Friday, October 30, 2009

Bordeaux 2009

The 2009 vintage enters in the hall of fame: it is already announced as the vintage of the century, etc…

It's true ... because it is already written in Le Figaro, Le Monde, Le Point ... and even critics are beginning to write about it, such as Quarin or some members on Mark Squire’s BB, or the most famous consultants, including Denis Dubourdieu - usually the cautious type.

What is certain is that, already appointments are made with some U.S. importers, some Bordeaux merchants are already inquiring on wines that have not sold well in 2007 or 2008 "just in case" ...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Coming up

On Tuesday, November 3, France 5, will air again Pascal Fauvel and Nicolas Jouvin’s documentary: « Saint Emilion, qui l’eût cru ? » (who would have believed it?)

Friday 6, the Comptoir de Genes, hosts a discovery-tasting dinner event on «Women winemakers » with a menu for around 40 Euros. Women winemakers from Castillon La Bataille will be participating :
- Gaëtane QUERRE, Château d'Aiguilhe Querre in St Philippe d'Aiguilhe
- Hélène THIBAUD, Château LA Peuronie in Gardegan and Tourtirac
- Alexandra ROBIN, Château de Laussac in St Magne de Castillon
- Catherine PAPON, Château Peyrou in Ste Colombe
- Elisabeth ROUSSEAU, Château La Rose Poncet in Gardegan and Tourtirac
- Christine DERENONCOURT, Domaine de l'A in Ste Colombe
- Murielle ANDRAUD-THUNEVIN, Le Blanc de Valandraud in St Genès de Castillon

The month of December will begin with Le Grand Tasting in the Carousel du Louvre in Paris December 4 and 5 (we still have a few invitations left)
We will be available at our stand N° 78 and will pour :
BAD BOY 2006

Blind tasting, one more time...!

The site “Passion du Vin” has frequent visits thanks to the subject “In the heart of the Grand Jury Europeen”. Opinions, all the opinions, even those more committed, are useful to understand the interests and limits of blind tastings.
Like in a Spanish inn, one finds what he is looking for. Today, this wine seems to be the best… where will it be tomorrow?

Often, in my opinion, and Michel Rolland’s, a good wine today is not necessarily a bad wine tomorrow. Even though! Why does it matter if I drank it when it should?
Often, consumers need this specific information: When will this bottle give me the most pleasure, before which date should it be drank?

In fact, the limitation period should be indicated on the bottle, same as other consumer goods. How long must one wait for a wine to reach full potential, and justify (if it can) its price?

All of this seems laughable, but one cannot forget that comments made of specific wine will affect its value in the future.
The exclusivity of the 1855 classification is actually that it dates from 1855, still viable today for some and obsolete for others.
It’s known that Lynch Bages is above the classification, thanks to its high quality, and for sure, La Violette will regain its place in Pomerol. Even though it has no classification, it still has the same “aura” as classified growths.

Do Reignac, Haut Condissas and other Haut Carles type, have no right to be amongst the top, if they provide the means to do so? Why not? I don’t see the reason not!

When I travel to China, I think again about wanting to participate in the creation of one of these great Chinese wines, able to compete in blind tastings against some top California wines, which have already greatly competed against our top Bordeaux.

When will the Judgment of Paris be replaced by the Judgment of Hong-Kong? Just as a reminder, the Judgment of Paris (1976) gave the Grand Jury Européen the idea to organize the same event 30 years later.

2 American wines reached the 1st place and Valandraud 3rd in front of all Bordeaux 1855 Classified Growths (or not) and California wines.
The chosen vintage (1995) was one of the best for Chateau Valandraud
Valandraud 95, still very good, received good note on the RVF (Bettane version), Robert Parker and many more. Still, Valandraud will never be a 1st growth 1855 and will never claim to be.
So what?
This didn’t prevent Valandraud to be in the top 100 best wines in the world and inspired more than one owner around the world.

