Thursday, December 30, 2010

Saint Emilion classification and controversy

Saint Emilion’s trade organization sent us the draft of the new rules set by the INAO for the next Saint Emilion classification.

The facts in short:
The last classification was supposed to go until 2016. Complaints from some demoted properties cancelled the 2006 classification, and since then, there is a classification with promoted and demoted and newly promoted until 2012.
The project proposed by the INAO today proposes that 50% of the note represents the quality of wine, 20% notoriety, 20% for the terroir and 10% for winemaking facilities and reception rooms.

I simply:
As of now, I know many people in favor of these new rules, but also some very strongly opposed with basically two arguments against the new rules: too much emphasis given to tasting and the outside jury + INAO.

They propose 3 alternatives, depending on the interest of one or the other:
1/ 1/3 for tasting, 1/3 for the price and notoriety, 1/3 for the terroir
2/ nothing changes for everyone with the current classification, classified, demoted, newly promoted until 2016.
3/ End the renewable classification and keep the last one like the style of 1855’s system, in other words, no more classification.
It is difficult; indeed, for everyone to agree about such a project. Each person will have the means (more or less) to intervene with the policy makers, ministers, the president, even the administration or the commission.

Everyone must defend his ideas, interests, but as always in a democracy, the collective happiness has to prevail over the interests of one person.
In addition to local squabbles, there are so many interests as well as different situations - a 1st growth doesn’t want to be demoted, a candidate wants to be eligible, a demoted property wants to be part of it, a non-classified finds it normal to be eligible, so in addition to local problems, I don’t think that our trader friends and Bordeaux brokerage firms don’t have as well an opinion, and I'm not talking about 1855 classification or even the unclassified properties in 1855!

There are two important issues in any case. Is there still a place for Crus classified A, similar to 1st growths classified in 1855? In this case are the 8 first growths open for new contenders for this status? Does the market want it anyway?
As for me who loves Saint Emilion and as always Likes to be a bit provocative, I think that there is no reason that Pauillac, with its 1200 hectares (1966 acres), has 3 Premiers Crus (Latour, Lafite Rothschild and Mouton Rothschild since 1973) and St. Emilion, with 5,500 hectares - 13,590.8 acres - (of which at least 3000 are top level) is not also entitled to 6 classified growths and, anyway, the 6 of them together don’t even get close to the number of bottles produced by Lafite Rothschild (and I do not factor in the second wine!)

So, here are my thoughts offered for this new year, as long as there is some time left .

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wine Journal

On Robert Parker’s web site, Neal Martin presents in his Wine Journal, his special selection for 2010 and in particular Jean Marie Bouldy’s Château Bellegrave 2005, my neighbor of Clos du Beau Père in the René sector in Pomerol.
There will probably be others included in his special selection and discoveries because he is writting a book about Pomerol.

He also mentioned La Petite Sibérie 2007 from Hervé Bizeul. It’s worth checking out all the wines he liked, it’s incredible.

And just for pleasure, his comment – already old, on Blanc de Valandraud 2006 N°1 :

"Tasted blind at Southwold ’06 Bordeaux tasting. An attractive nose here: honeydew melon, cooking apple, apricot with well-integrated new oak. Could this be one of the Saint Emilion whites? The palate is medium-bodied, well balanced with finely integrated new oak, pretty, tropical flavours: mango, star fruit, pineapple with just a faint tang of lemongrass right on the finish. Very fine. Tasted January 2010." N.M. 91 points

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas in Saint Emilion

Lots of people attend Christmas mass in our beautiful church of Saint Emilion. The sermon was about jealousy and pardon.
Following, with a small meal before midnight, a good Domaine des Enchanteurs 2009, Vin de Pays white from the Vaucluse in Provence, a blend of Viognier and Grenache, served with nice langoustines.

The next day with our parents, children and grand-children, Cremant de Bordeaux rose, Valandraud 2005, Virginie 2003 and a very good Yquem 2002.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

It’s starting strong!

Aperitifs to start the holidays: Angélus 1996, Tertre Roteboeuf 1995, a small production Pomerol, so limited that I forgot the name, average wine despite the obvious ambition.
A very good Corton Charlemagne 2003 from Bouchard, a delicious Charvin 2005, Chateauneuf du Pape, made with ripe grapes and still able to be “fresh”. You know what I think of this search for freshness with unripe grapes in order to say that this wine from the South is balanced and easy to drink, and be useful to researchers who can’t find it, except with media oddly convinced, but that's another story, probably more political.
To kill “brother” Parker is such a clear goal… Parker gave 83 points to this 2005 and 97 to the 2007!
Following this Charvin, Saint Prefert 2007 (noted 92 by Parker) more in the “modern” style expected from Chateauneuf du Pape, it should have been served before.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bad Girl – at last!

Following 2 years of aging in his cellars in Montagne Saint Emilion, Lionel Lateyron delivered his first bottles of Bad Girl, Cremant de Bordeaux, which he produced for us with the goal of being one of the best sparkling wines from France, therefore able to rival with the best sparkling in the world and offer a good alternative to basic champagne.

After Bad Boy, Bordeaux; Baby Bad Boy, Vin de France, we had to make Bad Girl.

With now some time to send these bottles to our clients and time to assimilate the disgorgement; the wine will be at its top for Valentine's Day, February 14, 2011.
3000 cases of 6 of 2008 are available for sale, pending the 2009 and 2010.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Calvet-Thunevin Maury 2004

I received a nice little note sent by a wine store in Paris who has a good palate

“I tasted the 2004 Maury VDN (Vin Doux Naturel) Calvet Thunevin. Top, almost as good as the 2003 Vintage Port Quinta do Infantado served before. Of the 21 bottles tasted these two take the first and second place, all VDN combined”

Imperial Valandraud 1992

One of my English friend – and client – organized a big dinner to celebrate the birthday of his son born in 1992. He served at the dinner what he considers the best wine of this vintage (1992), which doesn’t have a great reputation, except in Porto and the Napa Valley.
He told me that the Valandraud 1992 imperial being served was the best Bordeaux 1992 he ever drank.

18 years after producing it, Murielle, I and our friends at that time can be proud of this compliment made by one of the greatest wine professional in the World. It’s probably the beginner's luck that made us notice at the time this great wine, still good today, even bottled.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wine Spectator, continued: comments on comments

Comments made by Julien Viaud (on my French blog) following my article:
“22 wines between 92 and 94/100 (as every year, the first growths, super second and others alike are featured), and 62 wines between 90 and 91/100!!!!
Without questioning the comments made on these wines, what's the point of using a rating scale in which all the notes are tightened and where everything is flat and smooth...”

Julian yes indeed, looking at it that way, all critics give almost the same result and a machine (in French) could possibly write the comments. It is true that one can expects that notes based on 100 would have more differences in accuracy compared to notes based on 20! But you have to take in consideration that men taste (in our place), that the task is not easy, etc... In this particular case, there are a few new things, knowing that there are 80 wines listed with notes out of 450 tasted.
Le Thil 91 points, Fieuzal 90, Manoir de Gay 91, Ferrand 91, Clos des Menuts 90, Défi de Fontenil 91, to compare to Château Margaux 91 or La Mission Haut Brion’s 90, considering, that's not bad compared to the first names mentioned ?!

Let’s not forget that this is part of the game: we are not obliged to read, participate or even comment. But the Wine Spectator is still one of the most influential media, while waiting to see what James Suckling’s site will be like.


Here's a little note received from one of our friends:

“We currently have serious doubts about a pending order for a client based in China, forwarded by a Chinese shipping company who is supposed to pick the wines up in Bordeaux. Problem: we are unable to find any information on the internet on neither the customer nor the shipping company!

According to our terms for such a case, the payment for the wine + transport is supposed to be made by credit card, for the total amount of wine purchased + transport (approximately EUR 1000). According to their request, it is our responsibility to pay the Chinese shipping company, after the money from the Chinese client's card has been credited to our account.”

It is in fact a scam, the same one we experienced before, where the client was supposedly Japanese. It's actually a scam instigated from Africa.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Hurrah for the train

Being able to take the TGV train in Libourne and arrive in the center of Paris 3 hours later is great, even if it is for work
The advantage, compared to Bordeaux airport, is that it's much closer to Saint Emilion and you only have to arrive 5 minutes before boarding.
It is also true that my maternal grandparents worked for the railways where they were in charge of a level-crossing living in a small house in exchange for closing or opening the road for the few trains passing. This sort of job disappeared. This seemed very exotic at the time when we lived in Algeria and came to visit our grandparents in France, in the department of Meurthe and Moselle.
The smell of polish in the house, the chime of grand-mother’s clock, the breakfasts, and homemade liquors made with currant and plum, fishing in the Meuse with a net and fishing line, hazelnuts and bicycle rides. It was before the sixties, there were dining cars where we ate well and jukeboxes in waiting rooms, and the General de Gaulle was everywhere...

And for the weekend, a bit more reading of Hervé Bizeul’s blog (in French).

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wine Spectator

Yesterday, I stayed all day cozy at home: tired, cold, with a bit of flu, etc. Now I am back reading Hervé Bizeul’s blog (in French) who will make new friends with the rich and famous in the world of wine. The latest report from Jean Marc Quarin sounds like an echo to the words of Hervé Bizeul!
On the site of the Wine Spectator, expected (though), James Molesworth’s 1st comments and tasting notes on the top wines of 2008 in Bordeaux, with already a few surprises, discoveries and course confirmations.
His notes are rather low, like Tanzer.

