The En-Primeur Insider: Eighth Edition, with Alistair Cooper MW
Cotes de Castillon is another one of those Right Bank appellations (along with Fronsac) that does well in very hot vintages such as 2020. This is largely due to its limestone soils as well as the huge amount of biodynamic estates in the area. Unsurprisingly for me the standout performer was Clos Puy Arnaud in this year’s Castillon offerings.
Biodynamic since 2010, Clos Puy Arnaud has 14 hectares (65% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Franc) on the limestone plateau at around 90 metres above sea level. Under owner Thierry Valette this estate just keeps on getting better and better. They are experimenting with no sulphur, amphora aged wines with their Cuvée Ananda and from now on their Grand Vin will be around 20% amphora aged. Very often biodynamic wines for me just seem to exhibit real purity, vibrancy and energy and Clos Puy Arnaud is a prime example. Most importantly, this is extremely well priced for a wine of this quality.
Here’s what I thought when tasting the wine for JancisRobinson.com and United Cellars a few weeks ago.
‘A very vibrant berry laden nose, raspberry and mulberry and pepper. Such vibrancy, freshness and energy on the palate with fine and detailed tannins, a red fruit core with lovely texture. Really well balanced wine that is all about the energy coursing through its veins. Absolutely superb.’ 17 points.
- Alistair Cooper,
Master of Wine & Esteemed Critic
About the Author
Alistair is a UK based Master of Wine who began his wine career working for many years in export management for wineries in Chile and Argentina. He currently works internationally as a consultant, writer, judge and educator, and in 2019 became the South American wine correspondent for one of the world's most respected wine publications, jancisrobinson.com. In 2005 he moved back to the UK and worked in all aspects of the wine trade, from managing, buying and consulting for wine bars and restaurants to importing and wholesaling wines.
He passed his WSET Diploma in 2012, and was awarded the Derouet Jameson Award for top Diploma student. He then enrolled on the Master of Wine programme that he successfully completed in 2017. He is a regular contributor to consumer and trade magazines such as Decanter, Meiningers International, Harpers and Drinks International. As a judge Alistair is a Panel Chair for IWSC, Decanter World Wine Awards and is the President of Cata d’Or Wine Awards, South America’s longest standing wine competition. Alistair is currently writing a wine guide on the wines of Latin America. Alistair’s other passions are food, rugby, languages, skiing, running and being dad to his awesome girls.