Vive blind tastings (at least for that!)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chateau de Carles in Fronsac

Walking through the streets of Saint Emilion from my house to the office, I often have the opportunity to talk to various people. It’s true that there are many wine stores along my route.
One of these stores is crazy about Haut Carles. They believe that it has an unbeatable quality price ratio and are also very interested in Chateau de Carles.

To accompany my story, I included below a few pictures – taken by me on Saturday, October 2, during the visit of Carles by James Lawther for a forthcoming book he is writing on Bordeaux.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Valandraud tasting by Izak Litwar

We recently had the visit of Izak Litwar to taste the last 4 vintages of Valandraud. Here are the comments he posted on Mark Squire's Bulletin Board :

"On Monday the 12th October I took a train from Libourne to St.Emilion and my first stay was at the tasting room below the office of Jean-Luc Thunevin. But during my walk from the station a car stopped and Alain Vauthier from Ausone got out. I met him first time at Ausone in 1984!

He told me that he was extremely happy with 2009 vintage and that they will finish small parcel of C.S. next day. According to him there weren't any problems with fermentation at his other estates and that fermentation at Ausone will start very soon.

Since 2007 vintage is it Murielle who's responsible for the harvest at all estates. You can say woman touch. In 2009 vintage potential alcohol in grapes is about one degree higher than in 2005 vintage. Concerning pH - it's 3.6 and lower than in 2005. Jean-Luc thinks that 2009 is combination of 2005 richness and 1989 style. Harvest was at that time not finished for Cabernet.

I tasted Valandraud in vintages 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2005.

2008 was as impressive as during primeur - perfectly ripe fruit, strong backbone, splendid concentration, depth, balance and length. Formidable wine.
2007 looked like a great success for the vintage with pretty nice fruit maturity, fine length and balance, quite intense with fine aromas of red berries on the nose.
2006 followed closely after 2008 with as strong attitude, chewy, complex and pretty well concentrated. Seemed to get out very well from the grip of oak and tannin. Another great success of the vintage.
2005 was quickly on the way to close totally down but let me just taste the fabulous richness and this outstanding maturity of wild black cherries. Exceptional stuff!"

Thanks Izak!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

2009 Vintage

According Murielle and Florence:

Harvest – the end

Monday and Tuesday, Cabernet Sauvignon in Valandraud and Haut Mazeris
Today, the Carmenère and the 2009 vintage will be produced the best way possible.
I'm leaving for a trip to Hong Kong, Japan and back through Hong Kong before returning.
No time to breathe!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

La Tour d'Argent

Part of La Tour d’Argent’s cellar will be put up for auction (in French).
It is true that their inventory is quite important and that the origin of some of these old wines will be “guaranteed” for buyers.
La Tour d’Argent was one of the first customers – well known restaurant – to buy Valandraud 1991, 1992…

I always had a special spot, a mix of nostalgia (Jacques Luxey), friendship (David Ridgway) and gratitude for this mythical restaurant in Paris.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ukraine : Igor, Vladimir, Helena, Tatiana and others...

Last Friday, we woke up at 4:30 pm and left at 5 o'clock in the morning from St. Emilion for Bordeaux Merignac airport where our plane to Paris was scheduled at 6:55 am.
We met with Daniel, the friend who is already doing business in Ukraine, and joined Helena, in Paris, our Ukrainian guide interpreter. Departure from Paris to Kiev nearly 2 hours late and, surprised at the arrival, My luggage was not there. It was delivered the next day, in good condition.