FYI : d’Aiguilhe, Fleur de Bouard, Fieuzal, Faugères, La Violette, Marojallia, La Couspaude, Clos des Menuts, La Mission Haut Brion : 90 points.
Margaux, Palmer, Pichon Baron, Lynch Bages, Chevalier, Smith Haut Lafitte, La Conseillante, Manoir de Gay, Bon Pasteur, Valandraud, Fleur Cardinale, Montrose, Lagrange, Léoville Barton, Défi de Fontenil : 91 points.
Latour, Ausone :94 points
Cheval Blanc, Le Pin, La Mondotte : 93 points

The notes for cheaper and lesser known wines will come out soon and will help sales in the US or elsewhere.

Chateau Valandraud 2008 91 points
"This is sleek, with delicious raspberry and boysenberry fruit, lots of alluring spice and blanc tea notes, and a long, polished finish. Delicious. Drink now through 2019. " J.M.

Chateau Fleur Cardinale 2008 91 points
"Ripe, juicy and flattering, with delicious linzer torte, boysenberry and blackberry compote aromas and flavors, supported by solid grip and nice lingering anise and espresso on the dense, lengthy finsih. Drink now through 2019" J.M.

Grand Cru

What if JFG was right?
Read on the internet: wines from Languedoc, new AOC classification starting 2011 with 2 new categories: Languedoc Grand Vin and Languedoc Grand Cru.
Will the “grand cru” mention help even more?

We drank with an excellent meal prepared by Murielle for 7 guests:
Blanc de Valandraud 2007 still one of the top fine white wines in France
Mauvais Garçon 2007 good and even great considering the vintage
Fleur Cardinale 2001, the 1st vintage produced by the Decoster family and the very first one of a great series of successes
Pingus 2006, a star in the world of wine, a true icon. If you drink it you understand why. All is said.
Valandraud 1998, this bottle was quite good, an incredible proof for those who don’t believe. The reward for the work is in the glass.
Maury 2007 Thunevin-Calvet, what better than this wine to pair with the chocolate cake from Lopez?

Before the meal, we tasted samples of 2009 Valandraud and Fleur Cardinale, as well as a 2008 Valandraud which, once bottled in a few weeks, will be one of best we produced.

It is cold…

If you have any reliable information please share them with the media..... Meanwhile, many rumors are going around: Wine wholesalers being sold, famous properties here in Saint Emilion being sold, and in the Médoc: some classified growths are eager to expand their power and wholesalers to secure their supplies. The appetite of Chinese customers probably contribute to this purchase frenzy, perhaps is it just smoke and of course, money is only being lent to the rich... owners or wholesalers or, more typically it is a normal evolution.

Is Lafite planning to expend? Is Cheval Blanc only building a large cellar as a noble gest?
In any case, it proves the economic vitality of the wine industry, despite what some bankers think, and various cellars here and there…

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The sun rises in...Maury

Last night I had a late dinner at friends in Blaye and, as it was really cold, I only brought southern wines, all made to warm our hearts and the atmosphere.
Clos del Rey 2002, Mas del Rey 2002, Dentelles 2004 from Calvet-Thunevin, Constance 2004 and 2005 and even a magnum of 1996 Vieille Cure Fronsac, quite good (for a Bordeaux )

In my opinion, the right time to drink wines from the Roussillon is now when it is cold: it feels like the sun gets into our veins. I speak, of course, of the southern wines. They taste like the area they come from, not like those who want to stay cold, those have to be drunk during the Summer

Also yesterday at 11 am, we tasted many batches at our place: Bellevue de Tayac finally with a great 2010 (we just had to wait), outstanding batches of 2010 in Saint Emilion, even before malo! Batches of 2009 for the 3rd and 2nd wines are being transferred back in tanks, as the barrel aging is now complete.
Valandraud still has a few months to spend in good new oak barrels, as our friend Hervé Bizeul would say, causing debates on site La Passion du Vin: if new barrels didn’t taste so good, why are they more expensive than old barrels? I'm not sure that’s what he said, but this is what I say to visitors who are being brainwashed with the anti-barrels rhetoric, as if it were that simple.
In any case, our barrel manufacturers are certainly working much better and it is now rare to find issues with aging in new oak.
This is a very personal opinion and non-negotiable.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Carrousel du Louvre, the grand tasting

On the site of la Passion du Vin, I read a comment from François Audouze dated December 13, on Alain Dutournier’s restaurant, le Carré des Feuillants in Paris. This year’s white truffles are particularly fragrant. I hope that the Maury 2007 from Thunevin-Calvet was served with chocolate.

As for us, it was the first time we ate at the restaurant Emporio Armani, 149 boulevard Saint Germain, situated in a great location next to Brasserie Lipp, across the street from Café de Flore, not far from the wine store La Maison des Millésimes. Quality service, stylish, Italian, and for me an all'albese carne, served with a nice cloud of Alba white truffle, which was top quality (with a Carmenère red wine from around Venice). Good brasserie, as well, La Rotunde, 105 Boulevard du Montparnasse.

The wine bar Juvenile's, 47 rue de Richelieu, had a warm atmosphere, its astonishing boss (Tim) is able to be successful without a single drop of Bordeaux, young and charming waiters, quality food and a very pleasant Alion from Ribera del Duero, and a clientele crazy about wine. An address that I highly recommend.
All of this because, or thanks to the Carrousel du Louvre where Bettane & Desseauve organized The Grand Tasting which, this year, was taking place in a large space, the price of success, the number of participants - exhibitors and visitors – had, in my opinion beat any expectation.

It was the opportunity to see, and see again our clients, buddies, friends, enthusiasts and newcomers. We were with Fleur Cardinale and Carles, and 7 on the stand : the Decoster family (Matthieu, Florence and Dominique) for Fleur Cardinale, Didier, Ramuntxo, Murielle and I to present Thunevin Calvet Maury and Dentelles, Bad Boy, Valandraud, Haut Carles. Our neighbors from Terre de Lisse were next to us with Pressac, Rol Valentin and Faugères, our neighbor on the right was the Clos des Fées, and for all of us lots of visitors (12 bottles of samples per wine in 2 days, and using slow-pourers)
It was also an opportunity to speak to the people in charge of PR for various media, and meet Michel Bettane, Bernard Burtschy, Armand Borlant, José Penin, Denis Hervier, Eric Riewer, Angélique de Lencquessaing, our colleagues from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, from the South, and many others I was able to greet, except François Mauss (who I didn’t see) who, in Paris or Hong Kong doesn’t have the time anymore to say hello.
I need to renew my stock of truffles from Perigord if I finally want to drink this Rayas 2002.

Back at the office, I was surprise to see that our landlines were down… and Orange cannot send us a technician until tomorrow morning (professional customer service! ): until then long live cell phones and emails!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Action in Saint Emilion: 2 meetings the same day !

I am not a good audience, not to demanding, or I don’t like audits, bla bla bla…
On December 8, 2010 in the afternoon a meeting took place in the Dominican hall, organized by Le Conseil des vins de Saint Emilion (The Saint Emilion Wine Council), to present the results from an audit made of the Saint Emilion brand.

I don’t know how much this audit cost, who requested it, but I couldn’t stay more than an hour to listen and read all the comments made (actually, today, they started projecting the document read to the audience on a large screen and it is useful…)
There will most likely be a report posted on the internet for all members; I would like it to remain in the memories, especially for all of us who paid for it.
This is the first time I see an audit question a panel so unrepresentative of their client: where was Mrs Michu? But where were Mr. Li, Smith or Jones? (Not the journalist who was in the panel of the audited members, and already very involved, and probably our colleagues. Otherwise why was this audit done?)
It's rare to find as much to say on a subject as difficult as the (collective) brand of Saint Emilion. I left when I realized we had to make fruity wines, not Parkerized, no oak (new) and not too expensive. I did not wait for the rest in case it would become worse...

When I returned home, the meeting had started an hour late, I was able to talk to friends who had attended the entire meeting, which ended at 6 pm, they said that this presentation was interesting, especially at the end. Too bad I did not have the strength to stay; pity this habit of saying important things just 5 minutes before the end of a meeting. The busy man that I am has a hard time with these meetings where there’s a lot of twaddle... blablabla and blablabla as goes the song from the unlikely singer Philippe Katerine.
Oops, when I read the blog I love St. Emilion (in French), I saw that our neighbor and friend Jean Francois Quenin (Chateau Pressac) and president of Saint Emilion ODG commissioned the audit. Thank you Marilyn Widocq Charles.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

No man is a prophet in his country

This is not always true, especially considering the success of our wines in Bordeaux. Indeed, if none of my reps spent time visiting restaurants and shops in our region, there would most likely be no sales!
For some time, the crisis forced us, or perhaps some of my employees are good, to do our job as wholesaler better: we go and visit prospects generating orders and placing our wines on fine wine lists and trendy shops.
The first bottles of Fine Bordeaux de Valandraud have been sold in Bordeaux, before Asia, before Brazil, which surprised me, thanks…

The TGV takes you everywhere, at least to Paris to the event organized by Bettane & Desseauve at the Carrousel du Louvre this Friday and Saturday. We will pour Château Valandraud 2007, Bad Boy 2007, Domaine Thunevin-Calvet Les Dentelles 2007, Haut Carles 2008 and my friends from Terre de Lisse : Château Fleur Cardinale, Château de Pressac, Château Faugères, Château Rol Valentin …

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Fine Bordeaux de Valandraud

The Fine Bordeaux de Valandraud is finally available: 1000 bottles 70 cl bottleds in individual wooden cases, chic and good!

Thanks Bianca !

I don’t speak English, but was able to read the article on the Cuvée Constance 2005 published on November 29, 2010.

I didn’t even ask Cécile or Christian to translate as it was enough with Google Translate… Complicated comment but if it can help deplete stock in the USA.....


