Peter may have made his name in Spain, but he got his start in Bordeaux. In fact, it was a childhood visit to see his uncle, Peter Vinding-Diers, in Graves that set him on his path.

Sisseck’s exposure to Bordeaux’ wines, particularly those of Vinding-Diers, was the signal event that decided his future. Determined to make wine himself, he returned to Bordeaux as a young man, both to work alongside his uncle and study viticulture and winemaking at the University of Bordeaux.

And although Peter ultimately found his own voice working with an indigenous grape in Ribera del Duero, his Bordeaux training has always informed his work. Sisseck’s discovery of a tiny plot of ancient Tinto Fino vines provided the extraordinary raw material for Pingus.

But it was his Bordeaux-inspired methods and fine touch with French, rather than American, oak barrels that transformed this fruit into one of the world’s most coveted wines.

Château Rocheyron

With his hands full not only with Pingus and PSI, Peter wasn’t looking for other winemaking opportunities, particularly as far away as Bordeaux. But when the tiny Saint-Emilion estate of Château Rocheyron became available, its combination of a fantastic terroir and old Merlot and Cabernet Franc vines proved irresistible.

Rocheyron is located on the fabled limestone plateau that is home to such legends as Ausone, Pavie and L’Angélus. The estate is small; only 7.5 hectares are planted, but its terroir is exceptional: just a half-meter of topsoil on a bed of solid limestone.

The average age of the vines is nearly a half-century, but what really got Peter’s attention was a tiny plot of 80-year old Cabernet Franc vines. Sisseck loves Cabernet Franc and with his experience with Pingus’ ancient Tinto Fino, he knew that Rocheyron’s vines were capable of producing extraordinary fruit.

And so Peter acquired it in partnership with his longtime friend, the Swiss perfume magnate Silvio Denz, who also owns Ch. Faugère, Péby Faugères and Lafaurie-Peyraguey.  No expenses have been spared in maximizing the estate’s potential. 

As Peter told Wine Spectator’s James Molesworth, “The nice part is that we already have other businesses going, so with Rocheyron, we can really just do what we want.”

A Bordeaux Ideal

To this end, the estate is being tended “like a First Growth”: the farming is organic, with the intention to make it biodynamic, the way Peter works in Spain, and the selection of lots for the grand vin is ruthless.

Above all, Rocheyron gives Peter the opportunity to fulfill his desire to make a classic style of Bordeaux as he remembers it, a character that he fears is being lost to the anonymity of modern winemaking.

Rocheyron is fermented in cement tanks at moderate temperatures for gentle extraction. And new wood is minimized to about one-third to favor expressiveness without overwhelming the fruit with oak.

From Rocheyron’s first commercial release in 2010, the quality rose steadily, though the wine remained largely under the radar for the first few years. Finally, the overwhelming acclaim for 2018 Rocheyron opened up the flood gates, and today Rocheyon is one of the superstars of St. Emilion.

Of the châteaux perched on Saint Emilion’s limestone plateau, Ausone has of course long been the source of its greatest wines. And so it’s a measure of what has been accomplished in just 13 vintages at Rocheyron that, in May 2024, the UK critic Colin Hay rated Rocheyron (at 97-99) slightly ahead of Ausone in his barrel tastings of the 2023 Bordeaux.

Bravo, Peter!

Wines by this Producer

Description Notes Avail/
Limit
Price
2011 Chateau Rocheyron Saint-Emilion 6 L 1 $995.00 add
2011 Chateau Rocheyron Saint-Emilion 1.5 L 3 $295.00 add
2019 Chateau Rocheyron Saint-Emilion (6-btl OWC, ex-chateau 2022) JA97
NM94
WK94
LPB95+
2 $630.00 add
2019 Chateau Rocheyron Saint-Emilion (ex-chateau 2022) JA97
NM94
WK94
LPB95+
12 $110.00 add
2022 Chateau Rocheyron Saint-Emilion JA98
CH97-99
JS97-98
JL95-97
2* $299.50 add

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Wine barrels in a cellar

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