The new owner of Lafaurie Peyraguey in Sauternes is keen to buy more prime vineyard sites in the area, but will relinquish lesser terroirs held by the estate as part of a long-term reform plan.
Silvio Denz held a reception at Lafaurie-Peyraguey during this year’s en primeur tasting week for the 2013 vintage
Silvio Denz told Decanter.com that he plans to offload around 10ha of vineyards that the previous Lafaurie-Peyraguey owner had been leasing. In exchange, he said he is looking to buy new plots that are ‘more within the vicinity of the chateau’.
Land prices are relatively low in Sauternes. But, this is mainly due to the limited market appeal of the Bordeaux’s premier sweet wine and Denz said he is still committed to reducing overall production of Sauternes at the estate.
‘There is a lot of land for sale, but we only want top terroir,’ he said on the sidelines of a tasting and dinner at London’s Mosimann’s club this week.
‘Out of our current 36 hectares, 25ha is good terroir and 17 or 18ha is grade A terroir [for Sauternes],’ he said.
The estate will produce its first dry white wine from the 2014 vintage as part of a plan to produce Sauternes only from the best plots of land; a strategy that has become more common in the area in general in recent years.
‘Why should we produce 60 or 70,000 bottles of a wine that it is difficult to sell? I would rather produce 2,000 cases and get the utmost quality,’ Denz said.
‘If you can make an outstanding quality of wine, you can have an interesting business [in Sauternes].’
Since acquiring Lafaurie Peyraguey earlier this year, in a deal believed to be worth around €10m, Denz has been working with consultant Denis Dubourdieu, the well-known Bordeaux white wine specialist.
The pair are also considering a marketing project that would jointly promote Lafaurie Peyraguey and Dubourdieu’s Chateau Doisy-Daene in Barsac. ‘It will allow us to explain the differences between Sauternes and Barsac, such as the soil and the weather,’ Denz said.
Lafaurie-Peyraguey only made 30,000 bottles of Sauternes from the 2013 vintage, compared to a previous average of close to 60,000 – albeit 2013 was a small harvest for many in Bordeaux.
During this year’s en primeur campaign, Denz raised the price of Lafaurie-Peyraguey’s 2013 wine by 30% versus 2012, which was a tough vintage for many in the area.
Written by Chris Mercer