The December issue of Revue du Vin de France is full of articles to read, including a report on the architects of wine in Bordeaux, and a re-tasting of the 2001 vintage of classified growths and well known wines, including this comment: 2001, more than a rehabilitation.
I believe that several years ago, the Grand Jury Européen issued a statement and a similar classification and some of my friends bought many bottles of Angelus, Clos L’Eglise, Pape Clement, Rouget, Troplong Mondot, Bon Pasteur, Pontet Canet, etc... And I was able to check extensively their fine quality in their homes during meals.

The purpose in reading the results of the Grand Jury Européen, as well as journalists in general is, for example, to discover the qualities of a remarkable wine like Rouget, yet so understated, brought to our attention by one or more famous critic, this wine being cheaper than the icons which still end-up in good positions in these confrontations?
Meanwhile this weekend, we will taste some of my wines at the Carrousel du Louvre... including Fleur Cardinale, Pressac, Rol Valentin, Faugères and Carles.

A few articles I recently read on the web :
The Chinese market seen by The Wine Cellar Insider
Our projects in India , article published by the Indian Wine Academy
The next Valandraud tasting in Germany (in German).
Christian-Louis Col’s article (in French) on The House of Roosevelt in Shanghai

Also included in this week’s program: the new Saint Emilion classification.
A information meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, December 8 in the Dominican Hall starting at 9:30 am. There will most likely be a lot of people…
Warning, this hall is not named after the Jesuits Hall. There will be some atmosphere and it goes without saying that this new 2012 classification will raise questions, even anxieties.

Well, to prove my point:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Rain and cold weather

Now that rain and cold weather are here, it’s time for the fireplace, newspapers gathering with the family and wine.

With our meal we drank a great Meursault Charmes 2005 Buisson Charles, at the level of a grand cru level and more in the style of a great Puligny with this softness and flavors of hazelnut, paired with a bass caught wild and a tangy reduction, it was top.
2 wines, a bit too old for Murielle’s taste, it was a difficult vintage in Bordeaux: 1997, a bit too vegetal, in any case in Valandraud. In these two wines, no vegetal flavors, maybe they were a bit too over the hill, but good to drink - Monbousquet 1997 being more powerful than Quinault L'Enclos, finer.
With the cold weather, older wines find their place at the table, while Bel Air Ouy 2008 is light and, of course, with plenty of fruit and a hint of vanilla. It will certainly please anyone who like young wines.

Below, here is a more romantic comment written by Anthony regarding one of our wine: Fayat-Thunevin 2007 Pomerol
"When the right conditions are met.

An important event but with no pressure, our 2 years anniversary, spent at home on a Saturday evening. We started with a nice Sancerre, the famous Megalith cuvee 2007 from Domaine de la Perriere, and sat at the table, or rather on the floor because my darling decided so, a birthday meal our buns on the floor. Floored, I was, twice! For paired with the duck magret, and especially the cheese plate from our friend Jean d'Alos, I decided to open a bottle of red. I propose a Bolgheri, then a Chateauneuf, and finally a Pauillac. For each wine my partner's response was identical, NO. After two years I have a good idea of what she likes, but who dares nothing gains nothing! Not wanting to take a chance for this special evening, I decided, half-heartedly, to take the first Pomerol I saw, Domaine Fayat-Thunevin 2007. And there, I remained floored for a good three hours!
As we drank a good deal during that day, I decided to decant only half the bottle, thinking it would help us not to end-up completely drunk. This good intention was thrown out the window against this 2007, a vintage many criticized, yet which can be beautiful when men (woman?) cared for quality. Don’t count on me to describe it with the technical words of enologists, but instead I'll tell you how this nectar fit in with my evening

It started with some coarse words, like "Damn, this is good! As soon as the duck breast was finished, my taste buds were assaulted by a strange sensation, a perfect pairing, a Comte, matured for two years paired with Merlot, perfectly integrated and balanced. With ripe fruit (blackberry?). And your eyes closed made you think that jam is on the cheese. Then came the Brie de Meaux, a cheese that I particularly love but didn’t work well with this wine. This gave him time to open. From there a little game took place, you know the one guessing if the wine or the dish makes you want to keep on eating, even though you're already satiated for quite some time. Tonight the main players in this game were a Fourme d'Ambert and a wine a long finish which grew more and more incredible. We could not stop nibbling until the bottle was finished, and fortunately it happened before the cheese.

Will this wine give me as much pleasure and such emotions the next time, at a tasting or a meal surrounded by people and personalities I don’t like? Sitting in a muffled atmosphere, in company of men and women of high social status who would not understand my love for cheese and my tendency to call the waiter every 10 minutes. This could certainly happen! It doesn’t matter because I will link this Fayat-Thunevin 2007 with this "anniversary" evening, even if I don’t appreciate the next bottle, because there will be another bottle, I assure you dear Jean Luc. "

I recommend reading on PassionVin (in French), the commentary on the comic strip on Parker (and myself)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Hard to believe

For lunch, we drank Bellevue de Tayac 2005 : Dylan told me it tastes very good right now, and he is right. Especially with ceps from Bordeaux, freshly picked Monday or Tuesday.
Beautiful and firm ceps… Hard to believe and still true: Our friend is able to find ceps, even in December!

And for those who want to learn more about the Chinese market, I recommend to read Shen Sijia’s article.


This was one of the themes discussed at a party with friends in Blaye including death, a topic which was very much part of our conversation. It was at least a very appropriate theme, following the amazing lunch I had the day before with my bankers, where the bank’s big boss asked me, after coffee and before leaving, if I had anticipated how my death will affect the survival of my business, and of course about his obligations! That, plus comments like "there is no reason why we, as bankers, wouldn’t be on your side”

Quickly, I asked a friend for a current assessment of my business, properties bought over the past 20 years and which have not yet been reevaluated, and, soon, need to be reported to my banker. I also paid a visit to my doctor for a thorough checkup and ask him when I'll be over the hill. That's to know how long I will benefit from reimbursements.

Drank in Blaye, a producer’s Champagne, Fayat-Thunevin 2007 Pomerol, Clos du Beau Père 2006 Pomerol, Clos Badon Thunevin 2006, Valandraud 2006 and 2005 as well as Bad Boy 2007, this, for the benefit of anti-oxidants.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Monday, for lunch with Marc and Muriel, at the restaurant Chai Pascal, located rue Guadet, we paired with the daily special, a great Moulin Haut Laroque 2004. Such finesse, such fruit, what a beautiful and nice Fronsac!

Tuesday, lunch at home with our bankers: Valandraud Blanc 2005, very good wine, proof that similar changes affect red wines, with phases of opening and closing, and Valandraud 2005 red which tasted very good that day, favorable day for wines. As for the bankers it’s another story...

I am in my period of expectation, as I despair to convey our sales from the futures campaign. In terms of numbers: 2009 is for example much higher than the cumulative figures of 2008 and 2007 and similar to the figure for 2000! As for 2010, I have no idea!
Ideally, I should not need my bankers and sell my business every 3 years to reassess its value, for it is not listed: my INC is only worth what a company would be willing to pay to acquire it.
Funny world we live in where states can go bankrupt, banks too, but where a small French company must have capital and profits guaranteed by tons of certainty, security and guarantees.
I will be forced to do a LBO, LBI or OBO (check Wikipedia), create a holding, open my capital to be able to expend my business?

Friendly meal

Friendly meal for 10 people here in Bordeaux and the list of wines we drank

Champagne still in the barrels 2007
Champagne Krug grande cuvée NM

Puligny-montrachet 1er cru Clavoillon Domaine Leflaive 2005
Meursault-Caillerets Coche Dury 2005
Meursault Arnaud Ente 2005

Clos Vougeot Grand Cru Domaine Eugénie 2007
Latricières Chambertin Domaine Trapet 2004
Pommard Epeneaux Comte Armand 2004

Morey Saint Denis premier cru Domaine Bizot 2000
Auxey Duresses premier cru Comte Armand 2000
Pommard Les Vignots Domaine Leroy 1997

Monbazillac Chateau Vari 2003
Réserve du Chateau

All these wines were good, even very good, a special note about the champagne still in barrels, made from organic grapes, and brut O, able of competing with some of these great Burgundies. Not just a fun wine, to celebrate, with bubbles (besides, he had very few bubbles), a fine wine, I cannot wait to drink it again after its release.

The 2007 Clos Vougeot, way too young, made me appreciate Clos Vougeot again and especially the 1997 Pommard Les Vignots from Domaine Leroy which was, in my opinion for a very longtime, at the level of the best Burgundies.
I thought that in Bordeaux, you only drink Medoc or Grave. However, this meal proves that some people know Burgundy. When will there be such curiosity for Right Bank wines?
After all, we are the “Burgundy” of Bordeaux, aren’t we?

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Lanefle cites again a good word from Pierre Desproges (read on the site La Passion du Vin and to please Philippe G.)
“We don’t have any more great men, but small ones who indulge and jump from right to left with serenity and with incompetency bordering on a lack of respect.”

Desproges also said : “Women and Bordeaux, I believe are the only two reasons to be alive”

Thursday, I drank with my attorney and Murielle the whole series of wines opened and drank the day before.
The wines held up beautifully to oxidation, and we opened a bottle of Clos Badon 2008 (probably the best since 1998).
The prices in Bordeaux for this vintage, for wines sold on this open market, are increasing. A combination of quality and the domino effect from the high prices of 2009.

In order or random ...

Yesterday at 4 pm, Marion decided not to run over me with her car and told me “do not cry, the steel bath with claw foot“..., and I replied “becoming too soft or becoming dry and thin, drink or analyze, difficult choices, a bit of both? "
It’s disjointed, but that’s what it was... Understand what you will!

