Introducing Château Rocheyron

Dominio de Pingus founder Peter Sisseck returns to Bordeaux
Jan 24, 2011

It’s always fun to find a new winery. If you’ve been following along here over the past few years, you’ve been there when I introduced South Africa’s Glen Elly, as well as the Rhône’s Château de Montfaucon, Philippe & Vincent Jaboulet and Famille Darnaud-McKerrow.

During my recent trip through Bordeaux to taste the 2008s, I was able to taste numerous not-yet-bottled wines from both the 2009 and 2010 vintages. At one estate, I only tasted the 2010, as they didn’t make any ’09. You might think it’s a shame to miss out on ’09, but c’est la vie, since the 2010 is the winery’s debut vintage.

Château Rocheyron is the creation of Peter Sisseck and Silvio Denz. Sisseck is probably best known for his work in Spain where he started Dominio de Pingus in the Ribera del Duero; Denz is the owner of Château Faugères in St.-Emilion. For Sisseck, it’s a return home of sorts—he got his winemaking start in Bordeaux at châteaus Rahoul and de Landiras, working with his uncle Peter Vinding-Diers, before heading off to Spain.

“It’s nice to be back,” said the mild-mannered Sisseck, whose last vintage in Bordeaux was 1990.

For Rocheyron, Sisseck and Denz purchased 7 hectares of vines in St.-Emilion, located on the limestone plateau at the top of the appellation, bordering Château La Roque. The limestone terroir, along with a choice 1.5-hectare parcel of old-vine Cabernet Franc, are what drew Sisseck’s interest.

“It’s really difficult to find small gems in Bordeaux. So when this came up, we couldn’t let the opportunity pass by,” said Sisseck. “The nice part is that we already have other businesses going, so with Rocheyron, we can really just do what we want.”

In addition to the old-vine Cabernet Franc, the remainder of the vineyard is planted with young- and old-vine Merlot. The varietals are vinified separately by vine age, the older vines in wooden vat, the young vines in stainless steel.

“We vinified nine lots of out 7 hectares, but it’s not really a parcel selection since the vines are interplanted,” said Sisseck as he poured three samples from the 2010 vintage. “It’s funny to start with ’10, since it’s the most Spanish-style vintage I’ve ever seen in Bordeaux. It was so warm, and there was so little malic acidity.”

The young-vine Merlot hadn’t gone through malo yet; it’s fresh and lively, but Sisseck thinks it will probably go into a second wine. The grand vin will be comprised of the older-vine fruit, starting with the Merlot, which is very sappy in feel, with lots of flattering raspberry and spice notes. The old-vine Cabernet Franc portion is very vibrant, with gorgeous cassis fruit and lots of latent grip. A quick blend of the two shows how the varieties marry, with the succulent red fruit profile of the Merlot surrounding the dark, more muscular Cabernet Franc. Though young, the wine clearly shows outstanding potential.

For now, the wine is being made at the Faugères facility. There are only about 12,000 bottles of the 2010, with the potential to grow to 20,000 bottles annually.

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