2009 Château de Pez (Saint Estèphe)
by JJ Buckley Fine Wines
On Sale $44.94 (reg. $49.94)
Not much needs to be said about the 2009 vintage in Bordeaux. Vinous awards the Left Bank 97 points overall, hailing it as an “exceptional vintage across the board.” The classified growths made some of their best wines that year, but prices there are not cheap. There’s no doubting the quality of the vintage, but securing true value can be a challenge. Look beyond the Grand Cru Classé, however, and you might just score a deal, such as this "very fine" 2009 Saint Estèphe for under $50.
If you’re familiar with de Pez, here’s the deal: the property belongs to the Rouzaud family of Champagne Louis Roederer. In addition to that prestigious Champagne house, the portfolio includes numerous fine wine estates, not least of which is Pauillac second growth Pichon Lalande. Today, its wines are ranked as Cru Bourgeois, though the estate previously belonged to the now-defunct top tier of Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel. Hugh Johnson commends de Pez for its “dense, reliable style."
Robert Parker calls the de Pez vineyard “a great St.-Estephe terroir that has long been under-exploited." With neighbors like Calon-Ségur and Phelan-Ségur, it’s easy to see what he means. The Rouzaud family surely saw that, too. Their winemaking know-how and financial muscle have had a massive impact on de Pez, a centuries-old estate that is only now reaching its qualitative best. Jeff Leve calls this 2009 “the finest wine I’ve ever tasted from de Pez." Robert Parker said virtually the same thing during that vintage’s en primeur tasting.
A value alternative to the bigger names of the appellation, noted Bordeaux scholar and critic Chris Kissack says, “it is châteaux such as this one that those of us who can no longer afford the likes of Cos d'Estournel and Calon-Ségur are being directed to these days," while Neal Martin praises the 2009 de Pez for being “nicely focused towards the finish, perhaps more like Montrose in style in terms of its clarity and poise."
Eight years on from the vintage date, 2009 de Pez is starting to open up. The tightness and austerity typical of young Saint Estèphe have started to fall away, and this is ready to roll. It’s also got the structure to last another fifteen years, easily, making it a savvy addition to the cellar vis-à-vis the appellation’s bigger names. Cheers!