Chateau Peyfaures had us intrigued: it produces red wine in Entre-Deux-Mers, a Bordeaux region more known for white wines. This is due in large part to AOC laws, which dictate that all wines labeled Entre-Deux-Mers AOC must be white. Reds get bucketed under the more generic Bordeaux or Bordeaux Supérieur designations, obscuring their true origins.
But Entre-Deux-Mers actually shares borders with St. Emilion and Pomerol, meaning it has some of the same clay and limestone soil that makes for great Merlot. This begs the question — could Entre-Deux-Mers actually be a region for quality red Bordeaux, without the hype? We had the opportunity to experience Chateau Peyfaures’ Dame de Coeur cuvée and decide for ourselves.
Chateau Peyfaures has existed along the Dordogne river across from St. Emilion and Pomerol for seven generations. It uses traditional, low-intervention methods to bring out the best in its terroir. Each vineyard block is vinified separately, and fermented using naturally-occurring yeasts. It is a Bordeaux Supérieur, grown at lower yields and harvested at a greater ripeness.
So, how does an Entre-Deux-Mers red wine taste? Chateau Peyfaures validates that the region can produce classic Bordeaux Right Bank Merlot. It has the characteristic core of savory black plum, black cherry, and currant, balanced by vibrant acidity. However, the addition of 10% Cabernet Franc lends more structure to the tannins than a purely Merlot-based Bordeaux, and an herbal note to the wine. Its aromatics are rounded out by vanilla and oak spice.
While we sampled the Dame de Coeur cuvée now, it is truly meant to be aged. The 2015 vintage has the dense, structured tannins and vibrant acidity that will integrate elegantly in 5-10 years. If you’re going to drink it sooner, we absolutely recommend decanting for one hour to bring out the full depth of fruit and warm spice.
As with most Bordeaux, Chateau Peyfaures is a food wine. The rich dark fruit, acidity and tannins elevate mildly-seasoned beef and lamb dishes. We paired the Dame de Coeur with easy veal meatballs. These are a quick dish to whip up and make perfect appetizers, particularly for health-conscious guests. They have enough fat to stand up to the youthfulness of a 2015 Bordeaux, but are milder in flavor than regular beef meatballs, letting the wine shine rather than overpowering it. Recipe below.
The verdict? Ageworthy Merlot doesn’t need to come only from Bordeaux subregions known for red wine. Chateau Peyfaures has piqued our curiosity about other other Entre-Deux-Mers chateaux along the St. Emilion and Pomerol borders, and what they might hold. Learn more about Chateau Peyfaures at chateaupeyfaures.com.
Easy Veal Meatballs
Makes 30-35 meatballs
- 1 lb ground veal
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 small onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 egg, beaten
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup flour
- 1 tablespoon olive oil