Friday, April 27, 2007

While waiting for Parker

Yesterday, one of the biggest English wholesalers sent us a message (we received the same message from the biggest Swiss wholesaler in other years) stating: “I am still buying 2005 if you have some available (big brands of course) and for 2006 you can keep them unless they are not really expensive.”

Even if this comment can change when the notes of Parker are released, the market is unfortunately not often sensitive to this type of declaration.

Bordeaux only reacts to offer and demand. If some chateaux reveal their prices and miss their sale, the rest of them will find, I think the right price for their wines, if they have the slightest intension to sell!!

As for famous brands, it is another problem: everybody knows that if a negociant doesn’t buy one year, it will lose its allocation for at least 10 years!

So, as usual, it is a balance of power, nothing romantic, this is the way it is. But a few chateaux were able to keep, for a long time, their cool and sell at a good price. The proof is that stocks in Bordeaux are at their lowest. Fear doesn’t prevent danger but will only know in a couple of weeks how this campaign will go.

As for me, I currently have no idea of the price I should ask for any of the wines I take care of (except maybe for La Dominique), I only hope not to make the bad choice for the breakpoint price.

In the meantime, the notes of the Grand Jury Europeen are posted on Parker’s internet site!

This morning, I am leaving for the Salon Revue du Vin de France.


Thursday, April 26

Additional notes from Jean Marc Quarin regarding the wines I take care of:

CLOS BADON St-Emilion Grand Cru 15
Beautiful deep red, good intensity. Aromatic nose, fruity, finely toasted. Warm and soft notes of Merlot. Delicious palate extremely aromatic. The wine develops softly, with a caressing touch and a finely velvety body. Good intensity with tannins melted in the fruit. Juicy finish picked up by reminiscing aromas. Delicious wine.

DOMAINE FAYAT THUNEVIN Lalande de Pomerol 14,75
New cru from Lalande de Pomerol. As its name indicates, it is owned by Mrs Fayat and Thunevin.
Very nice color purple, intense. Fresh nose, ripe fruit and quite fine. Delicious mouth, round, developing on a good structure and flavors of fruit liquor. Very seductive. Its tannins are very well integrated. Pleasure and charming wine. Normal length.

HAUT MAZERIS Canon-Fronsac 15,25
Dark red, good intensity. Fruity nose, fresh, ripe, fine. The palate starts velvety and rapidly becomes ample and fleshy in the middle. Creamy touch, it develops aromatics, with tannins particularly coating and ends on a nice length. It is very good.

HAUT MAZERIS Fronsac 15,25
The color is the same red, dark, good intensity, beautiful, sparkling. The nose is finer, fruity, purer and especially fresher. Very elegant notes of orange zest. Very well built palate and finely fleshy from start to finish. Good built and the wine evolves slowly, delicious and constantly fleshy. It is the success story of this vintage.

This property is located on the left of the Nationale 89. It was previously called Ratouin and before that, Angélus in Pomerol. Its area covers 2.5 ha (6.5 a) with 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Francs. Ratouin had a good reputation within the local community. Since August, it is the property of Jean-Luc Thunevin . He still hasn’t found the final name: Enclos du Beau-Père or Clos du Beau-Père?
I have been charmed twice by the suave taste and full structure of this wine. The second part of the mouth is quite rich, melting and aromatic. Good length with fleshy tannins. Next year, with the work put in the vineyard, these could be even more subtle. This wine has potential. To be continued.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


After Sociando Mallet and Beaulieu, LA FLEUR MORANGE and MONT PERAT red and white were released. I admire the work done by Thibaut Despagne: the proof being that I bought them without any pre-sales.
In the same series of good news, and regarding Château de Carles, we already made exclusive deals for 3 countries: USA, France and Spain. We are in negociations for Belgium and the UK as well as some of our colleagues for Corea and Japan.
Below, 2 pictures we will use for advertising of Ets Thunevin and Vignobles Fayat.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Futures campaign and short visit to Paris

Yesterday, I went to a tasting at Château Gazin of the 2006 vintage of the group of 5: Nice moment spent tasting from this club which is comprised of the châteaux leaders in their appellations.
We started with Pontet Canet which doesn’t’ stop being good (I have so little of this wine to sell that it is free advertising;-)), Smith Haut Lafitte with such live fruit, Canon La Gaffelière always good, Gazin which is one of the successes of Pomerol this year, and Branaire Ducru, good of course. The quality is there…the prices?
Next weekend, I will be participating with Clément Pichon 2004, La Dominique 2003, La Commanderie de Mazeyres 2004 and Valandraud 2004 to the event organized by the Revue du Vin de France in the Palais Brogniard, Place de la Bourse 75002 Paris (from 10 am to 7 pm, Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 April). We will be sharing a stand with the Vignobles Jean Guyon.

I will take this opportunity to visit one of our customers wine store which always features our wines. It is the Maison des Millésimes, 137 boulevard Saint Germain 75006 Paris, with an affiliate store in Bordeaux, 137 rue Esprit des Lois.
I rarely write about wine stores, who are doing a good job with our wines, owners/negociants. Yet, I did developed business relationships for a long time with several of them, but this one, Gilles Vivès found it.

