Friday, June 29, 2007

Primeurs : end of an era and beginning of a new one ?

What will be left in our memory from this 2006 futures campaign?
Cant doesn’t prevent us from raising a few questions, especially regarding the few chateaux who went to high in their price and once more one of the paradox of this industry, where even great professionals can be blinded and deaf when concerning their wine (including me).

Will there be damage? In any case, it is certain that one of Bordeaux criteria for all sorts of classification – the price – became a double edge sword, as much for chateaux , as for customers.

Chateaux that offer less and less wine, at least in first tranche, what do they do with bottles? Are they sold to other négociants, “more deserving”? Do they hold back to speculate, or are they meant for internal consumption? Please check the right box.

In any case, I am glad that it is all over, even if next year all of this will be forgotten….

Thursday, June 28, 2007

2004 tasting

Yesterday, I participated to a tasting of 2004 right and left bank organized by the Grand Jury Européen at Château Léoville Poyferré. They provided our large group of Grand Jury members with a nice and professional tasting room.

I was surprised by the overall quality of this afternoon’s tasting and particularly with the quality of the so called modern wines in this complex vintage. I loved Magrez Fombauge and Grand Mayne, as well as Marojallia.
During lunch at the Café Lavinal, created by Jean-Michel Cazes in Pauillac, located in the village of Bages, a friend of Jean Guyon ordered, for desert a few bottles of Lynch Bages. The meal was covered by the Medoc club Biturica, which includes dynamic and affordable chateaux.
Today, release of Pingus and Flor de Pingus 2006.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


The office was broken-in despite all the locks… What’s the interest in burglarize an office and take computers, a few samples, the sugar, coffee and a few useful things with little value?
What’s mainly upsetting are the damages: forced door and suspecting that it is most likely the same people who committed the same robbery 2 or 3 years ago.

This morning, release of Ducru, one of the success stories of this vintage.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Primeur Campaign

Release of Troplong Mondot 2006, Chapelle D’Ausone 2006 and Haut Carles 2006, a nice choice of some of the best wines of the right bank, while waiting for the « stars ».

Last night, Murielle, Alain and I were invited for dinner by Corinne and Hubert de Boüard to meet Jeffrey Leve who owns a media (radio?) in Los Angeles and who is a real food and wine enthusiast. For this occasion, we drank: Champaign: Egly-Ouriet 1998, delicious and Sélosse with “ woody-oxidized” flavors which Hubert and Corinne like. Following, Batard Montrachet 1997 from Ramonet, then Angélus 1990, ripe and at its peak (17 years old: what a beautiful age!), Angélus 1955 which we greatly enjoyed, especially Murielle who was glad to see the high quality of this vintage. And Angélus 2001 with aromas of violet, ink, vanilla flavored blackberries, complex and very righ.
We had a very good meal with a nice family atmosphere as Coralie and Loïc also attended.
Today, we are having lunch with a friend winemaker and negociant. What do we have to do to stay thin in this job?

Monday, June 25, 2007


Am I allowed to philosophize when I only graduated from high school?

Luc Ferry speaks of globalization, creating anxiety…
Politicians have almost no more power (except creating war or wanting peace), and even business men always running after growing technology, always going faster and faster, as well as all sorts of improvement.
It is quite different from what was being said about globalization in the wine world, in other words, standardization of taste. It is in fact du to the fear of not being successful or being overtaken.

But fear doesn’t prevent danger and it is our responsibility to create demand for something else than performance, as it is being done by a few winemakers “bobos (middle-class bohemians)” – “organic” – “unconventional”. This was the theme of a successful proposal made to the wine section of Lafayette Gourmet by Bruno Queniou who chose a different route and had a successful campaign, which was quite an accomplishment… As it is for fair trade.

I found in the internet this Uruguayan wine. Take note of the label:

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Vinexpo, it’s over.

Vinexpo 2007 : this is the first time my company participated in the Bordeaux show after attending it last year in Hong Kong. Our stand, located in Hall 3, had the advantage to be far from everything and attracted only professionals who really had to find us and wanting to talk business. We had few “tourists”.
The synergy between our co-exhibitors Rollan de By, Laussac, Château Classic and us (including the Vignobles Fayat) gave good results and we will certainly be back in 2 years.
Lots of contacts, friendly, PR and especially business. We are developing a new network of contacts in countries I had somewhat put aside (Taiwan, Korea, Brazil etc..) Thursday, I had lunch with some of my colleagues in the Saint James restaurant in Bouliac. The meal was of very high quality served with wines I enjoyed as it was not for work, but our own pleasure. The conversation was lively and courteous: Some important professionals still confuse terroir with humid cellars, brett and TCA, they look so much for typicity that defects are often taken for quality.
Friday, another meal with Chinese from Taiwan.