We left Kiev, where it was cold (2 / 3 degrees), for Simferopol in Crimea on the Black Sea, where the temperature was like in the Mediterranean (20/25 degrees and sunshine). Evening meal with friends Daniel and overnight stay.
The next day, we visited the company created by Daniel and the market in Yalta with his Ukrainian friends: spices, vegetables preserved in vinegar, pomegranates as big as melons, Muscat grapes, persimmons, all honey of all different colors… we wanted to taste everything, but we quickly had to go visit to the famous cellars of Massandra where the wine, intended for the table of the Russian Tsars, was as famous as our 1855 classified first growths.
Alas, the visit of the cellars was not technical enough for my taste. In these superb cellars, are stored incredible amounts of bottles (if I understood correctly, more than 20 million bottles) and especially stocks of old, very old vintages 1800/1900: there is nothing else in an underground span. We then tasted 9 wines from the current range that go from a sherry style to sweet Cahors, sweet Muscat with at least 3 or 4 good. At the end of the visit, our hosts offered us, Daniel and I were both born in 1951, a bottle of Muscat de Massandra 1951, probably the only 1951 drinkable, even very good. I will know when I drink it in 2011 to celebrate my 60th birthday thinking of my Ukrainian friends, considerate and caring, full of that Slavic spirit of joy and sadness.
In the evening, we left for Kiev, where my suitcase was waiting for me (complete with the bottle samples). We had a nice dinner hosted by one of our customers who we recently received in Saint Emilion and stayed overnight in the comfortable Natsionalny.
We saw plenty of wine from one of my colleagues in Bordeaux on planes and in supermarkets. Our responsibility to carve a place in this country.

Sunday we were invited for lunch at 40 km from Kiev, in the house under construction, of these friends wine lover: a 1200m² house with lots of small annexes buildings, guest house, garages and keeper's house, all this on 40 hectares overlooking the countryside. Romantic countryside engraving, trees with all the fall colors and river view. The traditional meal started around 1 pm and ended about 6 pm with lots of bottles of wine, vodka, cognac ... Here, it must be strong to withstand all the "health" ...

Monday, serious work with one of the necessary importers to be able to have our wines distributed, the best without a doubt: with a shop far more professional than many renowned wine stores in the world. It was almost a huge surprise to see, here, already many wines from my friends Garagists: La Gomerie, Magrez Fombrauge and also Valandraud 2002, all sold by a good and well known Bordeaux wholesaler. We tasted Bad Boy 2006, Clos Badon 2001 and Valandraud 1999.
We also met with the owner of an Italian restaurant who is also is a friend of Andrea Franchetti of Tenuta di Trinoro. We had our last meal in a good Chinese restaurant, a pre-taste of my trip to Hong Kong and we must already leave, again, get up early at 4 am. It is the least enjoyable part in my travels. In the bag this bottle of 1951 Massandra and a pretty nice box of top quality Russian caviar. It's amazing the attention we received by all the people we've met and friends. 2 beautiful prospects to sell wine to quickly conclude. What more to ask for? Return?

I had a terrible nightmare the last night before the phone woke me up, we could not find pickers, goes to show how bizarre dreams can be.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Horror !

The agricultural mutual insurance of Gironde sent me a letter, dated September 29, 2009:

“Subject: the trade fair prepare and live well your retirement, is being held on October 23 and 24.
Madam, Sir,,
You are approaching the retirement age, etc. ...

How horrible!

I asked nothing, and now ... I gave my date of birth and it becomes an excuse to send me in retirement.
I, who dream of working for more than 40 years, I am in a fine mess now!


I am a fan of the French comic book from F. Murr, Génie des Alpages (Genius of the Mountain Pastures), published by Dargaud (14 volumes).
It inspired me, without realizing, for the Bad Boy label.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Frederick B. wants to meet me, but hasn’t yet been able to: every time one of my employees tells him I am busy ...

Frederick B., who must read my blog regularly, should find that’s a bit much .... when he reads all the meals I do and the good bottles that I drink.
Frederick B., please call Cecile at my office to schedule an appointment or send an email.

PS : my office is right above the shop L’Essentiel, in Saint Emilion.

Blanc de Valandraud

Just for Murielle’s pleasure, below, the comments and notes published in Neal Martin’s Wine Journal :


Wine Journal (April 2007) Neal Martin 93-95
Another very Burgundian nose, here reminding me of a fine Meursault from Dominique Lafon. Lime, citrus fruits,a touch of almond and white flowers. The palate is very polished, harmonious with well integrated creamy new oak. Fine acidity. Touch of oyster shell and green apples on the finish. A lovely wine: shame it produced in such small amounts ! Tasted April 2007.


