Revisiting an Old Favourite: Chateau Puyanché – Consistently Good Claret

I first discovered Chateau Puyanché a few years ago and was impressed by this little claret from the Côtes. Once I had brought some over to the UK I sent samples out to wine critics and the press and they impressed too. Since then Chateau Puyanché has beaten all the odds and gone on to be an all-time best seller at Bordeaux-Undiscovered. It also proved to be very popular at the recent Foodie Show at Battersea with those who visited our stand. The chateau now has a website and has expanded with the acquisition of Chateau Godard Bellevue and Les Moulins de Coussillon. The wines they now produce range from claret to dry and sweet white wines.

Chateau Puyanché is made by the Bernadette and Joseph Arbo and has been in the family for the past five generations. It was Bernadette’s great-great grandfather Amand Puyanché who planned the vineyard with his wife and daughter, but with the start of the Great War in 1914 Amand’s plans were put on hold. Sadly he was killed on the 3rd May 1917 at Chemin des Dames in Craonnelle. However his dreams of making wine did not die with him.

His daughter Amande was raised by a rich wine producing family who lived nearby. Together with her husband she inherited a substantial property but they were unable to make a profit producing wine, so they sold a large part of the vineyard and with the remaining land they joined a Co-operative. The store houses were then used as shelters for farm animals and storage for industrial material.

Their son Andre succeeded them and ceaselessly redeemed the parcels of land that his parents had sold, while remaining with the Co-operative. Little by little he reconstructed the vineyard.

When Andre’s daughter Bernadette inherited the vineyard she decided, along with her husband Joseph, to leave the Co-operative, build a storehouse and commit them to Amand’s original project. Their first chateau they called Chateau Puyanché in memory of Amand.

Since then Bernadette and Joseph have been developing the estate and it now covers 40 hectares divided up into two appellations: Francs Côtes de Bordeaux and Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux. New buildings have been constructed for wine making and all the equipment has been modernised.

Today Bernadette and Joseph’s greatest joy are their two children Margaux and Dorian who wish to follow in the footsteps of their parents. The family also work closely with a local charity which helps children who have problems integrating at school. Together they work amongst the vines and the experience helps the children to gain confidence in themselves.

Chateau Puyanché has proved to be a consistently good claret and if you haven’t discovered it for yourself yet then I highly recommend that you do. The 2005 is a dark garnet in colour with the aromas of blackberry and plum compotés, leather and spices. It’s a supple and complex wine, both well balanced and silky – what’s more as an aromatic wine it will go well with many meats including duck, chicken, pork and lamb as well as Italian tomato and pesto pastas, roasted aubergines and moussaka.

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