The Mystery of La Closerie

Last week, I enjoyed another of Clyde’s fabulous, ready to drink Bordeaux bargains with a juicy steak, the 1999 La Closerie du Poujeaux, Moulis ($29.99). I felt that it was so good, with so much great Cabernet texture and dark cassis fruit, I wanted to share the story with everyone. When I got up the next morning, I immediately started searching for information on it, but very little was forthcoming. They don’t have a website. When I found them in the “pages jaunes” online, the email that I sent to the chateau bounced. When we reached out to the big négociant house in Bordeaux where we bought the wine, they said that they had asked for technical information, but received nothing. So mysterious!

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Here is what we do know. From looking at the maps of Moulis, La Closerie du Grand Poujeaux sits on La Colline de Grand Poujeaux which is a little hill composed of about 80% gravel and 20% limestone. Many producers, including Chateau Poujeaux proper, Branas, and Gressier not only sit on this hill, but use its name on their labels. La Closerie’s direct neighbor is Chasse-Spleen, and I found it to have a lot of the same Cabernet power as this Chateau, which is well known to Bordeaux insiders for its fantastic age worthiness. The property itself is small by Bordeaux Chateau standards, just a little over 17 acres. When we asked about the varietal composition, we were told 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot, but we are not sure if that is for the vineyard or specifically for the 1999 harvest. That’s it for the facts- we don’t know what kind of elevage the wine was treated to, but I would guess it saw a little new oak because of the great polish it shows at 20 years old.

My evening with this wine was a finer experience than I would hope for with a bottle at double the price. Even though it had just arrived from its long container ship journey that same day, it was full of calm, confident authority. The wines main feature was great cassis fruit and plenty of it, all packaged with great acidity and 0 residual sugar. Even though the wine was only 12.5% it had great body, silky texture and some power. This wine was excellent with the food, and my wife had to tell me to slow down or she wouldn’t have had her half!

I think that the lack of online presence for this Chateau explains partly how it remains such a great value. In this world of oversharing, it is kind of nice to run into a mystery like this one. If any of you reading this have visited the property, please drop me a line at [email protected] I would love to find out what you learned. I might just have to take a trip myself to find out!

-Gary Westby

Gary Westby