As far as travels are concerned, coming up in next months (Paris, Germany, Shanghai, Canton, Boston, Las Vegas), Xavier, Laurent and Christian are preparing for the month of October a trip to Canada, New York, Los Angeles and Tahiti (yes yes, we have there an important client!)

As for the futures campaign, I don’t have much ideas on how to move forward… It is urgent to wait!
In the meantime, today, a group of Americans will be coming to my house for lunch.

Monday, April 23, 2007


Our friend Andrea Franchetti is featured on Robert Parker site by Antonio Galloni who rates the wines by our favorite Tuscan. Tenuta di Trinoro is located in the valley of Orcia and is simply heaven on earth, in addition, the wines are good.
Andrea will be the next winemaker responsible for the 2007 cuvee of Chateau d’Arsac, after Michel Rolland and Denis Dubourdieu.

This weekend, we went to Maury to see Marie and Jean-Roger Calvet. Murielle voted for the presidential elections in Maury and I in Saint Emilion. We were able to see the land we are going to buy and the ones we already did in the district of Lesquerde to complete our palette of terroirs: the granit arenas are promising for our Syrah, Grenache and Carignan.
Today, our project in Maury is close to 60 hectares (148 acres), which in terms of number of bottles is equivalent to 20 (29.5 acres) in Bordeaux!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Garage wines

On the sites of Decanter or Mark Squires, I came across comments where garages wines are described as too concentrated, too dark, and especially comments from an English person (who I think never visited my vineyards) who wrote that Valandraud 1995 is quite tired.

While I believe that everyone has the right to have a different opinion, lies, incompetence is always something that I find unpleasant.

Compared to the quality of comments made by other amateurs and critics who are well known, therefore reliable, I can even ad that today from Parker to Jancis, Bettane, Burtschy, Tanzer, Tanaka, Dupont, Quarin, Gabriel and 90 % of all critics with each such different tastes, no one, including professionals from
Bordeaux, no one talks such nonsense about my wine.

One needs to exists, especially, in front of Parker or Jancis.

What could be most upsetting would be to take his wishes for realities. Garage wines exist and will exist in one form or another, and certainly merchants who only sell well known high-end brands with no need to make an effort. In that case you need to look somewhere else. Garage wines are not always easy to sell, but this is for another discussion which has nothing to do with quality, and all the blabla of “jealous individuals“ as François Mauss would call them.
I would like to point out that the subject of garage wines is becoming Panos Kakaviatos specialty, when I thought it was Jeffrey Davis…

Other than that, I tasted, with the sales staff of a big Bordeaux wholesaler, all the vintages of Commanderie de Mazeyres followed with a tasting, at our house, of a little historical tour our garage wines, including Croix de Labrie 2001, Valandraud 2001, Rol Valentin 1998 and a fabulous bottle of Pingus 1998 who didn’t leave any of these professionals indifferent.

At noon, I had a great lunch with a lot of Bordeaux negociants and brokers at Bernard Magrez Fombrauge. When I say that life is difficult!

Notes are still coming out… please find below a compilation of the ones published on my wines and properties I am responsible for.

JLT 2006 Bordeaux Blanc 17 Drink 2008-11
Made by Murielle Thunevin with a Greek oenologist apparently.
Quite exotic with strong grapefruit flavours. Fine and mineral – very good! Finer and more subtle than the Monbousquet Blanc tasted immediately before it that seemed a bit New World. More mineral nose than most wines in 2006. Long and fresh on the mid palate but not angular.

Clos Badon 2006 Saint-Émilion Grand Cru 17 Drink 2012-18
Bright crimson with a pale rim. Bloody and rich and sumptuous but with very good freshness. Real lift and briskness. Slightly dry end with some ink though more energy than most. Lots of sweetness – with sandy tannins.

Ch La Dominique 2006 Saint-Émilion Grand Cru 15.5 Drink 2012-17
Very dark brownish purple. Lifted nose – very appetising. Sweet, very slightly inky palate. Inky finish. Rather dried fruit in the middle – a lack of fruity flesh. Hole in the middle.

Ch Valandraud 2006 Saint-Émilion Grand Cru 17 Drink 20
Bright crimson. Thick and fresh and a bit angular and not really married – hollow and awkward. Needs a bit of weight and fruit expression in the middle. No kosher cuvée was made this year ‘because I still have four years’ stock to sell’, said Jean-Luc Thunevin. Kosher-keepers, haste ye.

Virginie de Valandraud 2006 Saint-Émilion 16.5 Drink 2012-18
Dark crimson, round and sumptuous – difficult to believe this is a second wine. Very rich and round but with a tarry, rather Pavie note on the finish. Drying tannins. Very very good up to the finish. If you have guests who have no attention span – give them this – they won’t notice its delayed imperfections.

Ch La Commanderie de Mazeyres 2006 Pomerol 17 Drink 2012-20
Black hearted with purple crimson rim. Very dark black fruit, intense but not yet fragrant. Dense, full and well balanced. Fine firm tannins. Tightly reined in at the moment. Wonderfully fresh right through to the end with plenty of ripe fruit on the mid palate. (JH)

Ch Closerie Mazeyres 2006 Pomerol 15 Drink 2012-18
Strange soapy nose. Thick and sweet and not very refreshing. Dry tannins on the finish. Hard work!