We were 4 for lunch:
Jacquesson brut 731, delicious, a fine wine drank just a bit cold.
La Petite Sibérie 2003 from Hervé Bizeul (Roussillon), one of the finest wine in the world: it was pure pleasure, a delicacy with a whole fresh black truffle with olive oil (from the same Hervé Bizeul).
Truffle omelette with VIT 2007 from Chapoutier (Roussillon) – refermentation problem ?
Pingus 2005, a beauty paired with a daube de joues de bœuf (beef stew), potatoes with garlic croutons. It should be mandatory to drink to experience the pleasure to drink this very fine wine from Ribera del Duero (Spain).
Following, we drank a sample of 2010 Valandraud, from the north facing hillside, Merlot, bursting with strength before its malolactic, a 2009 vintage a bit shadowed by this 2010, and 2005 particularly great, a good fine Bordeaux.
Then, Maury Thunevin-Calvet 2007, great with desert, figs from Fongaban, stolen (after approval) from our friendly neighbors, with Tahitian vanilla ice-cream.

It was a friendly meal that allowed us to enjoy eating and growing up, we are so afraid of growing old, yet another paradox ...
Nice words were said during the meal, such as compassion, and children’s jokes and learning a new word (it’s becoming a habit): sycophancy. All this because of figs.
Go to Wikipedia and you will know the origins of this word.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Are you scatovinophile or scatovinophobe ?

Scatophagous feed on feces of other species, not theirs, thank God
In the world of wine, in addition to pedovinophiles who prefer immature wine, adolescent or barely born who love the smell of youth, flowers, fresh fruits and fresh flesh in wine, there are probably cases in necrovinophiles interest in aromas so called animal (sick horse) rot, old mop of poop whose origin is known - Brettanomyces: digression in vinification from ancient origin, such as volatile (vinegar smell).
Some wine connoisseurs are scatovinophiles because in that time, some fine wines from Bordeaux, Chateauneuf du Pape, Burgundy, had pronounced caracteristics, recognized and appreciated because or thanks to this deviation. Today few nostalgic enthusiasts still appreciate these aromas when they are not too strong nor vulgar, and others are like hounds in search of "brett", obsessed by these putrid aromas - like Guy Bedos and Sophie Daumier would say!

With a bit of attention in mundane or professional tastings, you could rub shoulders both antagonist species.
I must confess, I am not too obsessed with the smells of brett which, often, gives flavors of ripe black truffle to some old wines and I would say that, as always, the dose makes the poison ...
Certainly in our vinification cellars today, everyone is informed and fighting to produce the purest and clearest wines. Some may regret those bretts which could give wine the same flavors as camembert or cheese made with unpasteurized milk rather than those made with pasteurized milk...

Some enologists, some property managers have even built their reputation on these bretts so unwanted today. Lets not forget that some Belgian beers such as Gueuze Lambic, have some of these characteristics, made on purpose with those damn Brettanomyces Bruxellensis. In any case, nothing comparable with those fans who still accept wine affected by these molecules of tetrachloroanisole (TCA), pentachloroanisole, trichloroanisole that give wines that dreaded taste of cork and that Muriel and I cannot stand, even in small dose!

I stop drinking coffee in the morning !

(This is the first volume of a forthcoming book of reflections published by the author)

It deserves a chapter in a book, or perhaps even a theses for a PhD.
Globalization of taste, wine in particular, a theme that some people enjoy for they think they are invested with a quasi-mystical mission to defend the "true values" of wine, some are French, some journalists, some blogs even cite, these days, the word terrible and demonic term: globalization of the wine palate (Parker, Rolland, even for the most knowledgeable, "garage")

Last Tuesday morning, while taking a stroll with my dog, I too had a moment of fear of this parkerisation- rollandisation – bettanisation of wine.
Max, my dog, a bit traumatized by these existential questions, suddenly stopped and raised his right back leg and peed on the tire of an old car, an ageless jalopy, one of those cars from the 70s: a Renault 4L!

Nothing in this world is made by luck, everything is written, is organized by a supreme being up there, who governs our lives.
So this dog, the tire, the urge to pee ... for real? to mark his territory? or send a message to me?
Enlightenment hit me (I didn’t get hurt, thank you.): forget it.

For anyone foreign to our beautiful language it means: do not pay attention and let people calm themselves down. This is what anxiety over globalization triggers in my mind at 6 o'clock one morning in Saint Emilion.
Quickly, I read on other sayings:
bien faire et laisser braire (do good and let them bray), and back to Max: Let the world say what it will.

You see, morning coffee is too strong.
True that I just got back from Brazil and drank the famous Jacu coffee..


2011 is already around the corner

Vineobar (in French) published comments on their blog.
It is rare to have an intern (who I have not met) be so active, efficient and involved. He is opening a wine bar and with such energy, no need to have Red Bull for the opening scheduled in 2011.

I tasted Tour des Termes 2009 from the barrel, the wine is even better than during the futures campaign, goes to show the level of this still unknown wine. This year’s objective is for anyone looking to find a reasonable wine in this noble appellation (Saint Estèphe), to discover this wine. The 2010 samples tasted before malolactic were already very good, the wine is full, concentrated, ripe and especially balanced despite or thanks to a sharp pH this year which balance the alcohol level perfectly. I can’t wait to see how it evolves after malos, I am happy that a broker brought it to us, for even though my company is mainly focused on the Right Bank, we already had a few successes with Marojallia and the more discreet Clément Pichon.
While waiting for 2011, success for my property in Margaux where finally Bellevue de Tayac produced a nice bottle.
See you in March.

Events, for sure...

Grand Tasting in the Carrousel du Louvre : we received a few requests for invitations. We just have a few left, I recommend to order them soon in order to leave enough time for the post to deliver them…

Several events are taking place in Maury: Things are moving in the Roussillon
As for us, Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 December, will be open-door in the cellar of Thunevin-Calvet. Tasting, tour and sales just before Christmas, the last big push for our partners and their new sales manager, Ramuntxo Andonegui.
According to Jean-Roger, sales are looking good. One thing is certain is that this is not a business where the return on investment is rapid. We started this adventure in 2001 and will probably start to be a bit more financially relaxed in a couple of years.
What is also certain is that, as always, sales are the main component for any business, and that bankers only provide you an umbrella when the weather is nice.

How to make a small fortune in wine? By starting with a big one. Local Bordeaux saying which can be applied in every region.
Hospices de Beaune saw record prices… Is it due to the Lafite effect? 400.000 Euros for a 500 litre barrel, and in all close to 5 million Euros in sales, with Fabrice Lucchini as guest star.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Wednesday evening, I attended a diner in a fine restaurant : Le Saint James in Bouliac ran by a famous chef Michel Portos, invited by the head of a large French company.

The setting is always so beautiful: amazing views of the city, quality service, professional, which is not so common in France. 10 people around a round table in a nice private room
Champagne Luis Roederer brut, very good
Condrieu, les Terrasses de Palat 2009, Domaine François Villard : a way to reconcile me with Condrieu, superb and very good wine. Proof that in Bordeaux, you can drink other wines than Bordeaux…
Et Château de Pez 2005 Saint Estèphe.
So, it was a fine meal and for me I ended with a nice series of desert such as Blanc Mangé Coco (a sort of coconut custard), Lemon Tuiles with coriander sauce and pineapple sorbet and an excellent Baba au Rhum Saint James (can’t refuse )

Very pleasant conversation around this table, top managers, top government officials, a colleague. No famous names, too bad, but this meal was really meant to be for high level networking and I'm always surprised to be part of it, and today, invited to such group which I never thought or dreamt of mixing with.
Vive Bordeaux and its wines, responsible for all this great adventure for me and thank you Virginie, PR Director of this fine group, for inviting me. I am not yet jaded.

Robert Parker and the seven heady sins – the anti Parker guide

Many people attended the book signing event for the comic strip written by Benoit Simmat and Philippe Bercovici, and paradoxically (in my humble opinion) a lot of people who owe much of their commercial and media success to Robert Parker.

Go figure, Charles.... That there would be anti Parker is understandable, but pro Parker like us ? What were their motives ?
As for us, the fact of being included in a comics trip, is a sort of consecration, and I didn’t think that this comic strip was not so anti parker, despite its subheading “The anti Parker guide”!
In the meantime and for 12 Euros, we are able to get our copies signed and 2 caricatured sketches.

Thank you the authors and especially the boutique-bookstore L’Envers du Décor which hosts from time to time such quality events.
Before each trip, I buy in this bookstore 1 or 2 novels and this time it was Joyce Carol Oates “My Sister, My Love”, a complex story, with amazing atmosphere, the description of a particular American society, a good book.

Brazil - San Paulo

Following a flight Hong Kong-Paris with a 5 hour layover in Roissy and then another flight Paris-San Paulo, in other words more than a day of flying time, and 10 hours of time difference, I arrived at the Mercure Hotel in San Paulo then went with our distributor to visit a biodynamic wine fair held in a wonderful setting.
Unfortunate that INAO style glasses don’t show well in hot and humid climate, considering that some of properties belonging to this “club” produce great wines.

The next day, we had lunch at “Churrascaria Vento Haragano”, an incredible barbecue restaurant where carnivorous human beings can eat as much as they want all different kinds of meat: beef, lamb, chicken, pork and even wild boar. It is even possible to eat grilled fish, salmon or tambaqui!
In the evening, I participated in a grand tasting for sommeliers and top clients of our distributor where 18 vintages of Valandraud were presented, from 1992 to 2009, which is still aging in barrels and can prove that it is better than 2010! 8 journalists, the ABS association of Brazilian sommeliers and a dozen clients, plus a few winemakers from Spain (Rioja), Australia, Austria and the members of Casa do Porto, our distributor.

