Clos Puy Arnaud, 2016 Update

It is probably not untrue to say Château Pontet-Canet leads the biodynamic field in Bordeaux, but it is untrue to say fans of this philosophy are limited to drinking the wines of just one estate in this region. A handful of cru classé châteaux including Château Palmer and Château Climens have since converted to this approach, while other notable names including Château Latour slowly move in the same direction. There are a number of unclassified estates also producing biodynamic wines which deserve at least some of our time and attention and a number of them, to be frank, were converted to the biodynamic cause long before inquiring minds in Pauillac began to consider the possibility. Of all these domaines the most deserving is perhaps Clos Puy Arnaud, where Thierry Valette holds the reins.

A Bordeaux Experiment

I tasted with Thierry Valette twice during the course of 2016, and this report features an amalgamation of my tasting notes from these two encounters. Although it was valuable experience to be able to taste or retaste several vintages of the grand vin, perhaps the most notable wine tasted was an experimental cuvée produced for the first time in the 2015 vintage. I tasted this back in February, and at that time the fate of this new cuvée hung in the balance; Thierry was uncertain whether he would bottle it is a distinct cuvée, or whether he would include it in the blend of the 2015 Clos Puy Arnaud. When I met Thierry later in the year, however, he had an update for me:

“The 2015 experiment will be released as a mini-cuvée, of about 2,000 bottles. It has turned out to be really interesting, especially in a vintage such as 2015, because it is really fruity. I think it is a good idea to experiment and create new wines, or new cuvées.”

Clos Puy Arnaud

Thierry (pictured above) explained that the new cuvée is a response to how he thinks Bordeaux is increasingly perceived by drinkers:

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