LA DOMINIQUE St-Emilion Grand Cru 15,5 - 15,75
This wine seems to me better balanced than in the past. Jean-Luc Thunevin is personally involved to improve its quality and style..
In 2006, its overall softness, smoothness, ripness brings it closer to a Pomerol than a Saint Emilion. Very, very pleasant to swallow, it ends on distinguished tannins and flavors.

VALANDRAUD St-Emilion Grand Cru 16,75
75% merlot, 15 % cabernet franc plus 10 % malbec and cabernet sauvignon. 10000 bottles instead of 15000
A beautiful deep red color, with dark reflection, a bit sharp on the edge. Fine nose, intense, fruity. With notes of cream and cocoa. The initial contact in the mouth is beautiful, refined, fleshy and grows deliciously, very fruity and with a caressing and melting feeling in the mouth. Velvety and dynamic, it fills the middle mouth. With refined and soft tannins. Beautiful work filled with nuances. A success.

VIRGINIE de Valandraud St-Emilion Grand Cru Second vin 15,5
Beautiful red, sharp. Nice intensity. Fuity nose, ripe. Fine touches of truffles. Delicate palate, full with sap, aromatic, growing into a fine touch. With a normal corpulence and strong seduction.

FRANC MAILLET Cuvée Jean-Baptiste Pomerol 15
Gorgeous dark red, purple, beautiful. Aromatic nose, fruity. A touch orange zest over prune liquor. The palate is a little soft as I was waiting a for more aromatic sparkle. The tannic structure is irreproachable and the body finely smooth. Normal length and very light wood as it is customary at this age.

Very nice red, purple, good intensity. Fruity nose, ripe, fresh. A touch of cherry. Caressing palate, which develops lengthy on a normal corpulence and velvety and aromatic tannins. Normal length. Good wine.

Finally, I should say. For many years this wine has bothered me for its excessive oakiness and lack of precision. Today, it is reborn under the helm of Jean-Luc Thunevin called in for help by the owner, Clément Fayat.
Very nice red, dark, intense. Fruity nose, pure. Nice palate, tasty, fleshy, developing into a normal consistency and fat and velvety tannins. Finish with perfectly balanced tannins. Pure pleasure.


Château Valandraud 2006
A different style to Valandraud this year. Minerally, upright, long and linear. Less density and concentration but still a good volume of pure, ripe fruit. Tannins firm and long. One for the cellar. 2016-25.

Château Fleur Cardinale 2006
Warm, ripe, modern style. Dark hue. Spicy, jammy fruit. Plenty of flesh. Powerful tannic frame. 2013-20.

Château La Dominique 2006
Here's a change of style. Riper, fuller with smooth, velvety texture and tannins. Just misses that extra vigour and length on the finish. 2013-2025

Domaine Fayat-Thunevin 2006
Formerly Vieux Château Bourgneuf now a joint venture between Clément Fayat and Jean-Luc Thunevin. Very ripe raspberry compote aroma and flavour. Warm, rich and perhaps a little heavy. Tight tannic frame. 2011-18.

Château La Commanderie de Mazeyres 2006
A distinct change of style here. Dark hue. Ripe to overripe with rich, jammy, mouth filling fruit and smooth texture. Broad and fleshy. 2011-2018

Domaine des Sabines 2006
First vintage of this new Thunevin venture. Ripe, rich and modern in style. Exotic notes. Layered fruit with a light tannic frame. 2010-14.

Haut Carles 2006
Lovely, intense fruit concentration. Tannins smooth and elegant. Ripe flavours but long clean finish. Modern but measured in style. 2010-18.

Château Haut-Mazeris 2006
Fine, clean, linear in style. Less intensity than 2005 but attractive fruit. Digest. 2010-16.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


I was barely gone Sunday that I am already back in Saint Emilion this Thursday morning.

This tasting of 39 samples of 2006 Bordeaux was presented by one of the biggest Japanese importers, Tokuoka It was very well organized, very professional, as it is customary in Japan. The respect they show for product and people are lessons for us. I really enjoy working in this country. It is the first time such an important event was organized and most Japanese attending had never tasted such young wines, except, well known journalists like the ones from Vinothèque, Wine Art or Yomiuri Shimbun. The rooms were full of sommeliers, restaurateurs, wine store owners listening attentively to our comments; a group of négociants: CVBG, Ginestet and myself with my triple hat of producer, négociant and consultant.

In 2 days, we spoke to more than 300 people who tasted the wines in very good conditions.

I had the pleasure to see a few of my “fans” like James Devereux and his Japanese colleague from the Conrad Hotel, who serves with pleasure Château La Dominique 1995, the manager of Xex in Tokyo where Présidial 2005 is served by the glass. I had again a quality meal served with Blancs de Valandraud N°1 and N° 2 2003, Virginie 2002 and a meal in Wasabi in Osaka where Mrs Tarako introduced us to her talent of chef in this little restaurant 3 m wide and 8 m long! Such a small place with such a grand cuisine, and such wines like Pavie 1999!

