Friday, September 28, 2007

Entrepreneur of the year

Yesterday evening, I attended an event for “Entrepreneur of the Year” organized by the magazine L'Entreprise and Ernst &Young at Château Clément Pichon, where Clément Fayat was president of the jury.
The cream of the crop of innovative, productive, in other words successful companies, were attending. This year, the winner was CEVA-animal health, from Libourne.
No matter how much I am happy with my accomplishments since I leaving my sales job at the Crédit Agricole of Montpon, this kind of event puts my “success” in perspective.

The end of the harvest of our white Semillon will be on Monday and Wednesday, October 3, we will begin the harvest of our Merlots in Saint Sulpice de Faleyrens. It will be our latest harvest and our most astonishing for we should have started on September 20, based on the flowering!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Le Clos du Beau Père

Beginning of the harvest in Pomerol for our little property, already the second harvest…Time flies!
We kept the same name for our 2 hectares in Pomerol and 1 in Lalande de Pomerol: Domaine des Sabines.
This Pomerol close to Clos René, Bellegrave, Prieurs de la Commanderie has already astonished us in 2006 with its quality. I hope this year will be at least as good, for it looks that there is a renewed interested in Pomerol by American and Japanese enthusiasts. Maybe there will be a place for us by Petrus, le Pin, La Conseillante…

Earlier this week, with Michel Puzio (Croix de Labrie), we visited the harvest being done at La Commanderie de Mazeyres, grapes perfectly ripe, then our neighbor Jean-Marie Bouldy from Château Bellegrave and his new blowing sorting table. Visit of Le Gay and La Violette owned by my friend Catherine Péré-Vergé where they almost use tweezers to pick the most beautiful grapes from these top terroirs. We were quite proud Puzio and I, to be the initiators of this respect and selection now done in Bordeaux and around the world, without even realizing what we were doing in 1991/1992… Like Monsieur Jourdain in the “Bourgeois Gentilhomme”, from Molière, we are using prose without being aware of it, looking for perfection without knowing it. It’s only now that we are finally realizing all we thought was strange at that time.

Meal at “Lard et Bouchon”: delicious flank steak served with a Bergerac and Cahors which I liked. This restaurant is located in a cave dug in the rock, with charming owner. I should go there more often.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Soon the harvest

When you sell wine, be it as an owner or a wholesaler, you regularly receive requests for price lists from imaginary companies who would then swindle some suppliers posing as real customers. Some even contact you using the name of serious companies and get product delivered to a bogus address.
Only this week, we received 2 requests of this sort, and I don’t even count the crazy ones from Africa!

The tasting in Leclerc in Saint Magne de Castillon was very well attended with real wine buyers, with of course, as would Frédéric Gautier say, a beautiful selection of the best Côtes de Castillon. Too bad that there is not a Monsieur Coustou in Fronsac…

Monday, visit of Haut Mazeris, lunch with Capucine, Yves and his wife and Aymar.
The afternoon was spent at Clément Pichon where the harvest started.
The harvest is late for the maturity of the grapes seems to be blocked, stress, cold, in certain cases the difficulty to assimilate magnesia which causes the stems to dry out and therefore the grapes to also dry out (also called in French passerillage). Still, you need eyes to see these symptoms. It is not normal that with all the independent consultants we hire or paid by the sales reps of pharmaceutical companies, etc… I have to be the one noticing it at Haut-Mazeris, or even more astonishing, that Mr Fayat notices it, like he doesn’t have anything else to do…
This doesn’t put in question the harvest in these 2 properties as this will represent, in the worst case, 7 to 8% of the entire surface of the vineyards and the selection process will eliminate the bad grapes.

I read on Parker’s site Neal Martin’s tasting of 12 top vintages of Château Trotanoy, one of our favorite wines in Bordeaux (and we are not the only ones, having friends from the Medoc who regularly drink 1989).

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Imprecision of journalists

Tuesday evening, we will be part of the wine event organized by Leclerc supermarket in Saint Magne de Castillon. Like last year, we will pour Constance 2005 and other wines. They have one of the best wine section in the South West and god knows how many there are.

