The Cotes de Francs - "The smallest of the Bordeaux appellations – 450 hectares – resembles a small independent state and occupies the highest slopes of the Gironde, halfway between the valleys of the Isle and the Dordogne, to the east of Saint Emilion.
One name and one family have contributed to the breakthrough of the appellation: the “Thienpont tribe”. This family of negociants, originating in Oudenaarde (Flanders) also owns Vieux Chateau Certan, one of the best-known chateaus in Pomerol.
The patriarch, George Thienpont, bought Chateau Puygueraud, which dominates the whole appellation, in 1946. Upon his arrival he found the vineyards in ruins and set about revitalising them through the planting of cereals and raising of cattle. It was only at the end of the 1970s that he began replanting the vineyards and in 1983, the first wine was produced.
Chateau Puygueraud is produced mainly from Merlot with, however, a proportion of Cabernet that is quite high for the region as well as a touch of Malbec with its peppery character. In 2005, all the Cabernet Sauvignon was pulled up and Cabernet Franc was planted in its place. This variety ripens earlier and is better suited to the terroir of the Cotes de Francs.
"The 2016 Puygueraud is a blend of 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 5% Malbec that was picked from 11-22 October. This was showing a little over-ripeness on the nose that just detracted from the delineation. The palate is chewy on the entry with plenty of black fruit, a little rustic in style with a slight attenuation towards the finish. I feel that the 2015 demonstrated more complexity last year. Let's see. 86-88 Points." (Neal Martin, eRobertparker.com, April 2017)
"Nicolas Thienpont. Rich nose and real active freshness. Lots to like. So compact and well balanced. Maybe not the concentration and tannin for a very long life but excellent in the short term. Very good value. 16.5 Points." (Jancis Robinson, JR Purple Pages, April 2017)