Saturday, May 29, 2010

2009 again...

The French site Bootle France published its 2009 tasting notes (in French), including :

"Valandraud, Saint-Emilion : nose of very ripe black fruit with hints of mint, minerals, mocha. Smooth attack with melting, fine and crispy tannins. Unctuous palate with a superb mineral dimension. Elegant finish, round, smooth, complex, dense and concentrated. Superb. Note : 96-99+"

"Haut-Carles, Fronsac : nose of cherries, floral with hints of eucalyptus. Lively and sharp attack with smooth and melted tannins. The wine is round, harmonious, with a touch of iodine and fruits a touch candied. Well structured with an expressive and delicious finish; beautiful substance and great potential. Note : 91-94"

The special issue of RVF just came out and is dedicated to the 2009 vintage which lists it in "Exceptional success" : Lafont Fourcat (Bordeaux), Bad Boy (Bordeaux), Haut Carles (Fronsac), Haut Mazeris (Canon Fronsac).

In the "Great success" category, are cited : Virginie de Valandraud (Saint Emilion Grand Cru), Clos Badon Thunevin (Saint Emilion Grand Cru), Clos du Beau Père (Pomerol), or Blanc de Valandraud N°1 Cuvée "Murielle" (Bordeaux blanc)

In other words, good reading for the weekend!

Friday, May 28, 2010

It's over

Vinexpo Hong Kong just ended: we just spent 3 busy days, receiving our clients in our stand and meet new contacts.

Next week, I am back in Saint Emilion and the futures campaign.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Vinexpo 2010

Here we go for the next 3 !

We will take the pulse of the Asian market on our stand J 24

Friday, May 21, 2010

Chinese portrait

A few weeks ago, the journaliste Philippin Sherwin Lao published an article on politicians running for election in his country, starting each portrait with "if it was a wine ...". Here is Manny Villar’s vision:

"The most visible and most audible (the jingle is incredibly catchy) presidential candidate was born Manuel `Manny’ Bamba Villar, Jr.. I see Sen. Villar as a Chateau Valandraud, one of the original `Garagistes’ wines that caught the attention of the wine world in the mid 1990s. Garagistes refers the vintners in Bordeaux that produce `Vins de garage’ or garage wines. Chateau Valandraud was founded in a 1 hectare plot in Saint-Emilion, left bank Bordeaux. With very modest capital and no money for equipments, Chateau Valandraud started making wines the primitive way—by hands and feet in their garage. The dedicated and very hands-on labor end up producing very low yield wines of incredible bold flavors and depth. Chateau Valandraud rated extremely high on the demigod Robert Parker rating scale, and fetch prices comparable to the classified grand cru Saint Emilions. This is like a Villar rags-to-riches fairy tale story! From very humble beginnings of living in depressed Tondo, Manny soared to become a billionaire real estate mogul. I recently tasted a Chateau Valandraud 1996 vintage courtesy of my friend Romy Sia of Wine Story, and the wine was superb!"

In Manila Standard Today 20/04/2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Decanter World Wine Awards 2010

Our Bad Boy 2007 was presented by our Korean friends and received a bronze medal

As for the futures, were just released: Haut Bergey, Rouget, Siran, Ormes de Pez, Chauvin...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


This morning, the following wines were released :
Chateau Fombrauge, Chateau La Tour Carnet, Chateau La Bienfaisance and Sanctus, Chateau La Cabanne, Chateau Larrivet Haut Brion red and white, also released Chateau Brown red and white, Chateau Meyney...

I ma leaving this afternoon for Taiwan and Hong Kong, I will follow the next releases with a few hours difference


A friend’s 60th birthday was a great opportunity to celebrate with a meal for 20/25 people.

It was a fun, and tasty, meal, (of course) prepared by Serge who was sharing his time between the kitchen and our table to also take advantage of the meal and wines.

I didn’t write everything down, but we drank Champagne Blanc and Rosé, Le Pin 2000 and 2001 , Ausone 2000, Pavie 2000, La Mondotte 2000, Cheval Blanc 1998 and Pétrus 1990: all good, even being so different, a delicious Croix de Labrie 2007, and 3 wines from 1950: Pavie, Fleur Pétrus and Clos Fourtet, more than Madère.