Again on Tuesday, the harvest started at Château La Commanderie de Mazeyres in Pomerol. The label and back label created by our distribution partner (Cordier) for this wine is, I think, totally in phase with the wines produced by this beautiful property of 10 ha located in the city of Libourne (a bit like Château Quinault or Château Pape Clément).

Saturday 29, Murielle and I are invited to one of the Rugby World Cup matches taking place in Bordeaux: Australia-Canada. It will be the first time that I will attend a match live in a stadium. When Murielle was younger, she played in a women’s rugby team.

Thursday 27 evening, I will attend a dinner organized at Clément Pichon around the theme “entrepreneur of the year”, which usually concerns Mr. Clément Fayat.

Murielle will be attending the inaugural of the new cellar at Marojallia which is becoming a superb place where luxurious rooms (330 euros per night) surround the cellar and the reception rooms. All of this with the vineyards in front and next to prestigious classified growths, including Château Margaux. In Saturday, September 15’s issue of the Figaro, an article signed by Bernard Burtschy on the “Foires aux Vins” (wine sales), there was a good comment on Virginie de Valandraud 2004: “the second wine from the garage wine Valandraud, a Saint Emilion worth some of the first growths sold in Leclerc”.

To end these notes, while reading the supplement of Geo about wines of the world, I learned that I am an oenologist and that Parker gave Valandraud 100 points!
I note: “We now go to Clive Torr leader of the “Garagists”. This term was created in 1992, when Jean-Luc Thunevin, a French oenologist, produced “Château Valandraud” in his garage, with grapes from saint Emilion. Tasted blind by Robert Parker, it received the maximum note of 100!”

On the wholesale side, 13,002 bottles of Closerie de Mazeyres 2006 were sold exclusively by an important brokerage firm to one of our very important colleagues negociant in Bordeaux and faithful customer of the Vignobles Clément Fayat. They will distribute this wine in traditional networks, in other words any networks outside of supermarkets (wines stores, restaurants, consumers…)

We are still not harvesting. We will maybe start around September 27/28, La Dominique is going on slowly, Fronsac is waiting, as well as Margaux and our Bordeaux. In the Roussillon, Jean-Roger, Marie and our employees are busy. Dominio de Pingus of my friend Peter Sisseck is also waiting, it is amazing to have the same reflexes in certain vintages in Ribera del Duero and Bordeaux. The altitude of Ribera is a possible explanation.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Special Selection for Clos Badon 2004 in the Guide Hachette 2008 :

"If J.L Thunevin has received Special Selection on several occasion for his Valandraud, this year it is Clos Badon’s turn. The vineyard is planted on sandy gravel with 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc. When tasted, all is there: bright purple robe; the fine and intense bouquet blended with fresh fruits and toasted wood stave and a hint of vanilla; the suave palate develops into a soft flesh, ample and delicately perfumed, supported by elegant tannins. To discover in two to three years.
The cuvee 2004 of Virginie de Valandraud is full of charm, will give you pleasure for the next ten years. It was given one star.”

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Never seen

Analysis of the Sauvignons Blancs for the first wine
Alcohol : 14.42
ph 3.17
Total Acidity 4.30
Turbidity 167
Azote assimilable 99

Press of the 1st wine
ph 3.66
Total acidity 2.20
Turbidity 305
Azote assimilable 112

In the meantime, the Château La Dominique is starting to harvest its reds. The team, consisting of 45 persons, harvested yesterday and today and will probably stop until next Wednesday. Our neighbors, L'Evangile, La Conseillante and Cheval Blanc are probably doing the same. The nice and persistent weather we’ve been experiencing is helping reduce the yields by concentrating the grapes. The balance between the skin and the juice seems perfect and will most likely prevent us from “running-off” some of the juice which we planned to do 3 weeks ago. What is amazing with the harvest in Bordeaux, is that every time, it is a different story, even if we like to compare and associate various vintages.