Wine Journal (April 2007) Neal Martin 90-92
A crisp, Sauvignon Blanc-scented nose with cut limes, citrus and passion fruit. The palate has very fine delineation, quite Burgundian with a touch of coconut towards the long finish. Impressive.
Tasted April 2007

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I had a meal of great quality with great friends: a little foie gras and caviar with Amour de Deutz double magnum, and to even enjoy more, egg casserole with truffles. It was divine.

Following, puree with truffles and thrushes with Valandraud 2007 (a success - I tell you but I am totally independent?) and La Couspaude 2007 remarkable (the price as well).

With the truffle brie, Mouton 2003 - very good, Haut Brion 1985 a little tired (?), La Mouline 2003 from Guigal, delicious.
Fruit dessert and coffee, whew!
It was only Wednesday lunch in Libourne, where fine wines are served to please friends.

Ah, these Americans !

This morning, an American friend asked me for the analysis of Valandraud 2009. We haven’t yet finished harvesting!
This shows the interest there is in this vintage. He will have to wait, because we still have to harvest next week: 2 vineyards of Merlot: the north side of Bel Air and Despagnet (in the valley), and, of course, the Cabernet Francs of Badon, Prieuré Lescours, Bel Air as well as the Cabernet Sauvignon of Prieuré Lescours and the Carmenère of Bel Air – late varietal.
Also, the Cabernets in Haut Mazeris and even a parcel of Merlot in Pomerol, in Clos du Beau Père.

If at the end of this I don’t have a stomach ulcer and one or two depressions after harvest, is that really, I'm tough.

I think that choosing to harvest super late was the right choice. Murielle, Christophe, Rémi and Jean Philippe have done the maximum not to miss the tremendous potential of this vintage.

Vignobles Clément Fayat

The Clément Fayat vineyards are expending with a nice property of 5 hectares adjacent to the Châteaux La Dominique, Jean Faure and Cheval Blanc : Château Vieux Fortin ;
This property was already producing very good wine for a long time. Our objective is to do better and try to integrate it, at some point, to Château La Dominique, where its original terroir (an unbelievable pocket of clay and limestone) would bring more.

With the purchase in 2006, in association with my company for 50% each, the vines of Mr. Larthomas, Fayat vineyards in Pomerol - La Commanderie de Mazeyres (10 hectares), Prieurs de la Commanderie (3 hectares) - were enriched with 2 hectares, called Domaine Fayat-Thunevin. This domain also existing in Lalande de Pomerol (3 hectares each) and will soon be available in a famous airline.
The expansion of Vignobles Clément Fayat shows, if proof were needed, how important these properties are to Clément Fayat and his family.

And to meet the challenges ahead, and following my proposal, a full-time Managing Director was appointed. He has the responsibility to sell and market all the wines to Bordeaux trade via brokers as well as sales within the group Fayat, which now has nearly 105 companies and 16,000 employees.
Yannick Evenou, has a strong experience with 20 years in Bordeaux trade (CVBG and Jean Michel Cazes properties). He will be the only person dealing with sales which I handled until now.
I keep for the coming years my role as an outside consultant, for the properties and the Fayat family, also with some marketing and communication responsibilities.
The rest of the team in place in the vineyards is under the responsibility of Peter Meylheuc, COO.

This appointment is a strong signal the family Fayat sends to our customers and suppliers, and confirms that all means are now available for the properties to be the best, and especially that everything will be implemented for Chateau La Dominique to finally reach the status of 1er Grand Cru Classé B
That is the goal Fayat Clement, his wife and children have given us.
It is our responsibility to deserve it.


On October 13th in the evening, we drank at our friends ;
Champagne Moet et Chandon Brut
Domaine de Chevalier rouge 2004, simply delicious and astonishingly drinkable for a vintage usually a bit « too » austere.
Angélus 2004, drank a bit too cold which brought out its austerity. Warmed up in the glass, this wine found again its elegance.
A Pomerol 2006, produced with ambition as it was offered at a price of 120 Euros, hard, vegetal, a total miss. I forgot the name of this cuvee, but not the name of this wine which I didn’t know. I understand why!
At the end, we drank an excellent Pape Clément 2003 which everyone recognizes today that it is one of the best wines in Bordeaux. This reminds me that in our quality-price-ratio reports from the same owner, La Tour Carnet is also included.