The organization was perfect as well as the comments from Andreas Larsson, best sommelier in the world in 2007

Blanc de Valandraud 2007 : Murielle must have heard the positive comments all the way to Saint Emilion, then in order, from the oldest to the youngest :

Valandraud 1992 simply amazingly harmonious and complex. The best Bordeaux in this difficult vintage. At his top (according to me !)

Valandraud 1993, not so ripe, a classic Bordeaux, unbelievable for a garagist. Still youthful, wait 5 to 10 years to be at its best?

Valandraud 1994 another difficult vintage, perfect wine, rich, full, fat, not as austere as I expected, is becoming very good, probably one of the 2 best wines of the vintage in Bordeaux. Near its peak.

Valandraud 1995 everyone in the microcosm world of wine knows the success of this 1995 vintage, able to be complete, sexy, complex, Right Bank style, with still plenty of years to go. In any case, already so good to drink for the past 10 years. It reached the 1st place for Bordeaux at the Judgment of Paris organized by the Grand Jury Europeen.

Valandraud 1996 almost medoc style, a classic Bordeaux and still nice to drink. One of the best 1996 from the Right Bank, but far from the best Left Bank.

Valandraud 1997 paradoxically more successful than 1996, still a difficult vintage, yet we didn’t have this hype for the vintages of the century. Good wine, very small production because of the strict selection and we were right to do so.

Valandraud 1998 is, without a doubt, still one of the best Bordeaux in this very successful vintage in the Right Bank (less in the Left Bank). 50% Cabernet Franc and 50% Merlot, which makes an interesting Valandraud, but God, this wine is so complex, rich, aromatic and so delicious.

Valandraud 1999 still with aromas of truffles, complete, fat, ready to drink now with a meal. This wine is past its ungrateful stages from this rainy vintage, probably one of the most concentrated wines in this vintage.

Valandraud 2000 perfect wine, exuberant nose, elegance, one of the least concentrated Valandraud, I found it very good, is improving with aging, a very good sign.

Valandraud 2001 much too young, lest taste it again in 10 years, even later.

Valandraud 2002 one of our most concentrated wines, forgotten vintage, superb now in the young wine category, black and silky and with great length.

Valandraud 2003 not a hint of being too old nor stress due to the drought in this fake great vintage where fabulous wines were made (Latour, Cos d’Estournel, Mondotte, etc…). To be revisited in at least 10 years.

Valandraud 2004 Every time I think this vintage begins to open, the wine must be decanted one day in advance and served at a higher temperature. Extreme concentration, to be drunk by anyone with anti-oxidants deficiency!

Valandraud 2005 Finally a pleasurable vintage, one of those great vintage, which can be considered "of the century". Very good, much too young at this stage, concentration, sweetness, complexity, ripe fruits, sweet grapes, a very promising future. Not to be included in a series of classic wine…

Valandraud 2006 The beginning of a change in style. Even more purity, more feminine in this blockbuster, charm and power in this very young wine.

Valandraud 2007 The surprise. So good, even today, with all this work on the wood, ripeness and the fruit are obvious in this vintage which actually provides so much pleasure, despite its reputation.

Valandraud 2008 very classic, made to age (30, even 40 years), it will be a reference wine, however for patient drinkers. A great vintage, A great vintage in the best sense of the word. Rich, concentrated, and yet with fine tannins.

Valandraud 2009 sample taken from a barrel, without a doubt the best Valandraud since we created it in 1991 and that we would have never dreamt of achieving such a beautiful story and such a great 2009, until 2010 confirms that one can never say never!

This wonderful tasting, highly professional was able to convince our Brazilian friends Valandraud’s qualities, even when compared to 1st growths from 1855. May she bring us luck in this long history of the 1st grand cru classé G. .... for garage, of course

Finally, for the first time we presented at a professional tasting, our Fine Bordeaux recently bottled and which, served by Andreas Larsson in appropriate pretty glasses, and after a Viking song before drinking transported the audience in a frenzy worthy of a star.
Thanks Ariel, Pericles, Andreas.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Grand Tasting in Paris

We have invitations for the Grand Tasting taking place in Carousel du Louvre in Paris on December 10 and 11 2010, from 10:30 am to 7:30 pm.
Watch-out… you risk liking our wines… and even buy some


Following Lafite, a new record was broken by an Imperial bottle of Cheval Blanc 1947, authentic for it was reconditioned at the chateau, and sold in Geneva for $304,375 (Imperial : 6 L, or 8 bottles)

French gastronomy was just inducted in the World Heritage. It was requested by France, and as it is customary in our country, many skeptics thought that it was ridiculous and impossible. And yet, here is the French culinary art-de-vivre, seasonal meals, wine, conviviality, highlighted as if to protect it from disappearing or degradation.
I imagine, even wish the same for Italian, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, etc… cuisines.

The 2010 harvest is over and devating will be finished around November 25. We are now hoping for a nice series of malolactics with no incidents, and by mid January-February, we will finally have a precise idea of the potentials of these 2010 batches.
In the meantime, I rarely tasted such bright fruit as we have this year, and this is probably due to exceptional pHs and acidity and still full ripening.

Izak Litwar, who visited us in October to taste both 2008 adn 2009 vintages just published his tasting notes.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair

The Bettane & Desseauve Grand Tasting in Hong Kong was perhaps our best show.
Anyway, we should see the impact in 3 or 6 months, but between our clients who took this opportunity to come and see us and extend their range from our portfolio, and Ramuntxo who was in charge of presenting our Thunevin-Calvet with our selection from the Roussillon: Constance, Dentelles, Hugo and 3 Marie (we forgot again the Maury!). The wines from the Roussillon are adapted to the Chinese palate: soft tannins, velvety and sweetness provided by the Sun ... Too bad Bordeaux is not featured on the label because luckily for me, Bordeaux remain the "reference".
Lafite and Carruades de Lafite open many doors to all their colleagues and for us who are not so far apart, as soon as curiosity is sparked by understandable words such as small volume, exclusive, the story of garagists, Valandraud and especially Bad Boy work well. We had meals with clients, met colleagues negociants or winemakers unexpectedly, had a great Chinese meal at the Shangri-La with an excellent Pape Clement 2002 and an ambitious Fronsac, Aria 2002 served with a fine crab dish.

The auction organized by Acker Merral yielded again incredible prices for some icons bought by wealthy Chinese who love nothing less than having the best as, I think, was the case for the U.S. market not so long ago, in the years 80-85 when the dollar was so strong against the franc (500,000 dollars? euros? 3 Lafite 1869!)
Do we realize how lucky we are? We need to understand and respect our customers who learn so quickly the written and unwritten rules of our wine business.
For your information, it was the same for the Fête du Vin (Bordeaux celebrates wine style) which attracted 111,388 visitors in Hong Kong the previous week !

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Before Hong Kong, I stopped in Shanghai to visit FTI, the company created 3 years ago by my partners to promote and sell wine.
I visited their new offices, the warehouse and meet with a few of FTI’s clients and prospects. A tasting organized for VIPs in the famous restaurant of Jean-Georges in Shanghai, on Bond.

Blanc de Valandraud N°1 2005 which was the highlight
Virginie de Valandraud 2006
Château Valandraud 2001- 2000-1999-1998-1995
And Maury 2007
Valandraud 1998 was well received by fine wine lovers as well as our host, Jacky. If any of the people attending would use one of our wines as their end of year gift, we would be out of stock!

Big wine consumers, the diaspora, which, it seems, includes more than 15,000 French expats, are all full of energy, go out a lot and often dine in restaurants and drink better and better.

Bad Boy will be poured by the glass in 3 or 4 luxurious and hip restaurants.
In the meantime Baby Bad Boy and Bad Girl !

Bordeaux-Mérignac airport

When you fly from Bordeaux Mérignac for a trip longer than 4 days, you have to park far from the airport in parking P4. Passenger-luggage then take a shuttle bus to the terminal.
However, after having more than adequate service with shuttles every 10 minutes, they’ve changed the schedule to 15 minutes and when I arrived on Saturday, November 13 it was 20 minutes, if I understood correctly the phone number (badly) posted giving the waiting time for this shuttle. I, along with another furious and angry passenger, waited 30 minutes with the bus parked in front of our eyes and locked, and the driver, who probably had little interest in customer service, must have been busy reading his newspaper in a warm place or drink his coffee or perhaps even having a drink, or a meal?

The driver didn’t even apologies. We felt we had been taken hostage by a private company.
Travelers, please, make sure that allow enough time for your trip or you’ll risk missing your plane or your connection to the train, if you are on a returning flight.
For your information, you have to pay for parking (I paid 60 Euros for 12 days), mandatory, and the shuttle service is free, but in this instance, I think that Bordeaux chamber of commerce, who is in charge of the airport, should set up a mailbox for any complaints.
I have a hard time to believe that this situation will last, with the risk of seeing travelers choose the TGV instead of the plane to go to Paris and its unavoidable airport.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Gentleman Classic Car in Bellevue de Tayac

Recently, we had the pleasure to receive the fine group from Gentleman Classic Car (in French) at Bellevue de Tayac. These fine cars enthusiasts organize small tours of vineyards to discover chateaux and crus.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The wines from the Roussillon in the papers

In the last issue of the newsletter published by the trade representative organization for the wines of the Roussillon (Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Roussillon), Sud de France (dear to Mr Georges Frêche), the president, Fabrice Rieu, writes about optimism, of a new message.
He deserves to be thanked, as well as newspapers regularly featuring the Roussillon, for many good things take place in this beautiful region, as long as it is communicated.