Yesterday, in the village of Saint Emilion, I stopped by Yves Blanc’s real estate agency rue Guadet to ask him if he had any properties available in one of the satellites appellation (less than 100 ha or 247 acres). Of course, it is not for me, but I am often being asked for advise, or tips… it is true that if the cost to produce a great wine is about the same throughout France, it is a different story for the land. It can go from 10,000 Euros/ha to more than 1 million Euros, even more for famous wines, of course!

As for me, except for a few hectares in Medoc close to our property in Margaux, I don’t need to buy in the right bank, except if I change my mind…

While reading the forum of La Passion du Vin, I like the comments of Raymond on television: “A great number of today’s youth (but not only) is aware of everything going on but doesn’t know anything… »
And I understand better my interest in wines thanks to these few lines written by Syl20 “We’ve come full circle and we can loosen time on the clock of our little (short ?) lives”. For me, who is terrified by time that my frenzy way of life is only my own personal movie to avoid, distance myself, delay, forget the word end… end of the story, end of wine, end of the game… end of garage wines, end of a love story, of love stories, end of life.

Beginning of the harvest

Today, we are harvesting a small plot of young Merlots (4 years old) in Fongaban with our full time employees.

The harvest is also starting at La Dominique as well as the whole right bank thanks to ideal weather conditions. The cool nights are helping the final stage of ripening. In any case, the real start for us will be next week.

One of our colleagues from Bordeaux bought the entire stock of La Dominique 2005 through an important brokerage firm. 20,000 bottles in one order for one client. This transaction was possible thanks to the unique system in Bordeaux called “de place”. This system of sales via a broker allows for efficient and peaceful commercial exchanges. As negotiations take place through a go-between, it allows for deals to be finalized with the best interest for both parties, which is not always easy, that of course, if the broker is good.

Thursday, we are meeting an Australian distributor to speak about Haut Carles in his country, the network for de Carles and Haut Carles is expanding slowly.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Today, we are continuing picking the Sauvignons Blancs.
The results of the analysis is:
Alcohol: 13.94 % vol
PH: 3.25
Total Acidity: 4.60 g/l

Last night, we attended the 1st event of the «Foire aux Vins » taking place at the Auchan Lac : Lots of people, lots of real customers who were buying wine to drink and were filling up their carts, also attending wine professionals and of course resellers looking for wines sold at a bargain price as well as customers who able to leave with 1 or 2 bottles of La Fleur Pétrus , La Conseillante, etc…
In the wine supplement section of the Nouvel Observateur, the cuvee “Bad Boy” was featured in an article.

A nice comment from our partner (Cordier) was also written about the future worldwide distribution of the Commanderie de Mazeyre:
“This wine has a beautiful plum colored robe, with glint of purple. Its expressive and complex nose has notes of preserved dark fruit, kirsch and violets, with elegant exotic touches of vanilla, pepper and cedar. The mouth is surprisingly powerful and round, with tannins going from crunchy to velvety showing a perfect control of the extraction. The finish is fresh and fleshy and opens on aromas of preserved cherries, prune mousse and hints of pepper and lightly roasted. This wine long, full, elegant, has great potential for cellaring. Time in the bottle will bring out his exceptional qualities.”

I had a bit of time to read the last book from Bettane et Desseauve “The great guide of French Wines 2008” (29 Euros for a great big book of 1183 pages). Are included, of course, our wines such as Valandraud, Clos Badon, Calvet-Thunevin, Présidial, etc… It is the first edition of a yearly series. It will be interesting to follow its evolution.

In any case, in addition to what we can expect from a guide, I saw a few nice thoughts and titles: For instance “No to Bio-d..ks”. Michel Bettane and Thierry Desseauve certainly don’t go in for half measures, and Michel is particularly strong in marking the minds and memories. Lets not forget that he came up with the expression “vin de garage” and the word “terroiriste” that everyone knows today. Still, I don’t agree with the article “too much alcohol kills wine”, I am actually surprised by the few lines which seemed to me too surreal. A good wine can make you forget the level of alcohol. If it is too obvious, it simply means that the wine is unbalanced. Well, at least this is my opinion…
Other than that, many thanks for page 74 (Haut Carles and Fleur Cardinale)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Strong begining!