For lunch at noon, I drank Montviel 2003 Pomerol from Catherine Péré-Vergé, simply good. It is one of the successes in this difficult vintage, especially in Pomerol.

Harvest, October 14 : Laroque, Plaisance, part of the southern side and in front of the château in Bel Air : only batches able to make Valandraud our 1st wine.

Quinté Sens Club de Bordeaux

Thank you Julien Alemant for forwarding this very good comment published on the their site (in French) :
Château de Valandraud, 1992 vintage, Appellation Saint-Emilion grand cru."The robe is sophisticated, with a mahogany color which reveals the age of the wine, but it retains a certain amount of freshness.

The nose is elegant, beguiling, with intensity and plenty of charm. We easily perceive aromas of cocoa, stone fruits and blond tobacco, married to an obvious and welcome freshness which gives this cru its youthfulness.

The wine offers a languid palate, with incredible softness and exquisite precision. Quite straight, void of austerity, on the contrary, the wine offers a panel of flavors, almost inseparable, forming a harmonious ensemble and very high standard. The fruit is preserved, mixed with a nice leather and subtle notes of humus. The tannins are superb, the length as well. A big wine that transcends the vintage. Congratulations to its creator!Rated 95/100 is a wine that is the pride of the vintage in Bordeaux. "

This 1992 was undoubtedly stored in good conditions, and caused a stir at the time and is probably one of the best Bordeaux wines in this difficult vintage.

With calm and serenity, Bernard Burtschy, one of the best critics in the world of wine has written a good paper (in French) for Figaro's October 8, 2009 edition, to defend a wine world which seems to have such a hard time defending itself.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Harvest 2009 : October 13 recap

In La Dominique, the harvest ended this afternoon. The Cabernet Franc are superb and the memorable Merlot will possibly produce more than 90% of fine wine. That's a great year.

In Haut Mazeris : The Merlots are done, a few Cabernets Francs and Cabernets Sauvignons still remain.

In Valandraud : tomorrow will begin with the Merlots de Bel Air, Laroque and Plaisance will perhaps follow.


Guangzhou, this city with many inhabitants is too close to Hong Kong to properly build a wine distribution network, as Hong Kong offers many advantages: quality network of professionals and ZERO duty!

Several meetings, some disappointing, with surprising questions like "why buy this wine, when I saw in the back, protected by the window of the rare wine display, one of these Second Grand Cru from Médoc that has not interested anyone for over 50 years, at least because it has consistently been mediocre. This definitely has to change. "
That’s the advantage of being at the bottom... we can only go up and that’s for the best. Congratulations to the new generation that will have this handicap and fortunately also the advantage of the 1855 classification!

Lack of retort, difficulty of communicating in a subtle way, I should have found arguments, but tired and a bit destabilized by this disconcerting professionalism, after the reception and the kindness I received in Hong Kong, which had organized 3 tastings :
- attentive sales team (almost too)
- one with a group of customers in one of their fine stores, more casual, young, optimistic,
- and above all, the meal at Chinese restaurant in the Peninsula, so classy where the unobtrusive service was able to bring out our wines with the meal, especially Bellevue de Tayac 2005 Clos du Beau Père-2006, and the Blanc de Valandraud n°2 2006.

Still in Guangzhou, I met a journalist writer, salesman, Chinese professor, who really seems to have fallen "in love" with the wine world. What will he do with the bottle Fayat Thunevin 2006 (Pomerol) sold at a price rather high for this industrial corner of China?

In the evening, we were taken care of by Loulou, a beautiful model who helped us with the harvest in 2007. This friend of Xin, took us around with her friends to good meals (and drink). Such hospitality is surprising, it is rarely offered in our country... Although, I think Murielle and I are rather good hosts!

Planes, trains, subways, services everywhere. For example: the subways are as clean as in Japan, it goes to be said..., complimentary mineral water offered in the trains ...

