Friday, August 31, 2007

Visit of La Dominique

Visit of La Dominique with a few VIPs and potential customers of the Groupe Fayat. The heliport would have been useful, but considering the price of real estate per m², it is best for them to land in the local airport of Artigues de Lussac.

Visit very (a bit too much IMO?) technical for these great wine enthusiasts, followed by a tasting of La Dominique 2005 and 2006, which are my favorites. In any case, 2 very good wines, and I hope future sales for Christine?

A few pictures….
- The future tasting room still in construction:

- the vineyards

Another view of our next door neighbor Cheval Blanc in the background (for the two properties are adjacent)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Nice weather

Finally, nice weather in Bordeaux : fresh, dry and sunny, and this seems to last, alleluia!
All our vines look beautiful, the vineyard of La Dominique is superb, Haut Carles looks like a first growth. We are now working on some fine tuning to be more than perfect. Alas, or fortunately, we depend of the weather in the coming days; this is the characteristic of Bordeaux terroirs. In the meantime, the weather in the Roussillon and Provence is as expected in these areas, bright sunshine!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Valandraud 2005

Today, my employees bottled Valandraud 2005 with our own equipment. Our bottling material is quite efficient: it cleans the empty bottles and creates a vacuum. The rhythm is paced to allow enough time for the natural corks to contract before laying the bottles. Following, the bottles are stored without labels which will be stickered after the harvest on time for deliveries before the end of the year.

The wine, which I was able to taste with a few attractive American tourists and our new Irish client, was certainly one of the best wines I made since I started, and still I produced the 1995 and 1998 which are now considered in the top 10 best Bordeaux (at least according the Grand Jury Européen).
What will the journalists, our clients and especially Parker say? That’s another story.

Murielle started deleafing the North side of our entire vineyard, as recommended by our oenologue. Let’s hope that we will not make to much damage and burns… this would be a shame.

We closed our cellar for 3 days to make a status of our inventory for our 2006/2007 statement of accounts.

Large formats

Guillaume asked me why wines in magnums, double magnums and in large formats in general seem to taste and age better.

In my experience, it is true that at least in magnums, wine keeps more fruit and ages better. The reason is simple: there is most likely less oxidation due to the exchange of oxygen passing through the cork (?) but especially contact with the cork (being almost the same size as a 75 cl bottle) is divided by 2 and even more for double magnums and Imperials.

Corks are responsible for giving a sort of oxidation taste, except for glass corks (which are now being tested).

Another important factor is the temperature of storage. The colder it is (14 to 15° C or 57 to 59° F), the slower the wine ages (which explains why the oxidation is slower when an open bottle of red wine is kept in the refrigerator). This is reason why wines tasted in the winery taste better for the cellars are often cold.

Yesterday we had a heat wave: more than 35° C (95° F) in the shade.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Back to school

Children are not the only ones going back to school… for some, the holidays will bring back good memories; winemakers in Bordeaux are waiting for good weather in September (it should come at some point, no?), and in Maury it looks like another great year, very dry weather close to a drought (which shows by the leaves of the almond trees). New books have also reached the shelves.

I bought the French version of Parker’s new book: “Guide of the best French wines” (RVF), while waiting for the Guide Hachette and the new Bettane-Desseauve. I received from Gilles du Pontavice his latest book: “Forbidden Margaux”, which title caught my attention. I can’t wait to read it. I always liked Gilles style and sense of humor, a bit caustic, and especially his knowledge of Algerian wines…

This weekend, I visited the vines in Maury where one of my friends is buying a small vineyard of 2 hectares (4.94 acres) with a nice little “cassotte”. Every time we go to Maury, we are struck by the beauty of its vineyards and preserved nature.

We received the agreement from our banks for the loan to built the cellar. We are currently studying them and construction should start by this winter.