This weekend, I participated to a blind tasting dinner with Caroline and Léo (Clos Léo) and their friends. Everyone liked the wines and guest Saint Emilion; however, the vintage was rarely found.
The wines were:
Château Lucia 2001, Château Quinault L’Enclos 2000, Château Pas de L’Ane 1999, Lynsolence 1998 and Gracia 1997 (we had 2 bottles of L’Hermitage 1997 corked, too bad! I hope they changed their cork supplier!)
We also had a Valandraud blanc n° 1 from 2004 and a Quintessence 2001 from la Coume del Mas.

The end of the week was quite busy, if you include the lunch I had at Le Presbitère in Montagne with 2 glasses of wine and a good Fronsac 2001, plus on Wednesday 12 in the evening, I attended an event hosted for wholesalers, brokers and neighbors by Chateau Léoville Poyferré with a tasting of multitudes of vintages (we loved 2003). It was the opportunity to meet several colleagues with whom I do business either for my wines, my wholesale business or the Vignobles Fayat.

Today at 11 am, I was in the Medoc attending the Association Biturica where the Chateau Clément Pichon joigned some of the best crus “Bourgeois” from the Medoc.

At 4pm, I met a American journalist and a TV in Saint Emilion, Andreas Larsson will be here at 6pm and at

7:30 pm, I will be going to an event organized for the “Foire aux vins” in the Auchan Lac.
Tomorrow morning, I will greet a group of Dutch clients and have lunch with them.
And so on…

In the meantime, the harvest for our whites is still going on and in Pomerol and Saint Emilion, a few crus are starting to pick the first Merlots. The weather is still good… Tanks to Saint Rita and the Açores anticyclone.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Policy of Quality

Friday, we harvested the Sauvignons Blancs, in ideal weather condition.

For the past few months we are working towards getting the ISO 9001 et 14001 certifications:



Since the inception of our company, we have been working towards quality : the quality of our wines, the quality of service of our wholesale business have been the source of our customer satisfaction and our development.

The philosophy we want to constantly apply is of three fold : respect of the customer, respect of the environment and the security of our employees.

Concerned with the growth of organization, the quality of our service and our ecological responsibilities, we decided to formalize our approach and apply for the label of quality, environment and security: ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and the requirements of OHSAS 18001.

We guarantee:

- Constantly improve our practices by taking in consideration the requirements of our customers and business associates;
- Abide to regulations and our commitments following the evolution
of our organization;
- Address the environmental issues created by our activities and
reduce our energy consumption.

This endeavor requires that all of the employees of the company participate actively.

Customer satisfaction, protecting the environment and providing our employees to work in a safe and healthy environment is the goal of our policy of Quality-Environment-Security.

The Management

Jean-Luc Thunevin

Murielle Andraud

Saturday, September 15, 2007

On the canvas...

Alain Bringolf (Winemega) wrote this comment on Valandraud :
Valandraud 2004, Grand Cru, Saint-Emilion

Tasted after decanting twice and three hours spent in the cellar.
Purple robe, bright and deep.
Full flavors of red fruits, blackberries and cherries – in other words very Merlot. A touch of spice, cedar. Valandraud 2004 is big in your mouth, letting a delicious fruit express itself fully, wrapped in beautiful and present tannins. Still marked by its aging with a woody finish which, I think, will melt in a few months. Concentrated finish, intense and long, perfectly balanced.
We can taste the full potential of this desirable Valandraud but should wait until it is ready.

Thank you for thinking of decanting this wine! You can ready his tasting notes on

And on Vininews, a podcast from the recent visit of the team from CYBELLE WINES

Friday, September 14, 2007

Crazy prices?