Everything would have been perfect if I hadn’t seen this bottle of red wine, when I returned to Guangzhou, which made me laugh but is a real problem in China: fakes and counterfeits.
On the same bottle, one could read “Vin de Table - Burgundy - and Cabernet Sauvignon”. I can’t imagine the number of fake Cognac or fake Lafite sold and drank ...

China again
Xiamen, beautiful city an hour away from Hong-Kong and facing the island of Taïwan, the nicely developed beaches could possibly a good place to spend a few days of vacation..
Our hotel, the "Seaside Hotel", looks like one of those buildings built after the war, huge, with the same impact on the landscape than the French buildings built in the 1960s at La Grand Motte.

Our contact, was full attention, delicious meal and a wine list with wines already imported and featuring wines from some of my friends, and it even had a wine shop openly inspired by my shop in Saint-Emilion : L’Essentiel.

I think I will be back to help distribute some of my wines. It’s a pity that the trip lasts 24 hours.

Monday, October 12, 2009


I understand that Parker would only have 55,000 subscribers.
However, how many clients, professionals, wine lovers, producers read his comments and how many times are his notes been used ?
Probably millions of times.

Press wine

For François Mauss : It’s already been 17 years (since 1992) that we put our press wine in the second wine, even in the 3rd wine.
The work done allows us to exclude it from the top cuvee which has already taken the best.
It’s a technique. Some, especially in Medoc, do the opposite.
Go figure François!


Wasps and other sorts of insects love red grapes, especially ours as we leave them longer on the vines and that, filled with sugar, are so attractive to these gourmands (along with wild boars and badgers).
This year, I believe that we’re experiencing a small miracle: the botrytis cinerea - which is always bad for our red grapes, seems to be the "noble" sort of the great Sauternes and whenever I taste one of these seeds, I find it delicious, I hope that it lasts.


Roller coaster : Saturday, October 10, if Banton Lauret had 200 pickers, I would have hired them all to expedite the harvest.
Sunday, following a Saturday of terror, I intervened to calm things down and take a bit of time off. Fortunately, I don’t handle directly the harvest which gives me a more “detached” view.
This morning, we picked the Merlots from Badon and Prieuré Lescours. This afternoon, it will be the Merlots from Haut Mazeris (Fronsac)

Today, October 12 from 2:30 pm to 7 pm, an event is taking place at the Fouquet’s (99 avenue des Champs Elysées 75008 Paris). It is organized by the Amateur de Bordeaux and the Bottin Gourmand and is reserved to members of the industry!
La Dominique, Fleur Cardinale, Valandraud and Haut Carles will be represented by Barbara Engerer.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Update on the harvest

Friday, we harvested young vines of merlot in Fongaban, Laroque and Cateau.
We’ll start again on Monday and probably go on for the whole week. Some vineyards will be harvested more than 3 weeks after our neighbors, hail being partly responsible for the delay in ripening we expected, the drought this summer and our stubbornness to do better every year in order to remain in the top wines of the world - Bordeaux has long ceased being the center of the world.
We had lunch with a large group of Brazilian journalists (I’m starting to enjoy it), some I already met in Sao Paulo, accompanied by Mexican journalists.
This will be a harvest meal, with a single dish: couscous, and some wines from Bordeaux in the absence of Mascara, star wine of my native Algeria.

I read in the newspaper Sud Ouest:
Cadet Piola was sold to the insurance company La Mondiale. It constitutes a beautiful group of quality terroir and again is a strong signal about the great potential of wines from St. Emilion.

We attended the harvesters lunch at Croix de Labrie, Wednesday, October 7, 2009, in Michel and Ghislaine’s cellar for the pickers and table d’hôtes for friends. The opportunity to have fun and drink good bottles of wine made here.
Petite Chapelle 2005, Croix de Labrie 2007 hyper concentrated Merlot, Croix de Labrie 2006 of a quality level and texture of the best wines of Bordeaux and of course the excellent 2005;
What progress already made since 1991 Croix de Labrie, which has been given glorious titles like “garage wine”, “vin de salon” (Bettane) and “liquid Viagra” (Parker).

