A Study in Soil & Value: Bordeaux’s New Star Château Le Rey

Posted on: 02/11/19 8:14 PM

Le Rey

I first tasted these wines in Bordeaux in the spring of 2017, long before they were released. As soon as I did, I knew as a fact that we needed to be offering them as soon as we could. While it’s not unusual for a ‘new’ Bordeaux property or project to pop up on my radar as things are always changing hands, it is rare for one of them to really grab me by the lapels and demand attention. These did.

We tasted them while visiting store favourite Château Tour Saint Christophe in St Émilion, where at the end of our visit, their extraordinarily talented director Jean-Christophe Meyrou took us aside and said he wanted to show us a little project that they hadn’t started selling yet. Jean-Christophe and his two business partners had purchased an old Château in the Côtes de Castillon where they had spotted potential- Château Le Rey.

One of the things that particularly excited Jean-Christophe, who has something of an obsession with soils, was that the estate sits on two distinct pockets of different soils types. One clay, one limestone. The plan instead of doing the usual and blending them together, was to make one wine from each terroir.

Although I dislike the terms, both are made in something along the lines of ‘natural’, with no sulfur or wood used for the Argileuses, and no new oak influence and minimal sulfur on the Rocheuses. To make the difference clear between these and your ‘normal’ Bordeaux, these are in Burgundy shaped bottled, and indeed I’ve heard a lot of people saying that these are more Burgundian than Bordeaux. Personally, I think they’d fit somewhere in a venn diagram between Bordeaux, Burgundy, and the Northern Rhone. Hard to describe but easy to drink and super delicious. I thoroughly recommend buying both to compare the two side by side, and I’d also particularly highlight the value of the magnums.

2017 Château Le Rey Les Argileuses (Clay)

This is fresh and steely with blackberry, blueberry and crushed-stone character. Medium to full body, round tannins and a fresh finish. Amphora wine. No wood or sulfur. 80% merlot and 20% cabernet franc. 91-92 pts., James Suckling

2016 Château Le Rey Les Argileuses (Clay)

This seems to be the only Le Rey wine without a critic score as of yet, but given the quality of the 2016 vintage as a whole it’s not surprising that it’s tremendous. Aromas of intensely clean and pure blueberry, blackberry and dark cherry carry through onto the palate, and the finish is remarkably fresh, clean, crisp and bright.

Le Rey

2016 Château Le Rey Les Rocheuses (Limestone)

The pureness of this is so beautiful with wonderful depth of fruit and balance. Full body and flavors of licorice and berries. Round and polished tannins. Resounding purity. No new wood. No sulfur yet here. 93-94 pts., James Suckling

Posted in Bordeaux List By Guy Davies