I recently tasted with a journalist, just to have his opinion, a few of our wines:
Starting with our little cuvee :
Calvet Thunevin Constance 2003 a bit tired
Calvet Thunevin Constance 2004 surprisingly powerful, good
Calvet Thunevin Constance 2005 the level improves, complexe and refined
Thunevin Calvet Constance 2006 still closed

Calvet Thunevin Dentelles 2005 very good, rich and balanced
Calvet Thunevin Hugo 2005 rich and concentrated, with great acidity, balanced and superb, a very fine wine.

And our very high end:
Calvet Thunevin 3 Marie 2004, 100% grenache, black as ink, fine tannins with incredible class for this wine not meant for every palate, able to rival with top wines from Spain, Australia or even Napa !

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cars, wine : same thing ?

I had another dream… actually a nightmare.

Everyone in Bordeaux, including of course, the classified growths, those of 1855 and the others, all take good care of their vines: leaf thinning, green harvest, manual harvest, vibrating machines to sort the grapes, the latest destemmer, seed selection, cold, heat, skills, and more....
If all the great terroir do the same, if all the historical crus do the same, how come Valandraud still has a place with the best?
Well it's simple, I am also fortunate to have vines in good terroir, there, no reason to stress. All the comments heard during my early days, made by jealous people proved to be false and those who believed in Valandraud were right!

It makes me think about old cars, unreliable, always breaking down, even those beautiful and expensive ones, such as English ones or those more showy, from Italy, our beautiful Dauphines often seen with their 4 wheels in the air, and fast rusting chrome .
All this was fine at the time, nostalgic today, but if progress has made cars more reliable, there is also globalization of taste. If I believe those nostalgic, yes...... but if I look at what’s available to me: the Mercedes S class is different from Porsche, itself different from BMW, and I do not even mention Citroen and Peugeot!
All those cars are reliable, but they are quite different if you look at them, their interior, when you touch them, smell them, drive them and how they age…

Doesn’t this remind you about wine ? And not those garage ones.

All wines taste the same according to doomsayers, and still, what a difference between Figeac and Cheval Blanc! What a difference between Valandraud, my top cuvee, and Virginie de Valandraud! And still, they come from the same terroir, same technique, same means.

Cars cannot exceed 130 kms/hr on the highways, but after driving 400 kms, you will be in a different state of freshness depending on the car.

Every watch gives you the time, even if anyone can succeed in life even without having a Rolex. I still dream about beautiful luxurious watched such as Zénith, Patek Philippe, Breguet, Audemars Piguet, Richard Mille, Chopard… I don’t know all of them…(and my Seiko still works well !)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Chateaux in Spain... or in Bordeaux

The attraction for Bordeaux fine wines cannot be denied, and this is especially true today for the price properties.
Well known chateaux or just beautiful and even just having the criteria for improvement by the beauty of the terroir and synergies of prestigious appellations: Saint Emilion, Pomerol, Margaux, Pauillac, etc. ...

This makes many rich enthusiasts dream and these wines are part of the full range of items needed to show success (not just Rolex ).

Owning an apartment in Saint Tropez, a Caribbean island, having a bank account in Switzerland (?), chateaux in Bordeaux attract investors from all over the world, and that's good. Especially since the money put in by the purchase must also be accompanied by investments in real estate, equipment and especially personnel.

This money is invested in our area and most investors bring with them their cash, their skills and also their networks, connections and ideas, and all of that is good for everyone.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Baby Bad Boy 2009

Finally our labels are printed, we are just waiting for the back label of this 1st Vin de France available before November 30, 2010.

45,000 bottles produced with the help of Claude Gros. A blend of Merlots from Bordeaux and Grenache from Maury.
I hope to see this wine served in hip bars, night clubs and karaoke throughout Asia : China, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan… for as opposed to France, in these countries, red wine takes market share from Champagnes, Cognacs and Whiskies.

Murielle and Philippe had a profitable morning strall :

Spare the rod and spoil the child

In the last issue of TAST, Bettane and Desseauve published an in-depth editorial on Alsace, its fine wines and other various and diverse articles.

Here is what I found on page 122. I am not sure if I understood everything correctly, so I will include the text below so any intelligent readers can explain the conclusion, if there is one:

“And as a last example, lets quote the mavericks, advocates of self-networking. Jean Luc Thunevin is the champion of website repercussions. His articles are read and commented on, and give him a promotional platform, rightly so, and exchange. His blog is available in French and English, Chinese and Japanese (much less up-to-date for Asian languages). There, some big issues arise! We read the topic about Michel Rolland’s speech at INSEEC on wine in 2050 (criticized for talking about Coca-Cola’s strategy) and Jean Luc Thunevin’s arguments "It is true that often in France, success is a defect, suspect "(...). You are not wrong Mister: there's no shame in selling. Hurrah to profit.”
1/ Who is Mister ? me, Rolland ?
2/ "there's no shame in selling. Hurrah to profit." : 2nd or 3rd degree ? it was written by Véronique Raisin for (against, with ?) Michel Bettane and Thierry Desseauve.

I also recently read, yet another Judgment of Paris organized at Lavinia in Paris which highlighted the superiority of French wines (phew!).
The fact that Pichon Longueville Baron arrived 1st doesn’t surprise me, for this wine is a sure value. the second place went to l’Arrosée 2005 which it deserved for the work done, especially considering the stars which followed.
Only the photo was a bit strange for it showed a bottle of 2004 l’Arrosée. So, was it 2005 or 2004?

Monday, November 1, 2010

October 28 2010 : tasting the first batches

The old Merlots picked in front of cellar of Prieuré Lescours are of the quality of Valandraud, the Malbec from Bel Air Ouy are incredible, the Merlots from Clos du Beau Père, picked around the cellar are powerful and the Petit Verdot from Bellevue de Tayac are as good as they gets, especially for such a varietal we use in minute quantity in our blend.

The Phs, before malo, are astonishing : between 3.30 and 3.60. They are providing freshness and brightness, unusual at this stage of the vinification.
Devating will begin next Tuesday, at the same time as we will be picking the Cabernets Sauvignons and Carmenères from Valandraud – Bel Air Ouÿ.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Read in the newspaper Sud Ouest, or on blogs

The Chateau Carmes Haut Brion was sold to developer Patrick Picher. This Pessac Léognan is one of the most famous small properties less than 5 hectares.
Our wholesale business had the privilege of getting a very small allocation and was also able to sample this rare wine at tastings organized by the UGC (Union des Grands Crus).

In St. Emilion, the harvest is almost finished, and the next few days of sunshine and cold night will help latecomers to pick top quality grapes.
I am convinced that Fleur Cardinale, Sansonnet and even us will have crisp wine with remarkable freshness, even if it seems impossible oenological speaking.

The appreciation of all the consulting enologists is so different and their opinion so diametrically opposite that I can only encourage them to come taste the futures in March 2011!

Good moments

After visiting the cellars of Clos du Beau Père in Pomerol, Prieuré Lescours and Saint Emilion, I can say that this year, the fermenting wine smell great, with beautiful and bright colors, and that the grape juice is naturally very sweet, with alcohol levels between 14 and 15 degrees for the Merlot and even for the Cabernet Franc.
There is certainly good potential, after tasting the first 2 dry batches, in other words when all the sugar has been transformed into alcohol, and before the maceration phase to extract concentration and harmonize of all components of the wine. Long maceration, or short: it will be short for the Petit Verdot in Bellevue de Tayac.

Cocktail with buddies and friends in the beautiful monoliths cellars of the Manoir of Galhaud’s house where a romantic Chinese film was recently filmed with the very famous Chinese actors Miss Xu Jinglei and Li Yapeng.
Xu Jinglei

This cocktail felt like the happy end of this year's harvest: a few bottles of wine from all over the world, Spain, Chile, southern France and even Pomerol and Saint Emilion!
This moment of conviviality reminded us that time passes too quickly. Muriel and I have already known some of the participants for 25 years: first regular customers of our first restaurant, Le Tertre in Saint Emilion. The opportunity to talk with Martine from Montpellier, from Palavas Les Flots, and of the little wooden train that took us to the beach in the 60s.

Jean Francois and Martine can be proud of their cellar which serves as the setting for wine from the property aging in beautiful barrels.
Saint Emilion and its few cellars dug in the rock are beautiful places to visit.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Future program

Grand Tasting in Hong Kong : Xin and I will be attending the Grand Tasting in Hong Kong organized by Bettane & Desseauve from November 4 to 6.
We will present : Valandraud 2006, Virginie de Valandraud 2006, Clos du Beau Père 2006, Blanc de Valandraud 2007 and the wines from the Roussillon, Thunevin-Calvet range, poured by Ramuntxo Andonegui.
Just prior, I will be in Shanghai for an event in one of the best restaurant in the city, and then after Hong Kong, direction San Paolo, Brazil, and even a short trip to Chili before returning to France via Brazil.

On December 10 and 11, in the Carrousel du Louvre for a tasting also organized by Bettane & Desseauve, with 2007 vintage and 2 tables to group our friends from Terre de Lisse : Fleur Cardinale, Rol Valentin, Pressac, Faugères, as well as Haut-Carles and Thunevin-Calvet.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Shooting of a Chinese film

A large Chinese film crew, 7 or 8 people, is currently shooting a movie, or rather a series of 4 movies on Bordeaux, the wine estates, chateaux and their lifestyle, the harvest, etc...
In any case, this 2010 vintage will great media support with this massive undertaking which already started more than 3 weeks ago.
My friends from Chateaux de Carles and Fleur Cardinale will, I hope, have great pictures to show during our travels to China. Muriel and I, as consultants, will probably have a small part.