François Audouze writes on the LPV site that a handful prestigious chateaux are selling their wine for a crazy price, and that it is very difficult to measure the effect it will have on the rest of the range, etc…,219279

Dear Francois, I don’t believe that the effect of these prices carry over to the rest of the range and this is good news for the consumers. In fact, the speculation and real demand only affects established stars which are easy to remember for new customers: 1st crus 1855, cult wines of the world, in all, around 100 brands (maybe less).

The desire for other producers to be part of this “craziness” is only an illusion and could be dangerous. One of my friends told me that the frog often wants to look like a bull. As for me, I only see this as an incredible opportunity. Let me explain: If a few years ago, certain crus like Valandraud, seemed expensive, not so much compared to 1st growths, today, the price ratio makes them quite attractive. What is valid for Valandraud also counts for most « alternative » crus. And this while waiting for a status. Haut Carles or Haut Mazeris, which have a retail price between 20 and 30 Euros, are becoming great opportunities and France has plenty of wines of this quality at a lower price.

The last group of American buyers tasted Haut Mazeris 2003 blind and gave a price between 50 and 100 dollars!

The only problem, of course, is the good notes given by Parker, Wine Spectator, Jancis Robinson and others which helps distributors. But is it really their that the problem lies?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Americans, suite

Another day of visits at a good pace: one property per hour… no respite: Franc Maillet “Jean Baptiste” (less than 1 hectare in Pomerol, which we sell exclusively and works well for them)
Vieux Château Bourgneuf (Fayat-Thunevin)
Commanderie de Mazeyres
La Dominique, which made a big impression. When you think it has such prestigious neighbors…

We had lunch at the astonishing restaurant La Puce, a truck stop in Bigaroux which serves over 200 lunches at a very sweet price and copious portions. No time for a nap… the visits go on:
Le Clos du Beau Père (ex-Ratouin, ex Angélus in Pomerol ! yes yes !)
Haut Carles
Haut Mazeris
The day couldn’t finish without a nice and delicious meal in our house where we drank the following wines (all the reds were drank blind, difficult !) :
A nos amours 2005, Compassant 2004, Valandraud 1994, Petrus 1981, Haut Mazeris 2003, Croix de Labrie 1999, Calvet Thunevin Maury 2004, Ragnaud Sabourin Florilège, and a brandy from Crimée, made like a Cognac
Work session

Today I had lunch with my psychologist Pierre Marie C. I recommended that he shouldn’t get attached to his client. Jokes aside, Pierre Marie is Bac + 10 (?), from Bordeaux II with a PhD, and instructor, alumni from Normale Sup in Cachan and with a master in social sciences. He is writing a theses in social economy on statutory dynamics in the wine industry. Don’t ask me what it means, I don’t understand with my high school graduation…
(Just kidding ;-))

Still nice weather!

Monday, the harvest started with 27 crates of Sauvignon Gris pressed on Tuesday.
In the meantime, Christian Dalbavie and I took care of one of our American importer/distributor (NY and a few other states) visiting with 3 members of their staff and 5 of their good customers.

They already import successfully, Valandraud, Virginie and exclusively Franc Maillet Jean Baptiste, Présidial, Calandray, Clos Badon, Prieuré Lescours and Bellevue de Tayac. I hope that following this trip they will ad to their portfolio Commanderie de Mazeyres, Haut Carles and de Carles, Compassant, and wines sold on the open market such as La Dominique, Marojallia, Clos Margalaine, Clement Pichon and others.

Monday, we began the visit at Bellevue de Tayac, then Marojallia (building a beautiful little cellar as well as luxury B&B worth 4 stars). We also visited Clément Pichon and had lunch in the parc of the Château prepared by Alexandre (steaks grilled on wines). The beautiful weather and this extraordinary chateau will stay in our memory.

In the afternoon, we visited Prieuré Lescours, Clos Badon, our warehouse in Saint Magne, Valandraud as well as our chambre d’hôtes almost finished.