Monday at Vinexpo

The amount of attendance is fantastic !
I never thought that we could get so many useful industry contacts or even have immediate orders, even if it is the objective. Without forgetting that Hall 3 was well air conditioned.
One negative point was traffic: it took 1 to 2 hours to get and leave Vinexpo.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Vinexpo: First Round

Yesterday a tasting took place with classified growths from Saint Emilion 2003 and the 2006 Grand Cru Cup, this year's winner was Château Destieux, in front of Moulin Saint Georges, Clos Dubreuil and La Croisille.
We already made a few good contacts for Canada, China and the USA as well as a few meetings including 2 for PR: one with two pretty girls and another with their father (it was also father's day!).

Our stand: R 358 Hall 3

A few answers

Friday, June 15 2007

I cannot answer every questions and currently my blog is a bit "light", for even though the futures campaign is difficult, it keeps us very busy.
In fact, having few privilege, in other words allocations allowing me to buy sought after wines first hand, I have to seek wines resold, and this "non speculative" vintage, doesn't allow me to properly do my job of "trader".
Up to today, the only wine that allows me to sell a few less "sexy" wines, is Vieux Chateau Certan - too bad: I have no direct allocations.
And Sunday, it is the beginning of Vinexpo: we have a stand with Vignobles Rollan de By, in Hall 3, stand R 358.

Here are a few answers:
François: you are as curious as me, I would have loved to have been intiminated by Catwoman ! And when I think that Christian Dalbavie served Clos Badon to Jodie Foster instead of me….
Patrick : I send you "patrical" work (oops, lapsus ! practical of course - French joke!), and you won't need ice cubes but an iceberg…
Jean Philippe : come to get Saint Emilion to get your answers. Call the office to let us know 05 57 55 09 13.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Lunch in Bordeaux

Yesterday’s lunch seemed quite short, I didn’t even notice the 2 hours spent drinking, eating and especially talking.
Me, so intimidated (which is rare), that I was afraid not to be myself, nor natural. Fortunately, the warm atmosphere relaxed me and allowed me to appreciate an inconceivable meeting. Thank you!
In the meantime, the futures campaign goes on with success for La Conseillante which I confirmed this morning at 8:30!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Valandraud Cuvée Axelle

I wanted to produce an original cuvee to celebrate the birth of my grand daughter Axelle, so I put aside a barrel of each varietals representing my entire vineyards at that time. It consisted of 1 barrel of Merlot, 1 of Cabernet Franc (which compose regularly Valandraud – respectively around 70 and 30% each), plus 1 of Cabernet Sauvignon and 1 of Malbec (which are a small part of Valandraud, 2.5% max).
So, the balance of that cuvee is very different. The wine is perhaps more complex but much less powerful. Sold at that time for 36 Euros, it quickly reached 100 Euros for it was very rare and because I said it was made from my best barrels. People understood that it was better than Valandraud.
In my opinion, Valandraud is more concentrated and is also beginning to drink well. Thanks, anyway for opening one of my bottles… A friend broker told me yesterday that nobody was drinking them… (as if all the 1st growths were being drunk!)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Release of June 11

I released the entire production of Château Clément Pichon 2006 (around 100 000 bottles) as well as La Dominique (80 000 bottles). Almost every critics and particularly professionals, négociants, brokers and big buyers have acknowledged the high quality of this wine. It will most likely be one of the wines which value will certainly increase, especially if you take into account the release price, its quality and potential credibility. The particularity of this property is that it is more like a Pomerol than a Saint Emilion.

Being close to La Conseillante, L’Evangile and Cheval-Blanc gives a better understanding of its incredible quality-price rapport, same for our newest neighbor of quality, Jean Faure.

For lunch, and with a summery weather, we drank a bottle of Clos del Rey 2001 and Clos des Fées 2001, served at the cool temperature of my cellar; a delight… with chanterelles and beef sirloin… My God, and when you think that these wines are still not known by consumers!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Primeurs... and Vinexpo

This week, and before the beginning of Vinexpo, all the 1st growths, the super seconds and the ones still hesitating should release their prices. I will write to you in more detail the outcome of the meeting which took place last week and had been decided.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


Some of the chateaux don’t want their release price to be posted on brokers’ websites, most have no problems with it. In any case, the idea that the whole industry, journalists, clients knows everything about releases, brands, etc…is certainly rare, except in case of crisis for tomato producers, melon or other…

If prices are not posted on the offers of brokers, after 5 minutes all our customers received offers from wholesalers, and there, the price is listed, an additional 5 minutes and they are posted on websites of English brokers, Swiss, French mail order sites and often at the retail price recommended by the properties. So, what’s the use for Bordeaux to want their prices to be confidential?

The only ones that are a protected from curious eyes are the ones who sell direct, on an exclusive basis, as it is often the case in Burgundy.