Bordeaux wine can thank this very professional team and I already know that they will bring back home the pounds accumulated during the many meals and Ganbei for all wines to taste ...

Monday, October 25, 2010


I was invited by Jean Michel Cazes for lunch with a few colleagues wholesalers, winemakers and of course a few brokers, in his 2 stars Michelin restaurant in the Château Cordeillan Bages.
As I arrived earlier, as usual, I exchanged a few words with Jean Michel Cazes about our opinion on this 2010 vintage, some news and plan to finally visit his property in the Roussillon.
He is constantly creating, moving forward. An example of how to be at 75 years old to stay young, I admire him.
I was sitting at the “Saint Emilion” table (all the tables had the name of an appellation), at my right Michel Tesseron, owner of the famous Chateau Lafon Rochet with whom I always enjoy spending time.
Our table was somewhat dissipated, proof that in the Medoc, a person from the Right Bank (not more, lets not exaggerate) can be warmly received.

I had a great time, prior, I stopped by Lynch Bages to taste and eat a few grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon forgotten on a vine, delicious.
I also sopped by my property in Margaux, Bellevue de Tayac, where the fermentation vats smelled very good.
In the afternoon, I returned to Saint Emilion and had the visit of a Belgium importer, Patrick Lelièvre, and some of his clients who flew to Bordeaux to visit chateaux. The wines they have in their cellars now have a picture. Young and curious, they were able to see Valandraud during the harvest.

For dinner, 2 couples, friends for a meal prepared at home by Mumu.
Valandraud Blanc N°1 2008, closed, Puligny Montrachet 2006 Etienne Sauzet, with a bit of sweetness, pleasant softness, a very good wine.
Quinta Sardonia 2006, always good and Pingus 2006. One can understand the myth when such a young wine can already show so much class.
Following, Pavie 2003, then a bit of our Fine Bordeaux from Valandraud and a bottle (offered by our Brazilian friends) from Vale Verde Cachaça from Brazil, very good, even as a digestive.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Harvest 2010

End of the harvest on Merlot at Valandraud’s, October 20, 2010.
Thursday, the Merlots for Bad Boy were still being picked in our new property in Saint Genes de Castillon, and Friday it will be the Cabernet Francs on the plateau of Saint Etienne de Lisse and those in Pomerol.
Monday, we will pick the Cabernet Francs in Badon, the Cabernet Sauvignons and the Carmenère from the area of Saint Etienne de Lisse will have to wait…
Everything has been picked in Bellevue de Tayac: Merlots, Petits verdots and the cabernets sauvignons.

In Lalande de Fronsac, in my daughter Virginie Thunevin’s property, it will probably be of very good quality this year, finally.

The harvest still continues...

On Monday, the 2010 harvest still continued with the Merlot located in front of the chateau in Saint Etienne de Lisse: a small harvest due to coulure affecting old vines of Merlot. Our Merlot from Génissac (Bordeaux) harvested for Bad Boy is all in
The grapes in Fongaban have been picked on Wednesday. Great flavors, these grapes can even be eaten as table grapes, hard to resist, the pips have finally ripened with a crunching texture and proper acidity levels.
Our old Malbec and Merlot from the south eastern slopes in Saint Etienne de Lisse are also in. Wednesday was the turn of the Cabernets Sauvignons in Badon (very good?) and Prieure for the 3rd wine. The Cabernet Francs from Plaisance and Badon (near the nationale) are top.

We had some visitors during the harvest: Wednesday was the Norwegians, Russians the next day, the gentleman with classic cars visited Bellevue de Tayac. The promotion of a cru needs a lot of time.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The harvest continues

The harvest continues, the Merlot from the parcel of Laroque are the first batch of Valandraud picked on October 16!
The particular flavors of the vines from this parcel provided us, last year, the best batch for Valandraud 2009.
The grapes from the property we rent in Génissac are also all in, and the Merlot from Clos du Beau Père in Pomerol are finally in the tanks, brought in on Friday, October 16. Sure that in our area, we must have frightened the neighbors and that our grapes had to be tasted and tasted again!

We probably took a big risk, I do not think today that we could have done it 10 years ago... and I am sure that the day we lose the whole crop we will be told that we asked for it.
We must now turn those grapes into fine wine.

With our meal, we drank with the owners of La Vieille Cure (Fronsac), those of Fleur Cardinale (Saint Emilion) and Annie and Michel : Bad Boy 2007, in part made in Fronsac, La Clotte 2008 which is now delicious and rich : this rare classified growth from Saint Emilion, neighbor of the first vineyard of Valandraud, has improved greatly and is still quite unknown, which makes it a good value, a bottle of our Pomerol Fayat-Thunevin 2008 there too very good, Valandraud 2002 which will be ready to drink in 5/6 years like most Valandraud. At least 10 years are needed to tame the initial power.
Maury 2007 from our partner in the Roussillon, Thunevin-Calvet, and a half bottle of late harvest from Arvine from the Valais in Switzerland, Domaine des Claives 2007 from Marie Thérèse Chappaz, offered by friends from… Switzerland.

Switzerland again, with the visit of a group of amateurs. The proximity of Faugères, whose owner is Swiss, makes Valandraud more and more attractive for Helvetians.

Sunday, tour of the vineyards: which parcels of Merlot should be blended together? The low yields of this vintage force us to make choices.
The cold nights and sunny days ripen slowly our last Merlot from Saint Etienne de Lisse, the Cabernet Franc from Badon and Plaisance never looked so good. The Cabernet Sauvignons from Badon are finally ripe, those of Bel Air will still have to wait 8 to 10 days?

In this special year the lack of water makes it difficult to see the tannin from the seeds turning brown. Color and flavor are of course the simple markers to understand total ripeness.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


The harvest is going quickly and grapes are beautiful, ripe and for lovers of analysis, the hypochondriac of pH, total acidity, malic acid, and obsessed by degrees, or as diabetics by sugar level in blood , here are two tests conducted by Rolland’s laboratory on grapes brought in on October 12, 2010:

Malbec from Saint Etienne de Lisse
13.71, ph : 3.38, Total acidity : 2.90, malic acid : 0.7

Merlot from Saint Sulpice de Faleyrens
14.41, ph : 3.54, Total acidity : 3.00, malic acid : 1.1

If these analysis remain stable, I think it’s great. If Valandraud tastes like marmalade, as the recent comic book about Robert Parker implies, it may be a fantasy, and as for its aging capability, we’ll see in 50 years!

Yesterday, we had lunch with the boss of the group MitSiu logistics and his son. He came to present the China Pass: to help us penetrate the Chinese market using adapted logistics to our needs, with the company’s know-how and their platform in the free zone in Guangzhou (Canton). We are already customers of the group MitSiu Blanquefort and likely soon in China?

Friday, October 15, 2010


Following maximum stress and our teams of pickers making the efforts to step-up the pace picking grapes, from this voluntary late vintage, stress level was at its highest on Monday and Tuesday due to the humid and hot weather, contributing to diseases. Luckily, the weather changed yesterday, with dry and cold night and a bit of wind: it’s worth gold right now as it protects the grapes from being damaged by the botrytis (gray mold) and instead concentrates the aromas and flavors.

Risk taking is part of the game I chose, considering I've never picked one over-ripe grape, but rather under-ripe.

None of the wines made in 20 years at Valandraud has this character of over-softness dreaded so much in Bordeaux by many owners, critics, and even enologists, while the real danger still today is the opposite... unless one prefers harsh tannins, rough, dry with beautiful aromas of green leaf, box wood, too frequently regarded as the proper style for a classic Bordeaux, recalling the good old days of cold vintages.

I like drinking our 2007 today. It’s sure that waiting as much as possible makes it sexy, pleasant, until a better vintage: 2009, drank yesterday with Chinese guests, is the year to beat in 2010. A high mountain to climb which makes the challenge even more exciting.

Tasting with 24 Austrian guests who tasted semi-blind : 4 series of 3 wines, they had to guess the vintages, 1998, 2000, 2003; between 3 Virginie de Valandraud, which one is 1995, 1998 and 2000; between 3 Valandraud, they had to say which one they preferred between Pichon Lalande, Mission Haut Brion, Cheval Blanc, and, yes, Virginie 2007 is a good challenger against Carruades de Lafite 2007…. The price difference makes comparing a diffult task. In any case, I liked the 2007 Carruades, which, for your information, is sold in stores in Saint Emilion for 375 Euros and Virginie de Valandraud sold for 38 Euros !

The Terre de Lisse blog is working well. The proof : I thought that “when China wakes up, the world will tremble” was from Alain Peyrefitte, well no, it is believed to come from Napoleon Bonaparte.

I read it and liked it

I read it and liked it

and didn’t feel like the victim… and Panos Kakaviatos didn’t ask me anything !

Robert Parker and the comic-strip book devoted to him are featured in a web page article on the website of the magazine Decanter, signed Panos Kakaviatos who is a big fan and admirer of Robert Parker, for he writes regularly on Mark Squire’s BB (and also came to check the durability of Valandraud!)

Just a thought: I believe that Panos does not understand the humor of French comics, and read this comic book with his “traditionalist” eyes. After all, he writes for an English magazine !

This is a fiction, where everything that happens to Parker is set in a dream, rather a nightmare, for that matter, for the explanation is given at the end. I found this book rather amusing despite the authors “anti-Parker” bias, judging by the comments of Saverot.

There is, of course, the conspiracy theory (the US globalized taste, dear to Jonathan Nossiter) ... Damn, what power Parker has!
There is humor, a bit in the second degree, a few stories found in the trash, but that’s the price of fame for Parker... and his dogs (Mondocano sex) !

