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A breath of fresh air in Pessac-Léognan!

A breath of fresh air in Pessac-Léognan!

Emmanuel Tresmontant - 2008-07-09

11 miles from Bordeaux, in the commune of Martillac (Pessac-Leognan appellation), Cyril Dubrey’s Château Mirebeau stands out for a controlled and progressive practice of biodynamics. His wines, which are both dense and polished, have a fine future ahead of them.

Considered to be the historical birthplace of the Bordeaux vineyards and famous for its stones (which gave the Graves – or gravel – region its name), the Pessac-Léognan appellation is located right on the outskirts of Bordeaux. Most of its vineyards are thus scattered through the city’s suburbs, with the exception of the most prestigious ones, belonging to Château Haut-Brion, Château La Mission Haut-Brion and Château Pape Clément.
If you are looking for new châteaux that could aspire to the title of “future greats”, then I suggest paying a visit to Château Mirebeau located in Martillac, in the southernmost part of the appellation (overlooking the Garonne valley). Mirebeau is an old 17th century château whose wines, according to the archives, were sold in 1900 at the same price as those of Château Latour in Pauillac! The ambition of Cyril Dubrey and his wife Florence, who purchased the estate in 1996, is to revive this large, forgotten and mistreated terroir.
After carrying out major renovation work and investing in high-performance equipment, Cyril Dubrey (who trained as an agricultural engineer and oenologist) set off down the highly controversial (and, in Bordeaux, marginal) path of biodynamics… After years of effort during which his 5 hectares of vineyards underwent no chemical treatment, he sees his 2005 vintage wine as a culmination.
As a good “biodynamist”, Cyril says he pays great heed to the lunar calendar, be it for working the vines (pruning, ploughing, disbudding, application of preparations etc.) or work in the cellar. But although he is close to nature, Cyril nonetheless remains a good technician and so does not deprive himself of using all the oenological means at his disposal, such as the analysis of anthocyans, which makes it possible to optimise the harvesting dates by grape variety in order to obtain the best balance between alcohol, tannins and acidity. Thus, in 2005, the Merlots (55% of the vineyard) were harvested in mid-September, a week before the Cabernet Francs (35%) and Cabernet Sauvignons (10%).
On tasting, this Château Mirebeau wine stands out for its bright ruby colour, very fresh aromas and perfectly integrated woodiness. On the palate it is, above all, fine and elegant, lengthened by a nice acidity, and full of energy. We are a long way from the Pessac-Léognans that are artificially concentrated by over-extraction! Cyril Dubrey is a winegrower to count on. €21 a bottle at the château.
Château Mirebeau
33 650 Martillac
Tel: + 33 (0)5 56 72 61 76

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