A press conference was organized with 18 journalists and members of the media who asked pertinent questions regarding the Saint Emilion classification whose credibility took a major punch. And these few humoristic questions about the way my colleagues and I have mastered the art of defining the quality of the last vintages… Luckily, the wines presented were of good quality.
During that time, in Bordeaux, the prices for Châteaux Beaumont and Sociando Mallet 2006 were released. I have nothing to do with Beaumont as the entire production is bought by 8 negociants (500 000 bottles?!) and as for Sociando Mallet the allocations are so small and already pre-sold. This is the way it goes in Bordeaux: None of the wholesalers have enough good brands to buy, which are always, regardless of the vintage, wines which have no difficulties to sell.

Today, my agenda is full of meetings with brokers and my colleagues regarding the distribution of Clément Pichon, Haut Carles and La Commanderie de Mazeyres.

And a few notes published for Valandraud 2006

Château Valandraud 2006
A different style to Valandraud this year. Minerally, upright, long and linear. Less density and concentration but still a good volume of pure, ripe fruit. Tannins firm and long. One for the cellar. 2016-25.

Ch Valandraud 2006 Saint-Émilion Grand Cru 17 Drink 20
Bright crimson. Thick and fresh and a bit angular and not really married – hollow and awkward. Needs a bit of weight and fruit expression in the middle. No kosher cuvée was made this year ‘because I still have four years’ stock to sell’, said Jean-Luc Thunevin. Kosher-keepers, haste ye.

VALANDRAUD St-Emilion Grand Cru 16,75

75% merlot, 15 % cabernet franc plus 10 % malbec and cabernet sauvignon. Selection: 10000 bottles instead of 15000
A beautiful deep red color, with dark reflection, a bit sharp on the edge. Fine nose, intense, fruity. With notes of cream and cocoa. The initial contact in the mouth is beautiful, refined, fleshy and grows deliciously, very fruity and with a caressing and melting feeling in the mouth. Velvety and dynamic, it fills the middle mouth. With refined and soft tannins. Beautiful work filled with nuances. A success.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

New label for Haut-Carles

We just finalized a new label for Haut-Carles:
Regarding my trip to Japan, here is a picture which gives you an idea of the atmosphere during the 2006 tasting in Osaka:

Monday, April 16, 2007

Friday the 13

I was born on Friday, April 13 1951 in Mascara, in Algeria (then a French colony). I haven’t gone back since the independence. I am waiting for a peaceful time to go back to this country where only a few memories remain. In any case, this Friday, I didn’t have much time to reminisce as I had a full day of work and in the evening a reception organized by one of my négociant colleague from Bordeaux for 2 representatives of this beautiful store in New York Sherry Lehman. I was honored to be invited along with 3 representatives of Bordeaux classified growths.

I was able to taste once more the Petit Cheval and especially Cheval Blanc 2006, which I find particularly well made this year.

Not being a master in the divine art of words, I still remember this comment from Michel Rolland, on my wine, tasted young, en primeur (1992); I quote (by memory): “why do you want what tastes good today should be bad tomorrow and how can you believe that a wine that you find bad today will be good tomorrow? These arguments come from another era.” The conversation certainly lead to this point of view: this was regarding my 1992 vintage, which, I would like to recall, was a mediocre vintage where Valandraud stood out.

All of that to say that, in my humble opinion, Cheval Blanc 2006, which I find so good today, has no reason not to please me in 10 to 20 years. The strength of this cru is its softness, this silkiness rarely found in other wines. This type of terroir (as for La Dominique, which I now manage) doesn’t make rustic wines, it is here almost impossible!

I must say that the advantage of Saint Emilion and Bordeaux is to offer a wide palette of wines which, as opposed to idiots and imbeciles who are still claiming otherwise and despite “oenologists and globalization”, offer so many different wines, and where everyone can find something. And it is not because I like Cheval Blanc that I cannot like La Conseillante, Pavie or even a “petit” Cheval.

In any case, it seems that since 2004, Cheval Blanc, while preserving its elegance, gained in depth, and it is not me (amateur of great powerful and elegant wines) who will regret the instant pleasure of tasting young wines. The 2006 reminds me the pleasure I had in 1991 to regularly go and taste the 1990 Cheval Blanc which was a pure delight in the barrels… and which is still (I think I drank more than a barrel).

Sunday morning, I leave for Osaka and Tokyo, back Thursday morning.

