The wines of Château Veyry, Castillon

Christian Veyry is the son of a winemaker and highly-respected consultant winemaker in Bordeaux (I note that at one time described as “Michel Rolland’s right hand man”) who also runs this tiny family operation in the Côtes de Castillon, the Right Bank appellation next door to St Emilion and using similar grapes, mainly Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

UK importer Cadman Fine Wines describes Château Veyry as a garage wine, a term suggesting a small winery with very limited production, but in this case also literally true: Veyry’s battered old garage housing two ancient Citroens and a small, high-tech winery. Fruit comes from four hectares of south-facing vineyard on the same limestone ridge that’s the source of the greatest Saint-Emilions wines and all vineyard work is by hand.

You will google in vain for a Château Veyry web site or, indeed, to find much information online for the domaine, but while Christian Veyry clearly doesn’t shout too loudly about his own wine, you can take my word for it that the wines tasted here were very impressive. Surprisingly for such a small estate there is even a second wine – the ‘Very Veyry’ – a mechanism much grander estate’s employ to ensure quality, by using younger vine fruit in a second bottling, rather than in the main ‘Cru’.

These are big, forward, plush wines, not short on alcohol, fruit ripeness or extraction. So maybe not Bordeaux wines for the old school purist who likes a touch of austerity, but they are really very well done within that style category: they make for truly delicious drinking, and they are balanced thanks to a refined edge to their tannin and acid structure.

Exclusively imported by and available from Cadman Fine Wines.

The Wines

(2020) From the Côtes de Castillon, neighbouring Saint-Émilion on the 'Right Bank' of Bordeaux, and a typical blend dominated by Merlot along with Cabernet Franc. This is a big, ripe, even slightly Porty style of wine with 15% alcohol, very much in the plush and modern 'garagiste' style. Saturated and dark, it is brimming with sweet black fruit, a chocolaty density and yet very good savoury aspects thanks to a little oak spice, firm creamy tannins and good acids. An impressive 'entry level' wine from this producer.
(2020) From the Bordeaux Right Bank appellation Côtes de Castillon, this is 95% Merlot with the balance Cabernet Franc. From an obviously ripe and rich year, it's a big bear-hug of a wine, 14.5% alcohol a testament to the ripeness and glorious sweetness of fruit here, yet it is not a wine that feels over-extracted or clumsy. Aromas are the essence of cassis and plum, some pencil-shaving finess in the background. Mouthfilling, creamy and voluptuous black fruit floods the palate, with creamy-soft tannins and a nice stripe of sour plum acidity to give freshness. It's plushness might not suit lovers of more austere, traditional 'claret', but I loved this personality-packed wine.
(2020) With the alcohol pumped up to 15%, this is another succulent and lush Merlot-dominated Right Bank style, but once again those limestone soils ensuring it retains some elegance and freshness too. Like the 2012 there is a plush depth of black fruit sprinkled with a little exotic spice, but it feels a little fresher and more taut at this stage. A deep pool of mulberry and plum fruit has a firm cherry skin edge of acidity - firmer than the 2012 again - and the grippy tannins suggest this needs a few more years, in a wine of great substance and depth. £24.99 as part of a mixed six at time of review.
(2020) Well, all of the wines tasted from Veyry are very good and the chance to buy three vintages a nice way to cellar a 'vertical' from this estate, but I have to say that for me this 2016 is pick of of the bunch. Heady, intense, sweet and ripe, it is very much typical of the wines of this property, but as well as the concentrated, spice-touched black fruits, spiked with incense and mint, there is terrific racy structure, black cherry acids pert and taut, creamy but persistent tannins, and the weight of blackcurrant fruit is sweet and polished through to the finish. It's a hedonistic and sumptuous style, and very, very delicious. £24.99 as part of a mixed six bottles.

2 comments

  1. Wow!! I’m not sure I have tasted enought claret to be a purist but 15% is the sort of level you would expect from a hot climate Grenache. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised when the Rolland name was mentioned.

    1. These definitely do have high alcohol and ripeness Paul – it must be something of a house style. Having said that, for the right bank it’s not unknown – quite a few St Emilions and Pomerols, in ripe years, are certainly pushing 14% and over.

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