Some of my earliest and most enjoyable experiences with Sauternes have concerned Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey. Bottles bearing this name popped up at the tastings that formed my Bordeaux education, and the wine merchants I first frequented always seemed to have a bottle or two on the shelves. And, over the years since those youthful discoveries, Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey has remained a firm favourite, the 1986, 1990 and 2001 vintages being some of the most delicious examples of Sauternes I have ever had the good sense to purchase and consume.
But what of its similarly named friend, Clos Haut-Peyraguey? This estate has a somewhat lower profile than Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey although the two are in fact siblings, having both been born from the division of the original Peyraguey estate. I have tasted a number of vintages at a variety of different tastings, usually when in Bordeaux or in London, but the wines are not so commonly encountered otherwise. It is not a wine that I have often savoured in the comfort of my own home, enjoyed in the manner for which all wine is intended. And this is a shame, because the wine is, despite its lower profile, of very good quality, largely down to the efforts of Martine Langlais-Pauly, proprietor of the estate until it was sold in late 2012. The new owner, who added Clos Haut-Peyraguey to a huge portfolio of Bordeaux estates, was Bernard Magrez; he moved on to purchase Clos Haut-Peyraguey having just failed to add Château Romer to his portfolio.
In this profile I examine the vineyards, winemaking and of course wines of this estate, but as always I begin first with some history.
The Peyraguey Estate
The history of Clos Haut-Peyraguey and Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey is one and the same in the early years, when the two were part of the original Peyraguey estate. The earliest records that make reference to this estate date from the first years of the 17th century, when the land was owned by Sieur Raymond Peyraguey, a member of the rural bourgeoisie who settled in Bommes (there are a few details on the history of the estate prior to this time – see my Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey profile for more on this). The first record of any harvest on the property is from 1618, so there has been more than four centuries of viticulture here (and probably much more than that). Sadly, however, there is no news on how Peyraguey fared with his vinous venture, for the next mention is more than a century later.