Monday, December 17, 2012

A German Wine Maker in the Medoc: Dinner with Stefan Paeffgen at Château Le Reysse, France

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Stefan Paeffgen at Château Le Reysse in Bégadan in the Bas Medoc

Château Le Reysse in Bégadan in the Bas Medoc is one of the 15.000 or so winemakers in Bordeaux that are not classified and thus not in the limelight. But the wines of Château Le Reysse are currently receiving a lot of attention - in Germany -  as Château Le Reysse was taken over by the German Stefan Paeffgen 2 years ago, which has created a special interest in German wine circles as to what he is doing there up in the north of Medoc. Thus, when Annette Schiller from Ombiasy Wine Tours took a group of German wine lovers to Bordeaux in late 2012, it was a “must” to include a stop at Château Le Reysse.

See more:
Bordeaux Trip September 2012, France

This was a wise decision. The group had a great time. The group enjoyed a vineyard walk with Stefan Paeffgen, followed by an inspection of some of the current construction projects and a wine tasting in the court of Château Le Reysse, coupled with delicious, hearty food prepared by Stefan’s wife.

Stefan Paeffgen

Stefan Paeffgen grew up on a farm in Germany, which his older brother took over, when their father retired. Stefan had to look for something different, although he would have loved to take over the family’s property.

Pictures: Annette Schiller, Ombiasy Wine Tours, with Stefan Paeffgen at Château Le Reysse in Bégadan in the Bas Medoc

Stefan studied agriculture in München, Stuttgart, Wisconsin, Paris and then worked for a large fertilizer company. He moved up in the company and made good money. There were mergers and was restructuring. At some point, he was offered a golden handshake and started to look for a winery he could take over. In that period, Stefan, his wife and the 3 children were living in Belgium, near Brussels.

In November 2010, he signed the sales contract with Patrick Chaumont, the owner of Château Le Reysse and moved to Begadan, initially without his family. By now they are all in Begadan.

Château Le Reysse

Patrick Chaumont run Château Le Reysse for several decades, in the second generation. When his son married into a winery in the southern part of Pauillac, he was forced to sell Château Le Reysse.

Pictures: The Wines of Château Le Reysse in Bégadan in the Bas Medoc

The vineyard area of Château Le Reysse totals 4.5 hectares, partially bordering with the vineyards of Rollan de By and La Tour de By. The vines are on average almost 50 years old. Cabernet Sauvignon accounts for 55% and Merlot for 45%. The vineyards are surrounded by a forest, which also belongs to Château Le Reysse.

Pictures: Château Le Reysse in Bégadan in the Bas Medoc

The first vintage that Stefan accompagnied from start to bottling was the 2010. The 2010er Châ¬teaux le Reysse was sold at Euro 9,95 en primeur. I recently bought a case of the 2010 for Euro 19 per bottle in Frankfurt am Main.

Pictures: Château Le Reysse in Bégadan in the Bas Medoc

Total production is 23.000 bottles, which Stefan Paeffgen sells through the old channels of Patrick Chaumont, but increasingly also through his new channels, primarily in Germany.

Château Lassus

Along with Château Le Reysse, Stefan Paeffgen bought Château Lassus – a 22.5 hectares estate – from Patrick Chaumont. The wine is sold en bloc to a Negoçiant in Bordeaux.

Clos du Moulin

Stefan Paeffgen is in the process of buying another estate, Clos du Moulin in St-Christoly with 23 hectares.

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