What it’s like to make ‘Modern Bordeaux’ in the Cote de Bourg with Chateau Puybarbe
Chateau Puybarbe were introduced to our owner, Kate, back in the summer of 2020. We’re always on the look out for new and exciting wines at Reserve HQ and these came highly recommended and so we had some samples shipped over from France.
It’s fair to say we were all astounded by the quality of the wines and the presentation. The labels walk the tightrope between classic and modern Bordeaux like a pro, with the wines proving to be equally as elegant. Since then, we’ve hosted a virtual tasting with Riku and Anna for customers all over the country, poured their wines by the glass in our bars and have this summer made their Annabel rose our flagship rose by the glass across all of our sites. I recently had the chance to catch up with Riku, asking him a little more about how the Finnish couple ended up making wine in Bordeaux, their philosophy when it comes to wine making and where they see the future of wine.
MS - Could you tell us a little bit about yourselves and how you got into the wine industry?
RV - We are a Finnish family and have always wanted to go into business together once our children had grown up. After coming across an article in the Financial Times about wineries in Bordeaux we decided it would be the perfect fit giving myself and Anna the perfect opportunity to work with a consumer product whilst realizing our passion for agriculture.
What is it that gets you excited about wine?
Wine is a unique product, a noble, sensitive plant that’s fantastic to grow. What we love about our home in Chateau Puybarbe is the difference to our neighbours, our terroir is different and so is our winemaking process, this is exciting.
When you were searching for sites in Bordeaux what drew you to Chateau Puybarbe?
The main thing was the terroir, this is something you cannot change yet has a huge effect on the style of wine you produce. We’re on a south facing hill meaning our vines get around 10% more sunlight than the average in Bordeaux. This naturally gives us riper grapes with richer, fruitier flavours.
What is your philosophy when it comes to growing vines and making wine?
We’re in the first year of Organic Conversion and have never used chemical weed killers or fertilizers, we have HVE (Haute Valeur Environmental) certificate for respecting the environment and biodiversity. We aim to create ‘Modern Bordeaux’, preserving the fruit flavours and creating Bordeaux that is ready to drink when released as oppose to traditional Bordeaux which needs years of maturation before drinking.
What is your perfect wine and food pairing?
Needless to say we drink mainly red wine, we love Le Roc de Chateau Puybarbe with duck breast and a rich red wine sauce. One of our son’s is vegan and our daughter is vegetarian and we find that the Gaia goes really well with vegetarian dishes with quite a lot of spices.
Where do you see the future of wine heading?
We see the future as being organic, vegan and ready to drink. As more and more people move into cities and have less space to store and cellar wines, ‘Modern Bordeaux’ is going to be more and more important.
Any exciting projects you’re working on?
We’re working on lots but a really exciting project is something called Biocyclic Vegan which has strict requirements regarding carbon sequestration and erosion, plant based compost only, increased biodiversity amongst the vines and the strictest limits on the use of copper. It also restricts any animal husbandry nor anything animal based to be used in the vineyards or the cellar.
Please come and visit us if you’re in the region, there’s a lovely B&B just next door and we love to show the vineyards and the different cuvees and tasting at the Chateau really helps to show why the wines taste the way they do.
You can shop the full range of Chateau Puybarbe Wines, exclusive to us in UK.