Friday, April 13, 2007


Preparation for our first Vinexpo (from 17 to 21 June 2007): we will share a stand with my friend Jean Guyon who will present Rollan de By, Haut Condissas, Tour Seran, Laussac, La Clare, etc…

On ours ide, we will present Valandraud and our Bordeaux, Calvet-Thunevin and our wines from the Roussillon, La Dominique, Clément Pichon, Commanderie de Mazeyres and Prieurs de la Commanderie, without forgetting the wines I consult for: Fleur Cardinale, Haut Carles, Marojallia….

the "good adress" will be Hall 3 stand R 358.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Yesterday, we had the visit and tasting with one of the most well known American wine store, Calvert Woodley, based in Washington DC. They shared this visit with their customers through their newsletter:

The afternoon took us to the incredible town of St. Emilion and Jean-Luc Thunevin of Chateau Valandraud. He and his wife Murielle graciously hosted us for lunch as we drank older vintages of Valandraud and Virginie de Valandraud. Fantastic! The 2006 wasn't too shabby either, definitely one of the best wines we've tried all week. Here we are at their home, with some of their 10 year old chickens! We were happy to get a personal tour of Valandraud's vineyards from the "Bad Boy of Bordeaux" himself. Always a forward-thinker, it was a lot of fun to spend time with Jean-Luc. A few macaroons later (they're worth the plane ride over) and it was back to Bordeaux...

I repeat, Americans were very present this year, however, they will buy carefully, the Euro/Dollar exchange rate is not in their favor and puts them in this position.

Tasting with all our wines and still a great interest in the cuvée “Bad Boy”, nickname given to me buy Robert Parker. Here is the label:

The first vintage will be 2005, 100% Merlot, 100% Bordeaux, but I hope that it will evolve into a Roussillon-Bordeaux blend, once the “Vin de Pays de France” appellation will be granted. This will allow me to blend Grenache, Syrah, Carignan from Maury with my Merlot, Cabernet and Malbec from Saint Emilion.
We would have already sold everything if I had given a price, but I still haven’t yet decided. Again success… Hope that it lasts! I just received commitments from Bordeaux brokers to purchase 1000 cases of La Dominique 2006 for new customers.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Back to normal work

Yesterday Tuesday, I bought 50 cases of Château La Dominique 2004 from the open market to resell to our horeca customers.

I decided to make a co-exclusive distribution deal with a colleague wholesaler in Bordeaux with the small production of Château Commanderie de Mazeyres and take Virginie de Valandraud out of the open market, to setup exclusive distribution deals starting with the 2006 vintage.

We sent to our customers offers on our stock and comments from the press regarding the Saint Emilion classification.

I added a link to Stéphane Toutoundji’s blog (in French), an oenologue who doesn’t seem to waffle.

Without forgetting the daily notes of Quarin: Today, the first.

Notes of Peter Mosers and Falstaff

Notes I found on Mario Scheuermann’s blog:

Peter Mosers TOP 35

94 – 96 Punkte

Château Lafleur (Pomerol)

93 – 95 Punkte
Château Cheval blanc (Saint Emilion)
Château Haut-Brion (Pessac-Léognan)
Château Mouton-Rothschild (Pauillac)
Château Pétrus (Pomerol)

92 – 94 Punkte
Château Calon Ségur (Saint Estèphe)
Château La Fleur Pétrus (Pomerol)
Château La Mission Haut-Brion (Pessac-Léognan)
Château Latour (Pauillac)
Château Léoville Lascases (Saint Julien)
Les Astéries (Saint Emilion)
Château Margaux (Margaux)
Péby Cuvée Speciale de Château Faugères (Saint Emilion)

91 – 93 Punkte
Château Angélus (Saint Emilion)
Clos du Marquis (Saint Julien)
Château Clos Fourtet (Saint Emilion)
Château Cos d´Estournel (Saint Estèphe)
Château Ducru Beaucaillou (Saint Julien)
Château Figeac (Saint Emilion)
Château Grand Puy Lacoste (Pauillac)
Château Larcis-Ducasse (Saint Emilion)
Château Lafite (Pauillac)
La Mondotte (Saint Emilion)
Château Latour à Pomerol (Pomerol)
Château La Violette (Pomerol)
Le Carré (Saint Emilion)
Le Dôme (Saint Emilion)
Château Léoville Barton (Saint Julien)
Château Lynch Bages (Pauillac)
Château Magdelaine (Saint Emilion)
Château Pape Clément (Pessac-Léognan)
Château Pavie Macquin (Saint Emilion)
Château Troplong Mondot (Saint Emilion)
Château Trotanoy (Pomerol)
Valandraud (Saint Emilion)

Equally, the notes of Falstaff:

Château Valandraud 2006 (91-93)
Beurteilung: Dunkles Rubingranat, violette Reflexe, zarte Randaufhellung, in der Nase reife rotbeerige Frucht, frische Weichseln, Zitruszesten, feine Edelholzwürze. Am Gaumen lebendig, perfekte seidige Tannine, wirkt sehr leichtfüssig, finessenreicher Stil mit feinem Schokofinish.

Clos Badon Thunevin 2006 (88-90)
Beurteilung: Dunkles Rubingranat, violette Reflexe, zarte Randaufhellung, in der Nase feine rotbeerige Frucht, zarte Gewürznote. Am Gaumen ausgewogen, elegant. Feine Tannine, bereits zugänglich, sicher bald antrinkbar, zarte Karamellnote im Finish.