For dinner, we drank Blanc de Valandraud N°1 2004 et 2005, Virginie de Valandraud 2004, Haut Carles 2003 – superbe roast beef with truffles from Saint Alvère, with mash potatoes also with truffles + olive oil from François. Valandraud 1999 and 1996 served with Dutch Goudas brought by Christian, and a nie Arche Lafaurie 2001 with ice cream.
We tried to do better the next day!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


On Mark Squires BB, and on the theme « Garagiste blog", I note 1138 replies and 53 911 visits… And when you think that some claim that the movement doesn’t mean anything ! It’s like people announcing Parker’s retirement, if not his disappearance from the world of critics, the same as partisans of an elitist voting system (giving the right to vote only to citizens who pay taxes), I will even go further “only 1855 classified growths are worth something” or “lets not mix apples and oranges”.

My father used to say, you cannot change a donkey into a racing horse.
This how the world goes around.

Still, on the same forum, a “little” list of cult wines according to SCRvan Aquino:

“We're thinking of ideas for a next tasting and I suggested non-american cult wines. Then after I sent the email, i realized, there really aren't much out there? Wanna help me compile a list?

Aussie: Grange., Hill of Grace, Shirvington, chris ringland, amon-ra, Noon Reserve Shiraz
Rhone: La la, Beaucastel Hommage, Pegau Capo, Rayas, F. Cotat and Didier Dagueneau, Chapoutier
Bordeaux: Petrus, Pe Pin, Valandraud
Burg: DRC, Leroy, Mugnier, coche-dury
Spain: Vega Cicilia, Pingus, L'Ermita, Clos Erasmus, Gaja
Portugal: Quinta do Noval Nacional,
Germans: Egon Muller Scharzhofberger
Austrians: KracherItalian: Masseto, Miani, Dal Forno,Ornellaia, Sassacaia and Quintarell, Valentini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Bea SagrantinoGiuseppe Quintarelli”.

Friday, September 7, 2007


Yesterday, Dominique Vaudon and I went to the Hotel du Palais, invited by the hypermarket Carrefour in Anglet, to participate to a tasting offered to the VIPs of this department store.
This event took place in a beautiful room, and was well organized with high quality guests and beautiful local products served with wines from Bernard Magrez, Chapoutier, Germain and 4 of our wines: Valandraud 2004, Virginie de Valandraud 2003, 3 de Valandraud 2002 and Dentelles 2002 from Domaine Calvet Thunevin. More than 250 people attended. We brought only 12 bottles and had to pour small doses. We ran out of wine by 9 pm. Luckily the party ended at 10 pm. Sales followed immediately. The sister of my friend Daniel, always full of energy, was attending as well as a few rugby players from the Biarritz team, a few wine enthusiasts, a few fans of the garagistes and the evening flew by in this extraordinary historical hotel which has one of the most beautiful views of France!

Its spa is as beautiful as the one in the Ritz in Paris… A dream, I tell you… Except that we had to drive for 3 hours each way in the same day… We went to bed at 1 am, and I woke up early to do my usual morning walk with Max, my 4 legged coach.

At lunch, we received Mr Robin (ex Seguin Moreau) and Kinette Gautier plus 3 or 4 people. The meal will be prepared by Murielle, maybe ceps! This evening, Guy is coming for dinner and the evening will be as casual and friendly. I need to think about getting a chauffeur!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Looks like things are going well

Special recommendation in « Cuisine et Vins de France » for our cuvée « Bad Boy 2005 » not yet bottled. I think that there is also an article in the Nouvel Observateur. I can’t wait for this wine to be available for it looks like the sales will explode, knowing that this time, I produced this wine based on the sales price.
The retail price will be between 15 and 20 Euros, and between 25 and 30 dollars in the USA.

Recommendation in the Guide Hachette for Clos Badon Thunevin 2004.
The guide Gerbelle and Maurange for the Best Affordable Wines listed Présidial in a very good position (for the 3rd consecutive year).
For Jeff Leve, Valandraud 1998 is part of the top 5 wines in Bordeaux
Peter Hirsch says he wants to serve Valandraud 98 to Parker (he thinks it is worth 98 points – Thank you!)
Valandraud 2005, tasted by Francois Moss has also been getting very nice comments.
Our Roussillon wines, Calvet-Thunevin, are bought by the same clients year after year and makes new converts.

