Producer in Focus
Le Puy, Bordeaux, France
Biodynamic pioneers for over 400 years...
This month, our producer in focus is the world-renowned Le Puy estate, a family of pioneers who have led the biodynamic movement in winemaking since before it was even named as such. Having been producing wines of such a high calibre thanks to their focus on agri-forestry, permaculture and lunar-lead dynamic practices, the wines of Le Puy are extraordinary, and we’ve just received their latest release…View Wines
“Creating wines from passion and from love is a question of ethics”
A Family History
The first known ancestors of the Amoreau family date back to 1610. They lived pretty much exactly where the Le Puy estate is now, over 400 years later, so it’s safe to say it’s a family and a land steeped in history.
The Amoreau family were pioneers in the world of viniculture, educating themselves in the benefits of holistic farming methods such as the use of vegetal fertilisers and cooperage techniques at an early stage, with Barthélemy Amoreau questioning the necessity for the use of sulphites all the way back in the mid 19th century.
“Our winemaking process is a collaboration between all the elements in the chain of life: humans, animals, plants and bacteria live together in symbiosis to create the most pure and most enjoyable wines”
Inventors & Leaders
1932 saw the invention of the “fouilleuse” by Pierre-Robert Amoreau, a kind of mechanical plough, which enabled shallow cultivation of their soils, leaving its precious ecosystem undisturbed.
The health of the vineyards flourished, and under the talented guidance of Paule Amoreau, (Jean-Pierre’s mother who had taken charge of the vineyards as all the men had been sent to war), the estate began to produce some of its best wines to date.
Throughout the 70’s a focus was made on enhancing the estates biodiversity even more, with some vines pulled up and replaced with ponds, flower meadows and woodlands.
“You need life in the ground, and life in the environment, to get life in the vines”
1994 saw the birth of their iconic cuvée Barthélemy, and Le Puy became the first estate to introduce dynamisation in both the vineyard and the cellar.
A truly unique process, dynamisation in the cellar involves stirring the wine two to three times a month (according to the lunar calendar) one way, and then the other way to create a vortex of chaos.
This results in many things, (some tangible, some not so much!) most notably more texture, less sediment and a wine of intense intrigue…Shop Now
Retour des Îles
In 2012, the estate created a very special, well-travelled limited edition cuvée - Retour des Îles.
These barrels of Barthélémy take a 20,000km journey on a wind-driven schooner across the Atlantic via the Canaries and the African coast, looping the Caribbean before returning to Bordeaux.
This journey creates a natural vortex within the barrels thanks to the constant swell of the sea, as well as exposing them to varying levels of iodine, temperature and air pressure.
The result? A dark garnet colour, with intense flavours of very ripe red berries whilst being full-bodied and fleshy. An explosion of flavour. With a UK allocation of only 6 bottles of 2018, these are rare gems indeed.Shop Now
Whilst the estate is predominantly famous for its exceptional reds, from time to time they produce small quantities of white from 70 year old Semillion vines.
Marie-Cécile is the archetype of a dry natural white wine with a gold to amber hue that varies depending on the year.
The estate will only ever release this cuvée if it meets impeccably high standards, so allocations are small - this year we only have 48 bottles!
Though we were excited to receive all the new arrivals from Le Puy last month, Emilien 2020 really got us going…
It’s a spectacular vintage, when for once, conditions were perfect, and though a much smaller amount was produced (about a third in comparison to 2019), they are a fine reflection of the fossil rich clay and limestone soils from which they grew. Beautiful to drink young, but with an unbelievable capacity to age handsomely.
With the latest delivery we also received a great depth of special old vintages, that Le Puy followers will be keen to get their hands on! 1989, 1990, 2005, 2008…take your pick!
Finally, if you’re hoping for some present inspiration, or just to treat someone, (or yourself!), we have an impressive range of bottle sizes, and not just Magnums, but Jeroboams, Imperials, and even 15L Nebuchadnezzars!
Two Decades of Innovation...
The last 20 years have been full of exciting developments from the estate; introducing bees and re-introducing horse-power; analysing the wines through crystallisation; building their own in-house lab and further improving the eco-footprint of the estate…and more!
“Our greatest efforts go into creating unique wines that are the purest expression of our soils and grapes”