Virginie de Valandraud 2006 (88-90)
Beurteilung: Dunkles Rubingranat, violette Reflexe, zarte Randaufhellung, in der Nase dunkle Beerenfrucht, zart nach Schokolade, feines Karamell. Am Gaumen saftige Kirschenfrucht, feine Tannine, mineralischer Nachhall, mittlere Länge.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Results from the UGC

Good attendance for what could be the last time Rue Vergnaud, for we should also give more visibility to Château La Dominique and Marojallia in 2008. Being in the center of Saint Emilion was quite practical for us and the warm and friendly atmosphere was, I think, appreciated. But I am not sure that many of our guests can imagine that such environment, at least this year, demands a great deal of investments in personnel (more than 12 from Ets Thunevin) and materials (room, glasses, spittoons, ...) and that the invitations, receptions, meals, cleaning, and everything else was covered by my company as the châteaux present were invited and only 30% are sold by us in a meaningful way (and still…)

Other than that, the returns in turn of image are, of course, important and this year will be, it seems, a good year: the customers who made the trip were professionals used to the craziness or apathy of Bordeaux whici allowed us to deal with markets, as it is one of the directions I chose for my company and the product I create. What I mean by that is giving exclusivities country by country, either directly, or with the help of one of my colleagues wholesalers in Bordeaux.

And already, I am preparing my next trips:

15 to 19 April: Osaka and Tokyo for the 2006 futures tasting with the following wines:
Haut Mazeris, Bellevue de Tayac, Commanderie de Mazeyres, Franc Maillet Jean Baptiste, Bel Air Ouÿ, Fleur Cardinale, La Dominique, Valandraud, Virginie de Valandraud, Clos Badon-Thunevin, plus a selection from 2 big Bordeaux wholesalers.

28 to 29 April : Grand Tasting organized in the Palais Brogniart by the Revue du Vin de France

3 to 5 May: Hamburg for a tasting of 10 vintages of Valandraud for German journalists.

8 to 13 May: SIAL in Shanghai

15 May: Around Tours, chez Marrionnet

16 to 20 May: Boston and Las Vegas


Monday, April 9, 2007

Springtime has arrived

Friday, April 6

Beautiful weather, blooming trees and a multitude of birds living in the village. Springtime is here.

This weeks tasting is ending today with the visit of many journalists and wine critics.

I had the pleasure to hear from a wine critic that: “I regret for having waiting 15 years to discover that Vlandraud is not the concentration monster I thought it is was”. His noticible emotion led me to invite him to taste older vintages of Valandraud than 2006; his friends and himself drank with pleasure. Nice moment to share during the stress of these tastings.

And in the latest issue of “Cuisine et Vins de France”, a nice comment on Présidial: “Présidial carries the notes of Merlot, the dominant varietal from the Libournais, with a fine fabric and freshness. The palate has aromas of undergrowth, spices, cacao and dark fruits. A fleshy wine made for roasted veal kidneys.” And the best note of the wines listed: 16/20.

Sunday, April 8, 2007


Thursday, April 5

Since Monday, we could already draw up a positive assessment from this campaign. The number of visits to Rue Vergnaud were quite good, with a good number of Americans and a friendly atmosphere which gave exhibitors a good feeling.

As for my wines Bad Boy, La Dominique and Haut Carles did already received offers, which is rare at this stage of the campaign, not even begun.

Yesterday, April 4, in the Sud Ouest, the very popular local newspaper, an article was published on Mr. Clément Fayat receiving the medal of Commandeur de l’Ordre National du Mérite by Yvon Gattaz. The event was attended by illustrious guests and were also invited.

Equally, a very nice article about our off premise primeur event with a picture of Jean-Roger Calvet and Jacques Montagné who became famous in the Gironde as the representatives of the wines from the Roussillon and the vins de Pays des Côtes Catalanes.

The notes of Jean Marc Quarin are coming in little by little, a work of titan, and the ones from the Wine Spectator are already in the internet.

This morning, white frost, which was no problem for the vineyards, I hope… we all went to see the anti-frost towers in action.

Yesterday, dinner with caviar and Japanese Shochu, and we drank during the day Gracia 2004 and Clinet 1996 in magnum, as well as Tante Berthe 2001 (Burgundy), Petit Labrie, Blanc de Valandraud N° 1 2004 , Valandraud 1999 and 1996 in magnum, Arche Lafaurie 1999 and Yquem 1987.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

1st day of the UGC

Tuesday, April 03 2007

Monday, we had around 200 visitors. With 50 visitors for lunch around terrines, tapas and especially salmon with caviar to taste and enjoy the Shochu, served cold directly from the freezer, like vodka; delicious!

Americans, Japanese, English, and a lot of Spaniards of course (the Pingus and Vega Sicilia effect), French (wholesalers and brokers) plus journalists.

For dinner, we received our Japanese partner, a group of 12 guests, with the objective to convince them to get more involved in the promotion of our Roussillon wines. This is a garanteed success: the wines from this region are perfectly adapted to the Japanese palate, without forgeting that their love for chocolate will go well with our Maury. This is the perfect drink for a high-end gastronomic experience.

The caviar, served with a big spoon to accompany the Shochu was a "must" for the evening.

