Chateau Le Puy barely needs introducing at this point… The wines from this 413-year-old estate caught on like wildfire from the moment we began importing them, some six years ago now. Between their flagship Emilien, their utterly unique Barthelemy, the value-driven Duc des Nauves, and more recent additions like Closerie Saint Roc and Pelan, they have changed the way many of us understand Bordeaux—of what this often-uninspiring region is truly capable of.
While reds comprise almost all of the Amoreau family’s production, there is a tiny 1.5-hectare planting of Semillon from the 1940s at Le Puy, with 15 or so Ugni Blanc plants mixed in. From these old vines, they produce a mere handful of barrels each year of an enchanting white wine “Marie-Cecile”–named after ancestor Barthelemy’s wife, who made the wine and ran the estate in the 1870s when the men were off fighting in the war.
Marie-Cecile is pressed slowly, and undergoes natural fermentation without temperature control in old 228-liter barrels. Like its red counterpart Barthelemy, Marie-Cecile is never racked, and instead is “dynamized” every few days during its elevage, slowly absorbing all of the lees into the wine and giving it stability of structure. This allows it to be produced with no added sulfur whatsoever, thereby preserving the Semillon’s haunting texture in full.
Suffice to say, there is no other white Bordeaux remotely like this. We are fortunate to get a splash here and there when we can, and even as Le Puy’s largest export market our access to Marie-Cecile is spotty at best. As is always the case with this estate, Marie-Cecile is gorgeously packaged in a slightly flaring Bordeaux bottle capped with soft yellow wax, in wooden 6-pack boxes.
More on Château le Puy here.