- Côtes de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France
“Peybrun has been in my family for four centuries and has always produced very high quality sweet and red wines. In 1985, my father, who had enlarged and replanted the vineyard, died, so I stopped practicing law and dove into our vats! And that’s how my passion began on these wonderful steeps hills.... To be precise, family archives dating back to 1543 have been found in the house! The domaine has a total of 15 hectares and all are farmed sustainably.” —Catherine de Loze, owner and winemaker
Although Catherine de Loze did not intend to take over the family winery, when her father passed away, she needed to make a decision: continue as a lawyer or take over the winery. For her, it was not possible to sell land that had been in her family for 400 years. Château Peybrun, the oldest family-owned winery in Cadillac, has been in the family for such a long time that the plots are named after ancestors. All 15 hectares surround the house and winery in a single block on rolling hillsides with mostly southern exposure. Farming is sustainable, no herbicides or pesticides are used in the vineyards.
Traditionally, Cadillac was best-known for sweet wine. It’s located across the Garonne River from Sauternes and the grapes are commonly affected by botrytis; the main difference is that Sauternes is a rather flat area and Cadillac has chalky, clay slopes. De Loze’s father was the first to plant red grapes on their land— a third of their vines are red— but two-thirds of the vineyards are still planted to white grapes. However, the overall production of white is lower than red because of low yields for the sweet wines.
De Loze never had any formal training and the first year, she was calling a winemaker friend daily for help to make the first vintage in 1985. The winery has remained unchanged since De Loze took over; the fermentation and aging for the Cadillac-Côtes de Bordeaux happens in old, unlined concrete tanks. These wines are beautiful examples of a traditional, old-style of Bordeaux.
De Loze is proud to be one of the first women to make wine in Bordeaux and the leopard symbol on the label—the symbol for Eleanor of Aquitaine—refers to a group of women winemakers who fraternized in the eighties.