Friday, October 9, 2009

Harvest and Brazil, again

Today, Thursday, October 8 the following grapes were picked :
In Pomerol, the Merlots from Bourgneuf. The parcel in front of Clos du Beau Père still has to be picked, as well as the Cabernets Francs.
In Margaux, we will pick the Merlots before Saturday
In Lalande de Fronsac, the Merlots on Friday
In Saint Emilion, young vines of Merlot in Fongaban on Friday

Again Brazil where they know how to use the internet and post videos on youtube.
You can see me answer in French questions in Portuguese, translated by Carlos.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Harvest... maximum stress

Haut Mazeris, 5 hectares of the 10 the property were done Monday and Tuesday. For the rest?

Carles, 1 hectare done…. The rest ?

La Dominique, La Commanderie de Mazeyres, Prieurs de la Commanderie : all the Merlots are in. We still have to do the Cabernets Francs.

Valandraud : nothing yet

Clos du Beau Père : 2 hectares out of 4

Margaux : nothing yet

My daughter’s vineyards : 20 % already picked

Etc…. The harvest will start again on Monday !

For a bit of destressing, Vive Brazil as everything seems to work for them right now:
1/ 2009 : The year of France
2/ 2010 : Distribution of Valandraud and all my wines
3/ 2014 : Football World Cup
4/ 2016 : Olympic games
5/ Broadcasting of a TV program about our friend Henrique Sloper and his biodynamic Cafe Jacu, and also about the prettiest journalist in Brazil : Viviane Anselme.

2009, a great vintage

Welcome to this world Paul Serin and congratulations to the happy parents, Patricia and Xavier.

Bernard Magrez

Christian Seguin wrote a portrait of Mister Bernard Magrez in the newspaper Sud Ouest, titled « La sueur et le risque » (Sweat and risk). He could have made different portrait of my friend, the man has so many facets and stories to write about, to tell, to imagine.
Christian Seguin wrote a portrait of me a few years ago in the same newspaper. I was surprised by the accuracy of what he had written and his ability to go fast, at least that's how I first experienced this great article written by Christian Seguin for this paper which, had ignored me for a very long time and my adventure with “garage” wine. Lets not forget that this new venture caused a great stir in Bordeaux establishment.

In the USA, Parker participated in a tasting of 15 Bordeaux from the 2005 vintage organized by the Executive Wine Seminar (it didn’t include Valandraud):
1st Latour, 2nd Angélus, 3rd Pape Clément, 4th Troplong Mondot, 5th Eglise Clinet and Le Gay, etc.
Blind tastings are useful and reading the Grand Jury Européen’s blog too!

This will be a great vintage in Burgundy :
713 men and women voluntarily got naked in a vineyard in Fuissé to make a statement on global warming and take pictures for Greenpeace
I’d like this to happen in Bordeaux!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Harvest 2009, continued

Finally, the harvest started on Monday at Haut Mazeris and, on Wednesday, in a vineyard we have in tenant farming in Saint Sulpice Faleyrens. At this rate, we are far from being done...

The last Merlots were picked at La Dominique, Fleur Cardinale and Haut Carles are going to be soon.
The long awaited ripening has finally reached our vineyards. The first vats which finished their fermentation at La Dominique already taste very good. It feels like the 1989 vintage and I hope we do as good, if not better.

This week will be decisive for us and especially next week for our Cabernet Francs and Sauvignons, as well as for the Merlots located on the plateau.


This weekend, the Financial Times published an article on white Bordeaux and included Blanc de Valandraud.

I also listened to José Ruiz taping for France Bleue Gironde. The same José Ruiz also asked me how to find on my blog the comments I wrote on Terre de Vins. José, you just need to use the search function on my blog and click OK. I also had to ask…

Media, as always: our partners in China (FTI) can read my blog in French, which included to news, was previously difficult to access. Thank you China, thank you Yuyen.