UGC and us

Lundi 02 Avril 2007

A few information....
Here is the list of wines presented at Valandraud this week (from April 2 to 6, from 9 am to 6 pm) with most of the owners presenting their wines personally. You are, of course all invited! Monday, we expected around 200 visitors: brokers, négociants, owners, importers, supermarket buyers, journalists, wine critics, etc.

Jean-Luc Thunevin's properties
2006 Câteau Valandraud-Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2006 Virginie de Valandraud-Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2006 de Valandraud - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2006 Clos Badon-Thunevin - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2006 Chateau Bel Air Ouÿ -Saint Emilion Grand Cru

2006 Château Prieuré Lescours - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2006 Blanc de Valandraud N°1 - Bordeaux blanc
2006 Blanc de Valandraud N°2 - Bordeaux blanc
2006 Château Bellevue de Tayac- Margaux
2006 L’Enclos du Beau Père - Pomerol
2006 Domaine des Sabines - Lalande de Pomerol

Co-ownerships with Jean Roger Calvet, Marie Raynaud, Murielle Andraud and Marylène Vauthier :
2006 Domaine Calvet-Thunevin « Les Dentelles » - Côtes du Roussillon Villages
2006 Domaine Calvet-Thunevin « Hugo »- Côtes du Roussillon Villages
2006 Domaine Calvet-Thunevin « Les Trois Marie » -Côtes du Roussillon Villages
2006 Domaine Calvet-Thunevin - Maury

Co-ownership with Clément Fayat:
2006 Domaine Fayat-Thunevin - Pomerol
2006 Domaine Fayat-Thunevin - Lalande de Pomerol

Wines selected and distributed exclusively by Ets. Thunevin
2006 Calvet-Thunevin et Cie « Constance » -Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes
2006 Château Franc Maillet- Cuvée Jean Baptiste - Pomerol
2006 Presidial Thunevin - Bordeaux
2006 Clos del Rey et Mas del Rey- Côtes du Roussillon
2006 Baby del Rey - Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes
2006 Château Compassant (en fermage) - Bordeaux
2006 Château Lafont Fourcat - Bordeaux rouge et blanc

Jean-Luc Thunevin consultant or manager
2006 Château Haut Mazeris - Canon Fronsac et Fronsac
2006 Château de Carles - Fronsac
2006 Haut-Carles - Fronsac
2006 Château Fleur Cardinale - Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé
2006 Château La Dominique - Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé
2006 Château Clément Pichon - Haut Médoc Cru Bourgeois
2006 Château Prieurs de La Commanderie - Pomerol
2006 Château La Commanderie de Mazeyres - Pomerol
2006 Marojallia - Margaux
2006 Clos Margalaine - Margaux

And the wines from our friends
2006 Château Croix de Labrie - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2006 Château du Parc - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2006 Château Busqueyron - Bordeaux rouge et blanc
2006 Château Veyry - Côtes de Castillon
2006 Clos Puy Arnaud (Valette) - Côtes de Castillon
2006 Vieux Château Gachet - Lalande de Pomerol
2006 Château La Sergue - Lalande de Pomerol
2006 Château Franc Maillet - Pomerol
2006 Château Le Gay - Pomerol
2006 Château La Croix Figeac - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2006 Château les Gravières - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2006 Lynsolence - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2006 Château Côte de Baleau - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2006 Clos de Sarpe - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2006 Charles de Sarpe - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2006 Gracia -Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2006 Les Angelots de Gracia - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2006 Château Villhardy - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2006 Château les Grandes Murailles - Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé
2006 Clos Saint Martin - Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé
2006 La Mauriane - Puisseguin Saint Emilion
2006 Château Gachon - Montagne Saint Emilion
2006 Château de la Cour d’Argent - Bordeaux rouge
2006 Château Quinault - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2006 Château Serilhan - Saint Estèphe
2006 Château Moutinot - Saint Estèphe
2006 Château Rollan de By - Médoc
2006 Château Haut Condissas - Médoc
2006 Château La Clare - Médoc
2006 Arche Lafaurie - Sauternes
2006 Château D’Arche - Sauternes
2006 Château Pape Clément - Graves
2006 Château Fombrauge - St Emilion Grand Cru
2006 Château Tour Carnet - Haut Médoc Grand Cru Classé
2006 Château Les Grands Chênes - Médoc Cru Bourgeois Supérieur
2006 Magrez Fombrauge - St Emilion Grand Cru
2006 Château Machorre - Bordeaux
2006 Villa Machorre - Bordeaux
2006 Château de Laussac - Côtes de Castillon
2006 Château Beau Soleil - Pomerol
2006 Château Sénéjac - Haut Médoc
2006 Château Clos Chaumont -1ères Côtes de Bordeaux
2006 Château Petit Gravet Ainé - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2006 Clos Saint Julien - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2006 Le Plus de La Fleur de Boüard - Lalande de Pomerol
2006 Château Branda - Puisseguin Saint Emilion
2006 Château Pas de l’Ane - Saint Emilion
2006 Château La Couspaude - Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé
2006 Château Messile-Aubert - Montagne Saint Emilion
2006 Château Jean de Gué - Lalande de Pomerol
2006 Château Rouget - Pomerol

