2011 Côtes de Francs

Grapes Malbec, Merlot, Cab Franc
Colour Red
Origin France, Bordeaux
Sub-district Saint Emilion & Satellites
Village Côtes de Francs
ABV 14%

From the Nicolas Thienpont family of estates (which includes Pavie Macquin and Larcis Ducasse) the Puygueraud is juicy and intense with ripe fruit exploding on the nose and a generous palate of cassis and black cherry. A great, open, crowd-pleasing style of claret that would tackle roast pork with some aplomb. Clever balance hear of mature sophistication and just enough generosity of fruit. Delicious. 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec. L&S (Apr 2019)

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The 2011 vintage in Bordeaux tends to be dismissed with faint praise – if that. Certainly, it was uneven and not a patch on 2009 or 2010, but some good wines were produced by the right people in the right place. Some very good. Step forward Château Puygueraud, made by Nicolas Thienpont in the tiny (by Bordeaux standards) northeastern appellation of Francs Côtes de Bordeaux (previously Côtes de Franc). The 2011 – Merlot with 20% Cabernet Franc and a smidge of Malbec – is absolutely perfect now: approachable, mellow and full of charm, with generous mulberry and blackcurrant fruit, cedary spice and graphite notes and easy tannins. If you drink claret or want to give it at Christmas, then this is spot on. Otherwise, feed it something like a herb-crusted roast rack of lamb, roast beef (hot or cold), parmentier de canard or some mushrooms. Joanna Simon, (Nov 2019)

Medium ruby-red. Fresh aromas of raspberry, redcurrant, licorice, and tobacco. Broad, pliant and sweet, boasting a surprisingly plush texture to the blueberry, blackcurrant and licorice flavors. This politely styled midweight finishes with supple tannins and very good length. This is almost tender for a 2011, said David Suire, technical director of the Nicholas Thienpont estates, and I couldn't agree more. A blend of 75% merlot and 25% cabernet franc. Rating: 88 Ian d'Agata, (Jul 2014)

Château Puygueraud

The Côtes de Francs, an appellation dating only from 1967, is to the east of Saint Emilion, and is the smallest of the Bordeaux appellations at a mere 450 hectares. Georges Thienpont. who arrived here from Oudenaarde in Flanders in 1946, was responsible for the revival of the Côtes de Francs appellation which is dominated by Château Puygueraud. Georges began the replanting of the vineyards in the 1970s and the first wine was produced in 1983. Georges' son Nicolas, who is also responsible for La Prade, Pavie Macquin, Larcis Ducasse and the white wine Les Charmes Godard, has made the wine here ever since. His cousins run Vieux Château Certan, Le Pin, and l’If, so this property is nothing if not well-connected. Château Puygueraud is mainly Merlot with, however, a proportion of Cabernet that is quite high for the region as well as a touch of Malbec with its peppery character. In 2005, all the Cabernet Sauvignon was pulled up and Cabernet Franc was planted instead. This variety is better suited to the terroir of the Cotes de Francs, and gives a distinctive aromatic brightness and definition to the wines. Château Lauriol is principally the second wine of Château Puygueraud, made from the younger vines. It is also more gently oaked and is ready to drink younger, and very ‘digestible’ wine.

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