During our trip to Maury, while driving to the beautiful vineyards of Lesquerdes, located on incredible granites soil, Jean-Roger and Paul saw (I was driving) 2 puppies in a ravine under a bridge. A third puppy, dead for about 2 or 3 days, was lying by them. These abandoned puppies were thrown in this ravine by some unscrupulous man (I can’t believe a woman could do such a thing). The 2 survivors are lucky: Jean Paul brought them up from this ravine. Virginie (and Karl) will take care of these cute little puppies. By the evening, one of them found a home in Tautavel, the other will most likely be adopted here.

Friday, August 24, 2007

And still...

The Roussillon has been getting beautiful weather while in Bordeaux, the oceanic climate prevailed with bad weather… and still, I still hope to make, with the help of my staff and partners, the best wine possible: one for the history books.
What’s certain is that the Blanc de Valandraud n° 1 2006 will be one of the great white Bordeaux. It will be bottled next week.
As for the 2007 vintage, Thanos Fakorellis asked Murielle to cut a few grapes from the vines of Semillon, to take a few leaves out of the Sauvignon and Semillon to help the grapes reach a perfect maturity. This is precision work as any damage on the grapes could have a negative impact.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Regarding our kosher cuvee…

Jancis Robinson's note on Valandraud kosher

Kosher wine

Wine is kosher, and therefore acceptable to religious Jews, if it follows rabbinical law according to who has handled it as it was made. For years kosher wine was pretty dire, mainly sweet, red and oxidized because so often poured from half-empty bottles (few people would drink it for pleasure). Since the 1980s however a number of kosher wines that are every bit as good as non-kosher wines have emerged, not all of them
Israeli. The very expensive Ch Valandraud of St-Emilion for example makes a kosher cuvée which I sometimes prefer to their regular one in my annual en primeur tastings (see Bordeaux 2004 notes for example).

Ch Valandraud, cacher/kosher cuvée 2004 St Emilion Grand Cru 17- Drink 2014-20Deep, luminous purple. Lively with some fruit and real zip and fruit. Quite a silky texture rather than real, fruity concentration. A bit hollow. Not glorious. Needs more in the middle but it’s much more forward and charming than the regular cuvée at this stage. find this wine

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A bol of fresh air...

A few pictures from the Cap Ferret.....during this period of holiday
Enjoy your holidays

Monday, August 13, 2007

A few numbers...

Many of you are visiting our French site to read my comments. Thank you !

For our first month of existence (I started this blog on May 10 2005), there was 675 visits and 2493 pages read. This number doubled the next month with 1370 visits with 4052 pages read.

In 2006, we regularly passed the 8000 visitors per month…

This year in 2007, we passed 12000 visitors per month… with sometimes more than 5000 pages read in a day!

Here are the complete figures since the beginning… 201446 visitors and 770868 pages read!

As for the English version, since it’s creation November 30 2006, the first month over 300 people visited the blog and 554 pages read. Last month, we were shy of 700 with 1079 pages read. Overall, since the beginning, we received 5043 visits, reading 8240 pages. 67% were new visitors. As per the top 10 countries:
US with 35%, France 18%, UK 9%, then Canada, Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, Germany, Spain and Australia. While we are still far from the French numbers, we are definitely growing. Will we reach the same numbers? All depends on internet wine enthusiasts!...

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Not soon enough!

When are Madonna or Spielberg going to start drinking Valandraud kosher ? Now that ou distribution is setup worldwide, they have no excuse not to find our wine anywhere in the world.

Of course, lots of PR work has already been done in London, New York, Miami and Israel… We will be very soon out of 2001 and 2003 is already out of stock…

Thursday, August 2, 2007


The latest production from the American animation studio Disney/Pixar called « Ratatouille » takes place in a romantic Paris where the rat Remy spends his time in a French restaurant where also very French wines are being served (Château Latour et Cheval Blanc).
Bravo… too bad they didn’t show a Château Rat-ouin, or a “rat de cave” – or cellar rat (candle), or especially the “Six rats noirs” (six black rat) or speak about the odo-rat (aromas) or ras la bouteille (filled to the top)…

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


I shouldn’t have written a post on barrels… Since then, I received 3 proposals for partnership as well as attractive sales opportunities… And my usual suppliers are not ready to see me flirt with their competition !