Céline Lydoire, the winemaker for Château Bellevue, came to lunch at Château Pitray, a 15th-century feudal manor at the edge of the Castillon plateau, where she was showing her wine alongside vintages from the 26th-generation proprietor of Pitray, Jean de Boigne. Lydoire’s husband, Jean-Christophe Loste, is the chef for the Castillon winery association, and he was personally serving the meal. De Boigne and Lydoire both chose to show their most ambitious wines when Loste brought out the lamb—Madame de Pitray alongside Bellevue’s Ce Ma Cuvée. Both wines amped up their richness with new oak, and they led us into a conversation about what, exactly, Castillon character might be.
We continued that conversation when I visited Bellevue the next day and completely fell for Lydoire’s 2015 Cuvée Tradition, a wine with the cool, refreshing undertone that some Castillon wine’s sustained, even as they headed east, away from the sea and looked toward the Dordogne. It was a joyous Bordeaux, not self-important or heavy, just easy and delicious.
A French Cuvée Made First for Local Customers
Celine LydoireLydoire started making Ce Ma Cuvée in response to her local customers. “The French think to buy a good Bordeaux wine you have to spend a lot of money,” she told me. “They worry that the wine is too cheap. We were selling wines at six or eight euros and people would ask, ‘Can we try the fifteen-euro wine?’ So, we said, ‘Alright, people are willing to pay fifteen euros for a Castillon’.” Lydoire chose the best lots from her oldest merlot plots, blending in cabernet franc from southern exposures on gravelly soil. She then treated the blend to 18 months in new 400-liter oak barrels. “We had wanted to make this cuvée, but we weren’t sure there was a market for it.”
A Clarity That Takes Me Back to Castillon
Tasting the wine with Lydoire, I was stubbornly unconvinced. It seemed to reach toward St-Emilion in its textural richness, rather than exploring its own Castillon identity, so clearly on display in the Cuvée Tradition. So, I was surprised when, a few months later, I tasted it again, blind, in New York, and reacted completely differently. Surrounded by the New World, the wine didn’t really taste that New World at all. It felt cool, saturated and distinctly Castillon in its fruit flavor—think wild strawberries and blueberries with an earthy mineral undercurrent. The new oak was adding to the supple textural richness, and I found myself thinking, “If only more Napa Valley cabernets could meld that freshness, minerality and textural richness.” In New York, the wine had a clarity that took me back to Castillon. And though it may be Lydoire’s most ambitious wine, Ce Ma Cuvée sells for $27 here in the US. To buy a good Bordeaux, you don’t have to spend a lot of money.
Every week, our editors highlight a wine that intrigued them in our blind panel tastings, expanding on their tasting note in this space. These are entirely editorial choices; there are no paid placements. Subscribers can also access the original tasting note by searching here.
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