Some of my earliest and most enjoyable experiences with Sauternes have concerned 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, Lafaurie-Peyraguey has remained a firm favourite, the 1986 and 1990 being two 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 much lower profile than 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, adding Clos Haut-Peyraguey to a huge portfolio of Bordeaux estates, is Bernard Magrez; he moved on to purchase Clos Haut-Peyraguey after failing to add Château Romer to his portfolio.
The Peyraguey Estate
The history of Clos Haut-Peyraguey and 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 is no news on how Peyraguey fared with his vinous venture, however, for the next mention is more than a century later.