My friends and I are being caricatured. Pat Parker has a big part, very likeable, the drawings are well made, after all I still see, in my case, that Valandraud holds a nice place among the 3 wines supposed to please Parker, between Pavie and Le Pin. I like this combination.
Robert Parker, if you read me, remember that the best score you gave Valandraud is 95 points for the 2005 and 1995.

I hope that people quoted in this comics will read it and take it as a “consecration”, because after all, to be featured, during one’s lifetime, in a comic book, even if loaded, is something I never dared dreaming would happen.
Incidentally, there are a lot of errors, including a terrible one, having one of my friends, Archi, disappear, while he probably still has another 40 years to live thanks to all these good wines he drank.
He may be entitled to an erratum in the next comics book that bring him back to life.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

That’s it !

The harvest has begun full throttle: a team in Margaux, a team in Pomerol, a team in Saint Emilion and perhaps Génissac.
The serenity of the last days gives way to excitement.
The ripening we have long awaited is finally within reach of our secateurs. Our choices will be - or will not - validated by the wines made in the months to come.
Are we, as stated by a famous winemaker of Libourne, in a style similar to 1990?
Modern, for sure but, unfortunately, certainly with low yields!

The blog Terre de Lisse is already accessible (in French)… A first for the collective blog of Fleur Cardinale, Rol Valentin, Valandraud, Pressac and Faugères.

In the last issue of Paris Match, a few pages on the new cellars in Saint Emilion : Faugères, Villemaurine, those built at Cheval Blanc and later La Dominique, and nice pictures of the cellar of Cos d’Estournel in Saint Estèphe.
Architecture at the service of agro-tourism and communication : not everyone has the chance to have the kind of “visibility” of Château de Pressac, or the garage of Valandraud.

Announcement - birth

Merlot is doing well in CABARDES.

After having cut his teeth with his friend Arnaud ESCOURROU “ LA REGALONA”
Eric SOULAT embarks on his winemaker’s adventure, alone.
With the advise in vinification from Arnaud, he just put together his small cellar for this 2010 harvest.

We are please to announce the birth of TALUOS.

Strange, and still...

I am a bit provocative but still, it's kind of weird to think that when Bordeaux sells its 1st growths, super-seconds and others alike, in other words, less than 20 wines, with a 1st tranche wholesale price between 120 and 500 Euros for the 2009 vintage and 3 or 4 icons with a price between 500 and 1000 Euros, Bordeaux seems expensive to the diaspora of wine professionals, but when 20 or 30 (or more) fine Burgundies are sold at similar prices, or even higher, there... nothing, not one negative comment.

Is the reason, again, the excessive transparency of the release price in Bordeaux, the timing? The futures mode, volumes?
Does Burgundy only have smaller properties than our Right Bank crus, the other side has, it is true, larger properties, but shouldn’t they actually limit their surface?

Good wines and 2010 harvest at our place.
Friday for lunch with Brazilian friends : Fleur Cardinale 2004, Blanc de Valandraud 2006, Valandraud 2007, Hugo Calvet-Thunevin 2006, 3 Marie Calvet-Thunevin 2005, Maury 2007 Calvet-Thunevin and Fine Bordeaux de Valandraud (900 bottles for the 1st bottling)
Saturday : Le Moulin 2002 Pomerol, Fleur Cardinale 2004, Pressac 2002 and 2008.

The harvest will start full throddle tomorrow. Waiting for this harvest is like the clam before the storm, agonizing.
In fact, we are already October 11 and only 1 hectare were picked in Pomerol at Clos du Beau Père, 2 hectares of young vines in Fronsac at Haut Mazeris, 3 hectares in Saint Emilion at Prieuré Lescours and 2 hectares in Lalande de Fronsac at my daughters, in Domaine Virginie Thunevin.
It's not much, considering that this week we should pick our young vines of Malbec in Saint Etienne de Lisse, and probably half of our old Merlot at Clos Badon-Thunevin, the Merlot from the plain, 1 hectare in Lalande de Pomerol. Maybe a bit at Haut Mazeris, depending on the evolution of our grapes, the effects of Sunday’s rain and our reflections on the advantages and disadvantages to wait, and this is not philosophical.

Fleur Cardinale has not begun, La Dominique finished picking its Merlots, but there are still Cabernet everywhere or almost everywhere.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hilarious duo

After co-writing “In Vino Satanas” with Denis Saverot, Benoit Simmat wrote the script for a comic book published by 12bis: “Robert Parker, les sept péchés capiteux” (the seven heady sins) with the subtitle “the anti Parker Guide” .
The foreword is written by... Denis Saverot, managing editor of the Revue du Vin de France.

Well, it always makes an impression to see my face (designed by Philippe Bercovici), my history, my name and Valandraud in a comic book! and as Denis Saverot says, being in the legend.

The themes are quite similar to those of Jonathan Nossiter (the film Mondovino where I also appear) or Elin McCoy, and above all about those fantasies on the standardization of wines and palate. Parkerization, Rollandization ... After all, one only lends to the rich.

Dialectic and television

How could you consider yourself explicit when taking two lines of an article out of context?
Unlike you, Laurent, I have a similar palate than Robert Parker and I can also say, in the same sentence, that it is also close to that of Michel Bettane, but very different from yours. This does not prevent me from reading your comments because your vision of wine, even very different from mine and my "gurus" helps me to better my business of owner, wholesaler and consultant!

Television :
Yesterday, I spent the whole day with televisions. In the morning, a Japanese TV station whose main subject was on Léo Shinohara, Caroline and their adventure in wine with his Clos Léo and his cuvee “Caroline” produced in Côtes de Castillon. The potential of this 2010 vintage is really great.
I spent the day with a Swiss TV to see the 2010 harvest and speak about the 2009 vintage.
We harvested a few plots in Haut Mazeris, the enchanting surroundings of Fronsac gives you great photos ops and the grapes are always good… To be eaten: a feast for a king!

Following, with the same team, we went to Château Angelus in Saint Emilion wearing my hat as wholesaler-friend. A large group under a big canopy was in the process of desteming the grapes by hand, a monumental job which made feel younger and reminded me of our beginning in Valandraud.
Grapes still being re-sorted on vibrating tables are placed in the cellar, a real caviar. The best of the best of grapes from a great terroir. Again, they will make here a huge wine, it’s true that Angelus is one of the most consistent wines in quality for over 20 years.
Tasting of 2009: I emptied my glass, as it's too hard to spit out such a good wine. Hubert de Bouard de Laforest received the TV crew, and there too, a group of Chinese were visiting at the same time. This proves the interest China has for our wines in Bordeaux.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Question of style : every sort of taste exist in nature

Reading the last column of Jean Marc Quarin dated 1 October 2010, I came to write this little article, by analogy with the south.
Patrick and Laurent are a bit provocative, maybe even reactionary, cheeky, able to write on my blog rave reviews on the style of Gauby’s wines and those, less popular (it's a euphemism) of Bizeul or our Thunevin-Calvet, in the Roussillon. Even a commentary written with passion, talent, love, on the wines of Jerome Bressy “Gourt de Mautens”, Hervé Bizeul made me discover, highlight the opinion of Patrick compared to that of Laurent.

Vast subject of controversy, some vins “d’auteurs” (“author” wines) raise a lot of fiery comments, especially when, in addition, one meets people who make these wines. Fortunately, the unique taste so often announced is not yet imposed, some media like the style of Gauby, I can not deny it, as I read, like everyone else, the RVF or other media, others are opposed (see La Passion du Vin). After all, it is better to wait until tomorrow to find out which style is right, by still being around. And yet, why should a wine have to last, be a perennial property, is there an obligation to be a superstar from the 1855 classification to have the right to exist in France?
The key, I think, is economic viability which makes customers happy, as well as the winemaker and his employees.
Whatever style of wine is preferred by some or others, even if they are my friends, I rather prefer, and will for a long time, the opulent wines of Hervé Bizeul or those made by Claude Gros here, in the South, or in Bordeaux . The evidence of my taste for these wines: I asked Claude Gros to help us here in Bordeaux, for our property in Pomerol. He is helping us produce our wines in the Roussillon “Thunevin-Calvet”, where he is looking for fruit and clear aromatics, still in the area of maturity without complexity!
With Michel Rolland as consultant, it’s been a while that I chose my camp.

What would be good, a sincere wish of Hervé Bizeul and some of our friends, is that some influential journalists help us push the world to discover this sublime region, with the moral obligation (I only look at 1 or 2 well known media) to talk about the different trends of thought in this region and not just those about cold fruit.
It's not because I, we do not make wines like Gauby that we should be ignored, much less make venomous comments as I have read here and there.

It’s true that I am directly concerned, but still I do not see how and why wanting to produce southern-style wines in the south would be more abnormal than make in the south northern-style wines?
Spain makes many wine-lovers dream, Chateauneuf du Pape gets praise from major media and Roussillon is still very much a land to discover, to exist their should only be one style of wine, that is all.
The site La Passion du Vin is for the Roussillon, Languedoc and Southwest with its tremendous and different terroirs, the only real area of diversity of opinions and I have not forgotten this dream of seeing a great tasting in the style of the Grand Jury Européen with wines from the South. I'm sure we would be able to find the wines, the men and even the funding, for both the region, and its CIVR and Vins du Sud label, is motivated to defend its region, its wines and the people who make them.
(and one more time, I forgot to write about the fortified wines of Maury, Collioure, Banyuls, etc…)

This text was written a few days ago, before comments made by Patrick and Hervé. It’s so difficult to have such different friends !