Thursday, June 7, 2007


I still like to reevaluate myself so tomorrow, my whole team and I will work on the reasons why Valandraud does not reach the first place or has the best notes en Primeurs?
Has the new terroir affected the style of the wine? Or we became so confident and complacent that we don’t even notice a gap? Our we the reason, tiredness, style, only Parker, should we only make wines to cellar, our nice ph, why not overripe, plowing, keep weeds in the vineyard, barrels, us???

In the meantime, and regarding ratings, here is the result from Betrand Le Guern’s calculation:
2006 31st
2005 24th
2004 14th
2003 28th
Before, we were always in the top 20 almost every year !

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Ad Culture

Some commercials generate a certain amount of gossip… including in the forum of La Passion du Vin where the ad for the Vignobles Fayat as well as mine have generated some talk. Both were published in Revue du Vin de France.
Here are my comments regarding the reaction they created: I looked at the Revue du Vin de France and like you, I think that several ads, including mine, could be better.

As Mr François Audouze said, we live in a world of communication (this site being the living proof) and at least, I never saw so many comments about an ad. This shows it had an impact.

When you deal with such a short history like ours, can we create classical ads / “classy”? We will always be considered as “foreigners” to the system, and even “parvenu” or “nouveau riche”, etc… So, there is no reason to get offended if you surprise, even if the meaning of the message was changed, distorted or not even understood.

Clément Fayat, who I feel honored to manage his properties, was the employer of my father-in-law who worked all his life in his first company (he was his 15th employee).

I wanted a different image than the usual photo of a chateau. Instead, I wanted to show the involvement of the children in the organization and the vineyards to our clients, négociants and employees.

As for me, my hart goes “Boum”, even “Boum-Boum”, like in the song from Charles Trenet. Why a rooster? Because I always have one around me! He is always available : our rooster ; a mutt part Chinese, part Nègre-Soie. He has been part of my childhood and became a fetish. You can actually see it on the label of Clos-Badon. This morning, I would have liked to take a picture with my dog Max, or Inao, our Chartreux cat. And for your information, the father of this rooster is white and is now aver 10 years old, which is rare for a rooster… But of course, from time to time he drinks Valandraud!

(I understand why Bertrand tells me that he doesn’t like Pingus : He tries to convince himself, as Jacques Luxey did for the merit of the 1928 vintage - his own – and 1929!)

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Fleur Cardinale

Yesterday evening Monday, June 4, a colleague négociant paid us a visit with a couple of friends from Canada (Ontario).

After tasting Valandraud 1999 at l’Essentiel, I had the pleasure to be part of a dinner organized for a journalist at Château Fleur Cardinale. We were “already” able to do a vertical tasting of this wine produced by the owners Florence and Dominique Decoster. This beautiful chateau was promoted to Grand Cru Classé in the latest round of classification. For your info, my order of preference for this wine of great quality is: 2005- 2003-2006-2004-2001-2002.

The 2005 vintage is absolutely remarkable and 2006, 2003 and 2004 are really delicious. I am proud to be one of the consultants for this cru.

Bravo to Lagrange in Saint Julien. Mr. Marcel Ducasse can be proud of his wine and especially this year, date of his retirement.

Tank you also to some of my colleagues négociants and brokers who made it possible for my wine to be included in the wine list of the business class of a fine airline. Would this be a bit cheating Air France!?

Monday, June 4, 2007


Saturday evening, we had dinner with the owners of Château Machorre where the 2003 vintage they served was at the level of a classified growth, sold in stores in the US for less than $15, and with a great packaging.

We had the pleasure to meet an American couple; he works for Total, and she, of Chinese origins, manages Robert Redford’s wine section “Sundance” created in 1961 in his estate in Utah. This complex is a cinematographic institute as well as conference center on environmental problems. Robert Redford is one of the first American actors to defend the environmental cause.

We spent Sunday with Murielle’s family to celebrate Mother’s Day and at the end of the day, we joined our Austrian friends at l’Essentiel for a tasting.

Friday, June 1, 2007


No allocations or not enough to fulfill my clients request.
I don’t have enough: Talbot, Armailhac, Pavie Macquin, Larcis Ducasse, Fiefs de Lagrange, Rouget, Léoville Barton, Domaine de l’A, Calon Ségur, Clos Floridène, Giscours, Gruaud Larose, Haut Marbuzet , Carbonnieux blanc… to resell

And despite ordering them in various quantities every year, some of these wines have not even been offered to me directly by the chateau…What are the brokers doing?

Primeurs 2006

The campaign has started with the release of Château Talbot, great brand with plenty of volume… And this morning, it is the turn of Château Fleur Cardinale, amongst others.

Last night, after a blind tasting at l’Essentiel of 12 wines (Monbousquet, Bon Pasteur and Clos Badon 2001 with were very good), a group of Austrian amateurs came to my house for dinner and great wine. The pairing of Maury – Chocolat definitely works, but we found that it is especially surprising with beautiful big cherries.