les-Tours in the village of Cars near Blaye in 1895, and six generations have followed since. The estate is located on a hill overlooking the estuary, with the vineyards on the slopes. From its 17th-century castellated tower, we have a spectacular panoramic view of the entire estate and the Gironde estuary Under the watch of Catherine and Jean-Luc Hubert Peybonhomme has now been an outstanding Domaine for many decades and with the new generation, Rachel and Guillaume Hubert, now at the helm, the wines have never tasted better, or more energetic. 

Who says Bordeaux can’t do artisanal? This small, family-owned Estate has been crafting outstanding biodynamic wines for over a decade. And, with the new generation (Rachel and Guillaume Hubert are now at the helm), these wines have never tasted better or more energetic.

Whichever Bordeaux stereotype you try to apply to this dynamo Right Bank Estate, it’s not going to stick. Think of Bordeaux as big company stuff? Here it’s a small, family-owned Estate. Large-scale farming practices? Here it’s biodynamic farming of the highest caliber. Overly technical wines? Here it’s minimalist with indigenous yeasts, low or no sulphur and low and often no new oak. Expensive? Just look at the prices! And on it goes. It’s Bordeaux, yes, but it’s Bordeaux that breaks the mold. Even the tradition of Bordeaux needing decades in the cellar is overturned here; these are fragrant, supple, medium-bodied reds that are perfect for drinking now and over the short term.

Both Peybonhomme in Côtes de Blaye and its sister Estate, Château La Grolet in Côtes de Bourg are run along almost Burgundian lines; ploughed vineyards, low-yields, ripe fruit and low intervention, wild yeast winemaking results in terroir-driven wines that combine texture, freshness and vigour with a much finer tannin profile than that found in many of the region's wines. These are wines that will appeal greatly to, not only Bordeaux lovers and en-primeur buyers, but lovers of delicious, bona fide and impeccably-made wines full stop.

Currently Available

Chateau Peybonhomme-Les-Tours Côtes de Blaye Le Blanc 2014

Chateau Peybonhomme-Les-Tours Côtes de Blaye Le Blanc 2014

The 2014 Le Blanc Bonhomme is a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc drawn from a 2-hectare, biodynamic vineyard close to the banks of the Gironde River. Guillaume Hubert's grounded, vineyard-focused approach results in a vibrant, unworked and racy white whose crunchy freshness and juicy texture reflects its limestone soils more transparently than anything we have come to expect of white Bordeaux. The grapes are handpicked, manually sorted and undergo a 24-hour carbonic period before being pressed into concrete vats. Here it completes its fermentation, carried out by indigenous yeasts only. In other words, it's a mould-breaking white Bordeaux, and just to be sure no one misses the point, the family bottle it in a Burgundy-shaped vessel.

Vibrating with 2014's stony freshness, it's a crunchy, racy white with mouth-watering lemon pith, fresh herbs and some white floral notes, closing with some gentle phenolic bite. A lovely release of this vibrant, well-priced white.

Chateau Peybonhomme-Les-Tours Côtes de Blaye Le Blanc 2014
Château Peybonhomme-Les-Tours Blaye-Côtes de Bordeaux Le Blanc Bonhomme 2021

Château Peybonhomme-Les-Tours Blaye-Côtes de Bordeaux Le Blanc Bonhomme 2021

Biodynamic. This delicious and racy white comprises 45% Sémillon, 45% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Colombard, drawn from a two-hectare, biodynamic vineyard close to the banks of the Gironde River. Guillaume Hubert's grounded, vineyard-focused approach results in a vibrant, unworked and racy white whose crunchy freshness and juicy texture reflect its limestone soils more transparently than anything we have come to expect of white Bordeaux. The grapes are handpicked, manually sorted and undergo a 24-hour carbonic period before being pressed into a mixture of concrete vats and oak barrels. Here the wines complete their fermentation, carried out by indigenous yeasts only. In other words, it's a mould-breaking white Bordeaux, and just to be sure no one misses the point, the family releases it in a Burgundy-shaped bottle. Vibrating with the year’s stony freshness, it's a crunchy, racy white with mouth-watering lemon pith, fresh herbs and white floral notes, closing with silky grace and gentle phenolic bite. If you have a stereotype of old-school white Bordeaux in your mind, this earth-to-glass prototype is the wine to change your mind, as it did ours. Incidentally the wine’s name, Bonhomme, has the same root as bonhomie, French for exuberant friendliness. Fitting, really.

"I don’t know any producer in Bordeaux that offers better values than the Hubert family, owners of Château Peybonhomme-les-Tours and a handful of other labels. They farm biodynamically, and the wines always seem far better than their prices might indicate. This is a terrific white Bordeaux, rich, textured, stony and intriguing, made of 45 percent sémillon, 45 percent sauvignon blanc and 10 percent colombard."
Eric Asimov, The New York Times
Château Peybonhomme-Les-Tours Blaye-Côtes de Bordeaux Le Blanc Bonhomme 2021
Château Peybonhomme-Les-Tours Blaye-Côtes de Bordeaux 2021

Château Peybonhomme-Les-Tours Blaye-Côtes de Bordeaux 2021

Biodynamic. While the roster of wines at this address here moves ever more to the left, it's the more classic estate wines that float our boat, including this blend of 75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 10% Malbec. The fruit was all drawn from Peybonhomme’s limestone and clay soils in the Premières Côtes de Blaye (on the right bank overlooking the picturesque Gironde estuary). The wine was fermented using wild yeast and then mostly aged in concrete (10% fermented and matured in two- to three-year-old oak). The wine was bottled unfiltered. Look out for deep and opulent blackcurrant fruit and charred meat, all draped over a backdrop of leather, spice, graphite and lovely mineral complexity. There are good refreshing tannins, too, so it is already immensely drinkable. This will match beautifully with anything you could think of pairing with traditional Bordeaux (we prefer lamb chops). As always, superb value.

Château Peybonhomme-Les-Tours Blaye-Côtes de Bordeaux 2021

“If you are in the camp that has dismissed Bordeaux, I would urge you to give these wines a try. If you already love Bordeaux, these may add a new dimension to your expectations.” Eric Asimov, The New Your Times

Country

France

Primary Region

Bordeaux

People

Winemaker: Guillaume Hubert

Availability

National

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