Château Ormes de Pez 2011
Château Ormes de Pez is one of the most well respected Crus Bourgeoise estates within the Saint-Estèphe appellation. The property has been in the hands of the Cazes family since the late 19th Century. If the Cazes name is familiar, it’s probably because of the ubiquitous Fifth Growth Pauillac Estate, Château Lynch Bages. The Cazes family has dutifully tended to the vines at Château Ormes de Pez, never compromising on quality. Because of this, the wine is a fantastic value and shining example of the potential of Saint-Estèphe terroir.
Château Ormes de Pez has one of the longer histories within the Saint-Estèphe appellation, dating back to the 16th Century. It was originally named Domaine de Pez and the name was changed to Ormes de Pez shortly after the French Revolution. The term, “ormes” loosely translates to, “elms,” which are a type of tree that were at one point a part of the property’s landscape. The “Pez,” portion of the name refers to the village of Pez, where the property is located. Château Ormes de Pez came into possession of the Cazes family in 1880 when Marie Cazes married Jean Gulliou, the cellarmaster at the estate. Jean tragically passed during the first World War and Marie made the brave choice of taking over the reins at the property. A woman of great character, she invested many resources in the vineyards and tended tirelessly to the grounds.
The estate was passed down from one generation to the other of the Cazes family, culminating in Jean Michel Cazes taking over the property. Jean Michel was the gentleman who made Château Lynch Bages one of the most prominent wines hailing from the left bank. He poured plenty of resources into the cellar, modernizing the traditional 18th Century buildings on the property in the early 1980s. The winemaking facilities were completely redone in 1993 and after that the wine continued its meteoric rise in quality. Now, Château Ormes de Pez is considered one of the most popular and luxurious Cru Bourgeois Bordeaux wines.
The terroir at Château Ormes de Pez is typical of Saint-Estèphe. There is a heavy amount of clay, followed by some gravel and sand. Because of this, Château Ormes de Pez does not hesitate to plant higher amounts of Merlot in addition to the star varietals of the Left Bank, Cabernet Sauvignon. There are some additional plantings of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc to give the wine of this producer a little added dimension and flavor. The wine is vinified in large stainless steel, temperature controlled tanks. Like many Saint-Estèphe wines, Château Ormes de Pez needs a little time before it can reveal its intricacies. It shows a bit better with some bottle age and can be enjoyed within 10-20 years after the vintage. This makes it an extremely attractive option for oenophiles who want an affordable, quality wine that can age for several years. Château Ormes de Pez is considered a powerful and distinctive Saint-Estèphe, with plenty of nuance and sophistication.
"An elegant, medium-bodied, front end-loaded effort, the dark ruby/plum-tinged 2011 Les Ormes de Pez offers attractive red and black fruits intermixed with dusty, loamy soil undertones, and medium body. This soft, consumer-friendly St.-Estephe should drink nicely for 7-8 years. It is a sleeper of the vintage." Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate Issue 200, (04/25/2012) Rating: 87-89
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