Château La Roche Pressac, Côtes de Castillon
On the 25th January in Le Wine Bar in central Bordeaux hosted a producer tasting and welcomed the young and talented winemaker Chrystelle Lirand, of Château La Roche-Pressac in Côtes de Castillon. Her and her husband bought the estate at the beginning of 2003 and we tasted a range of wines from their first vintage, 2004.
Coming from outside of wine they decided to have a complete life change giving up their conventional lives as teachers to dedicate themselves to the whims of nature and make wine. They share the work that has to be done on their six hectare property between themselves, be it pruning the vines, filling barrels in the cellar or out on the road selling. Equipped only with a year’s Viti-Vini diploma from La Tour Blanche, a year’s practical experience in the region but ample determination and a fresh outlook, they undertook the work on their property and produced some stunning wines in 2004.
They have become oblivious to odd looks from their neighbours. Even before the final signing for the property had been completed the couple set to work in the vineyards for the very important pruning that helps to determine the overall quality of the harvest to come a few months later. This won them a few brownie points with the locals. They do not buy in labour but get down to it themselves. They are only 350 or so properties in Côte de Castillon, Chystelle is surprised there is not more ‘comaraderie’. “With the competition from elsewhere you would think we would all group together, share ideas and market our wines as a joined force”.
They are not afraid to do things differently. In order to survive not only do they have to make good wine but be able to sell it themselves direct to restaurants or the wine drinker him or herself without losing the margins from any middle men which is the customary route in Bordeaux. Chrystelle is passionate and dedicated and not afraid of hard work to succeed and see that her wines get the recognition they deserve. Recently in the Revue du Vin de France La Roche Pressac came third in blind tasting of the wines of Côte de Castillon after two big league players, Chateau Aiguille from Stephane de Neipperg (of Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere, St Emilion) and Domaine de l’A from Stephane Deronencourt. The hard work is obviously beginning to pay off. Wonder what the locals think.
2006 “Le Sémillon de Chrystelle” 100% Sémillon Golden in colour, rich and full on the palate. Surprising acidity for this varietal Semillon. 2006 “L’Aromatique de Chrystelle Rose” Rosé trés fruité et trés développé au nez. Strawberry freshness from this predominatly Merlot blend. Perfume from the 20% Cabernet Franc. Left on skins for 12 hours to get a deep pink colour2004 ” Rochecotte”, Côtes de Castillon – Elevé en cuve, fruité , agréable en apéritif.Light, fresh and fruity. Predominately Merlot from this wine from young vines2005 “Cadet La Roche” Côtes de Castillon – Elevé en barriques pendant 12 mois.Blackcurrant jam and attractive vanilla notes2004 “Cadet La Roche” Côtes de Castillon – Elevé 12 mois en barriquesFreshness to this fruity wine.2005 Ch “La Roche-Pressac” Côtes de Castillon – Elevé en barriques neuves pendant 15 mois. Older vines give this very concentrated wine with a firm tannic structure and a lot of body. Still time to go. Plummy and rounded.2004 Ch “La Roche-Pressac” Côtes de Castillon Delicious. Full of rich blackcurrant and liquorice notes. Very rounded and smooth on the palate. Tannic structure