Challenging Conventions in Bordeaux

At 41, Stephen Carrier of Château de Fieuzal may be among the youngest head winemakers at a Bordeaux Cru Classé winery, but that has not stopped him from challenging the conventions of the historic appellation. The son of grape growers from Champagne, Carrier’s first job as an oenologist was at Newton Vineyard on Spring Mountain in the Napa Valley. Napa made an enormous impression on Carrier, who internalized the local habit of always questioning whether it is possible to make a better wine.

He fine-tuned his skills crafting Bordeaux blends at Château Lynch Bages in the Bordeaux commune of Pauillac. A few years later, Carrier took the reigns at Château de Fieuzal in the commune of Pessac-Léognan, where, rather than stick to a prescribed recipe, he makes wines that reflect the character of the vintage. In a warm year, like 2009, he uses mostly cabernet sauvignon. In a cool year, like 2010, he accesses a wider palate, adding cabernet franc, petite verdot and merlot. The wines are vinified in a new 40,000 sq. ft. facility equipped with oak, cement and stainless steel tanks of varying sizes. Carrier calls the new wine making facility his “kitchen” because it offers numerous tools for being responsive to the specific nature of each harvest.

The wines of Château de Fieuzal, both red and white, are value wines and a first-rate gateway to the pleasures of Bordeaux, a region that can be difficult to penetrate given the stratospheric prices of the top five chateau known as First Growths. The Fieuzal Rouge is opulent with firm tannins and aromas of blackberries, lilacs and woodlands. The Fiuezal Blanc is an age-worthy blend of sauvignon blanc and sémillon that exudes citrus and mineral flavors.

Originally puplished by Bottlenotes