Friday, February 7, 2014

Tour, Tasting and Lunch at Organic Château Beausejour in AOC Puisseguin-St.Emilion, France

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Annette Schiller at Château Beausejour in AOC Puisseguin-St.Emilion with Claire

Ever heard of Gerard Dupuy and his Château Beausejour in AOC Puisseguin-St.Emilion? Probably not. Unless, perhaps, you are into organic wines.

Château Beausejour is not one of the 300 or so winemakers in Bordeaux that produce a premium Bordeaux which sells en primeur for 50 to 500 Euros per bottle. No, Château Beausejour is one of the other 18.000 producers or so that are not in the limelight and that make so called petites Bordeaux wines. These producers have to struggle against the competition of wines from all over the world, including the New World. In my view, many of these petites Bordeaux producers offer very good value for the price.

Pictures: Arriving at Château Beausejour in AOC Puisseguin-St.Emilion

As part of the attempt to offer a broad perspective, the 2013 Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy included a tour, tasting and lunch at Château Beauséjour. Gerard Dupuy could not join us, as he did the year before, but his partner in life and business Claire received us. He also had the pleasure to meet Gerard’s mother, Christiane Dupuy, who ran the estate with her husband for many years, and his sister, Annick Rada, during the reception.

Bordeaux Wine Tour 2013 by ombiasy

Pictures: In the Vineyard

Gerard Dupuy produces wine under different labels. Produit en vente à la propriété:

AOC Puisseguin-Saint-Emilion
Château Beauséjour
Château Langlais

AOC Lussac-Saint-Emilion
Château Vieux Moulin Noir

AOC Castillon-Côtes de Bordeaux
Domaine de la Grande Courraye

Les BULLES de Beauséjour, méthode traditionnell

 Pictures: Gerard Dupuy’s Wines

Gerard Dupuy’s wines are interesting and special for at least 2 reasons. He produces – like so many others – good value Petit Chateau Bordeaux wines and he makes them organically.

AOC Puisseguin-St. Emilion

Puisseguin-St. Emilion lies at the heart of the four satellite titles of the St. Emilion appellation on the right bank. The grape varieties permitted here are Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Thus, Puisseguin-St. Emilion produces only red wines. Merlot is predominant, most often partnered with Cabernet Franc.

Pictures: In the Cellar

To qualify for the Puisseguin-St. Emilion appellation, wines must contain a minimum of 11% alcohol and come from vineyards planted to a density of less than 5500 vines per hectare. Puisseguin-St.Emilion was granted AOC status in 1936. 753 hectares of vine planted areas belong to the appellation.

The 4 St. Emilion satellites are St.Georges-Saint-Emilion, Montagne-St.Emilion, Lussac-St.Emilion and Puisseguin-St.Emilion itself – all located to the north of St.Emilion town. They are known as satellites because the area's more prestigious wine estates historically resented these supposedly inferior wines using the St.Emilion name.

Chateau Beausejour

Chateau Beausejour is Gerard Dupuy’s base, in the village of Puisseguin. It is a AOC Puisseguin-St.Emilion. The vineyard area totals 13.5 hectares. Gerard Dupuy told us that the clay and limestone soil of Chateau Beausejour is planted with Merlot (73%), Cabernet Franc (22%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (5%). All grapes are organically grown, certified by Ecocert.

Pictures: Reception, with Gerard’s mother, Christiane Dupuy, who ran the estate with her husband for many years, and his sister, Annick Rada

Château Langlais

This is also an AOC Puisseguin-St.Emilion, with the vineyard area totaling 12 hectares.

Domaine de la Grande Courraye

The vineyards of Domaine de la Grande Courraye are in the Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux appellation. I did not ask Gerard, but my hunch is that Domaine de la Grande Courraye is not more than a name under which the wine from his vineyard in Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux is sold.

Pictures: Reception

Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux

East of St. Emilion and its 4 satellites, above the town of Castillon, lie the Côtes de Castillon and the Côtes de Francs AOCs. Côtes de Castillon is an appellation for red wines only.

Pictures: Annette and Claire at Lunch

The dominant grape variety is Merlot (70%). Cabernet-Franc (20%) and Cabernet-Sauvignon (10%) account for the rest.

Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux was recognized AOC only quite recently (1989). For a long time the wines of Castillon were only used as complementary alternatives to enhance Saint-Emilion blendings in poor years. Until 2009, these wines were sold as Cotes de Castillon. In 2009, the Cotes de Castillon appellation was merged with several other Bordeaux cotes to form the new Cotes de Bordeaux title.

Pictures: At Lunch

Castillon has risen from around 2,450 hectares in 1982 to 3,250 today. During the last 25 years or so, several growers of Saint-Emilion, Pomerol and other famous areas have recognized the Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux’s potential and invested in local vineyards. One of them is Stephan de Niepperg, who has acquired Château d'Aiguilhe.


Ecocert is an inspection and certification body established in France in 1991. Ecocert has developed its own international network. With 23 offices and subsidiaries, Ecocert operates and offers its services in over 80 countries.

Pictures: At Lunch

In the Vineyard of Chateau Beausejour

This year, Gerard Dupuy could not join as in the vineyard, but last year, he said: “The refusal of chemical treatments at our wineries dates back to their appearance on the market after 1945. We practice the total grass cover. This method allows regulating the ecosystem in a monoculture, while limiting soil erosion. In our vineyards, wild tulips thrive in the vineyard rows in the spring.” The average age of the vines is 40 years.

In the Cellar

Moving on to cellar, there he follows the natural wine philosophy. Again Gerard the year before: “In the cellar, we use a minimalist approach. Our wines are aged for a period of 12 to 24 months in oak barrels.” All of his wines are made at Château Beauséjour.


Lunch was fabulous. We started out with an aperitif in the front yard and then moved into the Chateau for a wonderful 3-course meal and Gerard Dupuy’s wines.

Pictures: Lunch

The menu was prepared by the Chef of the “Auberge du Village” in 33330 Saint Christophe des Bardes. It was excellent.

Pictures: At Lunch

Jane Anson on Auberge du Village in 33330 Saint Christophe des Bardes: “Just the kind of local restaurant you look for – inexpensive, simple and charming - and it’s very popular. The wine list is short, but well chosen (hard not to be when you are surrounded by Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classés) and as keenly priced as the food.”


Thank you Claire for a wonderful event.

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