Chateau Peyrabon is a cru bourgeois property in the appellation of Haut Medoc in Bordeaux. The chateau has vineyards in both Haut Medoc and Pauillac, although the Haut Medoc vineyard is one of the largest holdings in that region at over 70 acres. The location of the parcel is several miles inland from the Gironde estuary, lying within a mile of the Pauillac commune. The gravelly soil imparts classic “Left Bank” minerality to the wine.
The chateau was purchased by noted Bordeaux merchant Patrick Bernard in 1998 and has been the recipient of generous investments to improve quality and production. The results are clearly evident in greatly improved scores for wines judged after 1998. Peyrabon is not without a bit of controversy. Back when the original Medoc Chateau were classified in 1855, Chateau Peyrabon was excluded from the list, despite commanding prices that were commensurate with other listed properties (historic selling price was the primary criteria for inclusion in the classification). As we all know, the classification has withstood many challenges, relenting only once to elevate Chateau Mouton Rothschild from second to first growth in 1973. Peyrabon’s 14 year challenge was ultimately unsuccessful, but the chateau was able to get in on the cru bourgeois extension of the classification, so there is some acknowledgement of the historic quality and importance of the property.
As a “Left Bank” Bordeaux, the wine is typically a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot and 23% Cabernet Franc.
The 2005 vintage in Bordeaux was very highly-touted, coming after several weaker vintages. As such, the futures market was very active with some of the highest prices recorded to date. In addition, many top-rated chateaux sold out during the futures campaign, meaning that many wine lovers would only get to acquire their favorite wines at full release price, assuming they could get them at all.
The 2005 Peyrabon is classic “Left Bank” Bordeaux with lots of minerality and savory fruit notes. At thirteen years old, the wine is showing great maturity with evolved bottle-aged complexity. The wine is still a deep ruby red color, possessing an almost obscure robe with a hint of brick on the disc. On the nose, strong cherry fruit is evident with hints of menthol, dried herb and wet stone – classic. On the palate the wine is very well-balanced with an elegant structure, moderate acidity and well-integrated tannin. Cherry fruit is again evident, dense but not jammy. The finish is long with unfolding layers of complexity that open with time in the glass. The wine is drinking well and will likely continue to improve for another 5 to 7 years in the bottle.
Availability is another matter. We’re blogging about the wine because it was recently offered in the Boston market at an unbelievable price. The thirty cases that were offered sold out within an hour. That said, the wine is a spectacular value and worthy of coverage, if for no other reason than to put it on people’s radar screen in the event more shows up at some point. As a point of reference – the wine typically sells for between $28 and $30 per bottle – the offering that I reference had it on sale for $19.99 net per bottle. Now you can understand why it sold out in an hour.
This was the first time I experienced Peyrabon – based on how this vintage showed, it will not be my last… Looking forward to tasting some other noted vintages like 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2016.