Mr. Bonvallet wrote “Why is there no more to the Cuvée Constance in Leclerc’s Wine Fair? At least in the places I visited, and had mixed comments from the store’s wine staff.”
The person in the store doesn’t seem to do his (her) job properly and instead feels the need to bad mouth a wine he either didn’t know how to sell or doesn’t have on his shelves. He believes he is doing a good thing in case this wine is sold in a competitor supermarket.
Despite having been an “Incredible Leclerc”, they struggled to sell a Vin de Pays de Côtes Catalanes, even “Incredible”, but sold at twice the price of another Vin de Pays… Don’t count on telling stories to Madame Michu… If he could have used Parker’s notes, it could have probably worked.

This wine is now sold in France by my wholesale business, a few stores like Vins & Bières, at the property in Maury, and also in my stores in Saint Emilion or our online store.

Two very big European distributors, one Swiss and one German, share the distribution with an American.

Hard to be a prophet in his own country ... Perhaps central purchasing office of another French chain wants to try distribute this Constance cuvee and all the other wines produced by our partners Jean Roger and Marie Calvet.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The recovery

The recovery has been announced by our famous Dominique Strauss Kahn (IMF).
Meanwhile, I have been contacted by PR firms, ad agencies, 3 in a day is a rare occurrence, especially when it comes from big media firms about wine.
The questionnaire received from Mathilde Hulot for a forthcoming article in the R.V.I. makes senses under these circumstances.
Surprise visit of 2 journalists from the Revue du Vin de France who are currently tasting the 2000 vintage, how lucky. They made me question my opinion about a famous local cru I believed was still underperforming... Only fools never change their opinion, so I will drink this wine as soon as I have the opportunity.
Friday, I was invited for lunch at L’Envers du Décor by Rudolph Wartel to talk about the new Terre de Vin (Land of Wine), which I already gave my opinion on this blog.
In the afternoon, I had an important meeting at La Dominque, Saturday morning I have an appointment with James Lawter at the Chateau de Carles for his new book, hoping it will him write positively about Fronsac.
The harvest will likely begin seriously at our place next Monday.
Neighbors are almost all finished, some already 2 weeks ago...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Harvest 2009

We started slowly this promising harvest, resisting the urge to harvest all seeing the neighbors who have already finished. They might have been right. It's hard to know, except that our grapes, still on the vines, could give us that perfect vintage, mixing 1989/1990/1982 if not 1998 because of my Cabernet Francs! It does not prevent Murielle Christophe and the others to dream while going around the vineyards 1 to 2 times while the vines changes overnight. 15 years ago, I would have already finished the harvest, today, we are barely starting. It’s like Formula 1 racing, sometimes we can skid off the road, but others can also certainly beat world records…

Saint Michel

Tuesday evening, the Michels, Puzio and Gracia, Château Croix de Labrie and Gracia, were celebrating Saint Michel (Saint Michael) at l’Essentiel with their friends. This was a good opportunity to decompress before the 2009 harvest and drink good bottles of champagne, including Blanc de Blanc from Ruinard and Deutz.
After, we invited our friends to our house in honor of Jean-Pierre Xiradakis (owner of the famous restaurant La Tupina in Bordeaux) for a meal prepared by Murielle,
Tomato and vermicelli soup (tomatoes from my father-in-law’s garden) and an appropriate Clos du Beau Père 2006.
Pork Grattons and Pata Negra with Fleur Cardinale 2004 (our friends were staying next door) and rabbit with shallots and morels.
Gracia 2004 to keep on celebrating Saint Michel’s feast with the cheese.
Valandraud 2002 (forgotten vintage) who begins to drink well, and goes gently or longer.
We finished with a cake with rose (made with rose petals), candied figs from Gabarra and ice cream made with Tahitian vanilla and drank Maury 2007 which made Jean-Pierre Xiradakis shed tears of pleasure. He is ready to promote this wine in his restaurant, but how can he sell it, and especially please his friend publisher who was named by the Liberation newspaper “Citizen Kid”, Patrice Amen was the boss of Editions Milan in Toulouse. Maury, figs, Toulouse are a glimpse of happiness