2006 Le Grand A d’Arguti -Vin de Pays de Côtes Catalanes
2006 Domaine Chiroulet Grande Réserve - VDP de Gascogne
2006 Château Montus Alain Brumont - Madiran
2006 Château Bouscassé Alain Brumont - Madiran
2006 Domaine de la Serre - Côtes du Roussillon
2006 Domaine Terre Rousse - Côtes du Roussillon Villages
2006 Domaine L’Eternel - Côtes du Roussillon Villages
2006 Coume del Mas Schistes - Collioure
2006 Quadratur de la Coume del Mas - Collioure
2006 Quintessence de la Coume del Mas - Banyuls
2006 La Sélection de Brigitte Chevalier - Languedoc
2006 Clos des fées Vieilles Vignes - Côtes du Roussillon
2006 Clos des fées Les Sorcières - Côtes du Roussillon
2006 La petite Sibérie - Côtes du Roussillon

2006 Pingus - Espagne Ribera del Duero
2006 Tenuta di Trinoro - Italie
2006 Domaine Schlossgutdiel - Allemagne

Monday, April 2 in the morning: Vega Sicilia:

Valbuena 5°

Other than that, for the fun, James Suckling posted on his blog the following story (via the Wine Spectator's site), 2 podcasts and an excellent April's fools day joke regarding us:

James Suckling Uncorked
No Words Are Just For This Wine!

Posted: 04:38 AM ET, April 01, 2007

It’s been a long week tasting in Bordeaux. The tannins of the 2006s are very strong. Most are slightly austere due to the tannins being slightly unripe or over extracted but the best wines of the vintage have managed to maintain ripeness in their tannins giving them a silky texture and light sweetness of fruit on the end. I tasted the 2006 Haut-Bailly yesterday and it is a case in point. This chateau did very well in 2006.

One other wonderful wine I tasted yesterday was the unbelievable super cuvee of Jean-Luc Thunevin, the owner of Valandraud and the garagiste maximo. His new wine is called Le Jardin de Ma Piscine. It is a micro-cuvee of pure Cabernet Franc. And it blows away anything I have ever tasted....

The wine comes from four-year old vines that he has planed in his swimming pool in St. Emilion. He took soil from nearby Cheval Blanc and filled his pool. Apparently, Pierre Lurton of Cheval did not know this. Thunevin and his wife would go out after mid-night each night for about four months and fill the trunk of their Mercedes and transported the precious soil to their home. They have in my opinion replicated, even improved, the great terroir of Cheval.

Moreover, they have a completely controlled microclimate. I saw the vineyard, which is planted at a density of 20,000 vines. The yield is about one or two bunches per vine! It is definitely a jardin deluxe! It has heating as well as air conditioning and there is a clear awning to protect the vineyard during rainstorms. For example, last year’s rains during the harvest had no effect because the awing protected the young vines from the moisture and attracted what little sunlight there was as well.

The ultra-ripe grapes were then harvested by hand – and only the hands of Thunevin himself. He then sorted them in his famous laundry room, where he now conducts tastings for visitors during futures tastings in Bordeaux. And the whole berries were fermented in what look like giant martini shakers. “We hand shake, instead of pump over,” said Thunevin. “This gives us much softer extractions than normal macerations. And I want my wine completely hand made.”

The wine completed its malo in new French oak from Hermes, of course. And they have already been racked into another set of new oak barrels to assure the highest amount of fine wood contact in the world. How is the wine? It blew me away. It showed mind-boggling aromas of blackberries, raspberries, chocolate (Valrohna, of course!), caviar, Dom Perignon, Chanel, Ferrari…anything ultra-expensive and chic. I was so in love with it that I didn’t know whether to drink it or drive it….

Anyway, it is mostly likely 100 points. And Thunevin could tell I loved his new micro cuvee, Le Jardin de Ma Piscine. THIS MEANS YOU PROBABLY WON'T BE ABLE TO AFFORD IT. BUT I BELIEVE IN THE TOOTH FAIRY SO IT MIGHT BE REASONABLY PRICED. I asked Thunevin if is he was worried about the pricing of his wine because everyone else in Bordeaux was going to have to cut theirs big time to sell 2006 this year. I have heard that Berry Brothers of London are asking for a reduction of 70 percent, because their margins were too low last year on the 2005s! But I think that the Bordelais should simply give their wines away this year. They made enough last year…what the hell!

Thunevin answered with a big smile, “I have not decided on the price. But it will be hard to reduce my price to the 2004 level, or reduce it at all, considering this is the first year I have made this very special wine!”

I could only say to him in response: April Fools!

And on Mark Squires BB, this good note for Valandraud 1998:

1998 Valandraud - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand CruFull soft red color. Forward nose of ripe red fruit with nice green pepper and briar hints. Mmmn, rich round black and red fruit on the palate with sweet notes of chocolate. Delicious and hedonistic. This is clearly a different animal from the rest of the right bankers at this tasting and I can see the concern about style differences (this tastes as California as it does Bordeaux), but I thought it was great - my WOTN. Now whether it is worth the premium, hmmmmn... (95 pts.)