Chateau La Peyre, Saint-Estephe, 2014

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La Peyre is a great example of classic St. Estèphe earthiness and power with elegance. In the glass it is delicious and quintessential St. Estèphe. And yet, it's not like any other St. Estèphes. It's not made by a giant château. in fact, La Peyre is the only St. Estèphe to be awarded the "Cru Artisan" designation.

You don't need a French diploma to understand what the designation means. They're artisans. According to the rules, they can work no more than five hectares of vines. That's small even in Burgundy and it's incredibly rare in Bordeaux. But it means the grower can give the vines the kind of individual attention that helps them fulfill their terroir's potential.

What "Artisan" definitely does not mean is poor terroir. In fact, La Peyre's vines grow near the greatest names in the village (including Montrose), on classic gravels with clay. And it doesn't mean poor practices in the winery—cut corners or rushed production. La Peyre works traditionally, hand harvesting, fermenting slowly, and aging mostly in old wood to make sure new oak flavors don't overwhelm the wine. The family clearly takes pride in what they do.

Tiny production, incredible attention to detail, absolutely top terroir. In many regions (Burgundy, we're looking at you!), this would be a recipe for sky-high prices. And yet this wine is decidedly a bargain. The price discrepancy between La Peyre and Montrose is astounding. That's because, when it comes to prices, Bordeaux follows Champagne's strange market logic: the bigger the producer, the more costly the wines.

We're not saying this wine can stand in for Montrose. Some of the price difference, for sure, has to do with the additional bells and whistles that money can buy. But a lot of it is simply fame and marketing. Small producers just don't make enough wine to win the international reputation, or to budget for the marketing that earns mamoth customer demand.

What Rosenthal Wine Merchant has to say about this wine...

Château La Peyre Saint Estephe Cru Artisan: The vineyards for the Saint Estephe of La Peyre are situated in the village of Leyssac in the same zone as that of Montrose and Haut-Marbuzet. There are a total of eight hectares of vines with an average age of 30 years (as of 2011). The soil is predominantly gravel with a mix of clay. The grape mix for the Saint Estephe is 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot and 10% Cabernet Franc. The alcoholic fermentation occurs in stainless steel tanks and then the wine is aged in small oak barrels (about one-third of which is new) for an additional 15 to 18 months before being bottled (without filtration). Production is 40,000 bottles annually of which about 4200 bottles are provided to RWM for sale in the USA.