Our stock is dwindling, including for our new exclusivities and properties. It is still a bit hard in France, but I feel that interest is growing, and especially as it is becoming more and more expensive to trade Bordeaux Grands Crus, as we are getting less and less allocations!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

End of the month

With 35 full time employees plus 2 managers, this is becoming a sizable company. If you take in account our seasonal employees who are still in the vineyards finishing a few tasks. In addition, the harvest is about to begin with more than 40 people, not counting the other agricultural companies helping us with our Bordeaux, Margaux and Pomerol. We should also ad the properties in Roussillon, the ones from the Vignobles Fayat, etc… The wine business and viticulture provide jobs for a good number of people in our beautiful country.

To that, you have to ad labor cost. One of the reasons why our government is trying to find a different route via the VAT to finance such cost, but this issue is not yet resolved. In addition, equipment, bank loans, capitals invested need to be added.

Fortunately, despite sluggish business from our mass merchant accounts, all our other markets are working well, including the USA which is on top with good growth, then Northern Europe. In total, a increase of 30% over 2006.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Nice weather and China

The weather has greatly improved turning what was predicted a difficult year into a success. You see, nothing’s lost!
The harvest will probably be done quickly for our few rare varietals: our Sauvignons gris, which give a very perfumed and sweet wine; this year, the grapes are already very ripe, almost preserved! The taste of the Sauvignons Blancs is starting offer a palette of exotic fruits (pineapple, mango, mandarin… delicious!)
The Semillons are starting to regain their flavors.

We are currently finishing plucking the leaves on the 2nd side, facing south, of our vines. This makes them look a bit odd with their bunches hanging. The harvest will also be done rapidly and our grapes will be able to ripen properly with the September sun.

Today, our new, good and serious client for the Chinese market sent us his order. Most likely, China will represent 3 to 5% of our activities against 0 this year!

Monday, September 3, 2007

What a week end !

We visited part of the vineyards of Saint Emilion with Alain Brumont (Montus Madiran, etc…). I enjoyed seeing him marvel at our beautiful terroir and especially at the work accomplished in the vineyards by men and women in what could be considered, to say the least, a difficult vintage. I like to show the vineyards of Michel Sauru who is a member of the cooperative (Union des producteurs) whose vines are so well kept that some of the classified growths could draw some inspiration from him – instead of tooting their horn instead of adapting to the demand of their customers and to competition.

So, “Vive Saint Emilion” which looks more and more like a well tended garden and will be able to withstand international competition. I think that Alain and Laurence had fun cycling through the area (40 kms): Pomerol, Lussac, Montagne, Saint Georges, Puisseguin, Castillon and Saint Emilion.

In the evening, we surprised them by being invited by our cork supplier to a meal and an auction for “Le Nid”, an orphanage in Meknes in Morocco. The common thread between Saint Emilion and this orphanage is Abou and Mario Marfi who, in their historical and successful restaurant of Le Cadène know how to receive us like friends.

156 guests were gathered for a good cause and have a good time drinking great wine in the room provided in the family Aubert’s property, Château La Couspaude.

Around 50 lots were sold at very high price (generosity needed) with one of the guests spending over 5000 Euros!
In all, they collected close to 40 000 Euros in one evening. Some Moroccan children will learn that Saint Emilion wine can bring them a bit of happiness. This very friendly evening gave us the opportunity to reconnect with long lost friends (François Dumas), meet icons (Laberdolive in Armagnac) and see that in Saint Emilion, grand crus, classified growths, small chateaux, and garage wines can all gather together for a good cause.

We went to bed late but had the pleasure to go to the market in Libourne on Sunday morning where the first ceps of the season were sold for around 20 Euros, small consolation for a gloomy Summer…