I was a bit tired and not fit to properly enjoy all these great wines. But seeing everyone having a good time compensated largely.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I was wrong

Soon, I leave for Taiwan and Hong Kong, and even Venice.

We will be 4 to attend Vinexpo Hong Kong : Laurent, Xavier, Xin and myself to welcome our contacts on our stand - J 24.

I thought that many futures were going to be released before Vinexpo, but I was wrong...

In any case, there is strong demand for 2008, maybe due to the price, maybe the desire to get some allocations of 2009…

Indeed, these unwritten rules in Bordeaux imply that the last wine released be offered to those who bought the previous one. If I may say, chateaux who only look at purchases of 2008 should also check their purchases of 2007, as they are often the reason for bad sales of 2008!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Recently drank

During our meals in Paris, we drank the following wines :

Meursault Les Genièvres 2001 Comte de Lafon and Corton Charlemagne 1997 Leroy
Clos Vougeot 2006 : Anne Gros, Domaine D’Eugénie, Bernard Gros,
2003 vintage : Clos Vougeot de Denis Mortet, Haut Brion, and Chave Ermitage
And Cuvée Marius 2007 VDP Côtes Catalanes Sarda-Malet

I really liked Ermitage 2003 from Jean Louis Chave and was quite surprised by the cuvee Marius : Cabernets Sauvignons tasting like Merlots, good way to please me
I admit, I have a hard time with red Burgundies… Even if I enjoyed Denis Mortet’s wines, which needed a bit of time to blossom.

Yesterday, I attended a dinner at the Mercure in the Cite Mondiale du Vin in Bordeaux for the oenologist club and organized by Cyril Bleekert. Nice event, friendly atmosphere, with the theme on Saint Emilion. We drank:
Château Fombrauge blanc 2007, delicious
Château Fonrazade 2005, good
Château Riou de Thaillas 2006, very good
Virginie de Valandraud 2006, of course, very good
Château Sansonnet 2002, good
Château Villemaurine 2007, very good

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mouflette (Skunk)

The RVF show in Paris was quite successful with a lot of people. Shows attract more and more amateurs, young people, both men and women, professionals from the industry as well as private, and even journalists working for competing media.

The only “downside” was the obsession the RVF team has concerning alcohol and powerful wines. It made it look like the Evin law turned all journalists into anti - rich wines, unless it is in their perception of Parker’s palate, and possibly even Bettane and Desseauve and their eagerness to be contrarians?

In several French media, and not just in the RVF, I see this anti alcohol trend in wine, without even taking the time to speak about balance or even just to allow other points views to be expressed. This becomes committed journalism and this is disappointing. For myself, of course, and my taste for rich wines, I feel sorry for my friends’ wines, here in Bordeaux or the Roussillon, and it reminds me the sketch of a comedian long gone, Fernand Raynaud: The Candle.
Let me explain, for younger readers: in a family where everyone has a crooked mouth, no one is able to blow out a candle as the air blows off to the side, finally someone gets it but he is abnormal ( in regards to this family) because he doesn’t have a crooked mouth.

It also makes me think about this true story Hervé Bizeul and I experienced with our Canadian distributors friends: in this case, the buyer found that a few wines had a smell of skunk.
Mouflette (a kind of skunk) must smell bad in Canada, as a charming québecoise defines the smell of brett: these aromas are a mix of reduction, mercaptan, smelly poo, or like a friend of mine who loves horses would say, the sweat of a sick horse!
So, anyway, our journalist friends end up liking obvious defects for all those who attended the DUAD with Professor Dubourdieu, for all those competent oenologists trying to make "clean" wine. They like wines with defects (in my opinion) with conviction, because it is the opposite of those wines smelling of new wood, ripe fruit, grapes. Is there a new taste trend for scatology? I do not know.
In any case, with more than 13%, it is picked too late, overripe, today’s taste is brett, vegetal, acidic minerality, transparency ... Stop wines too black!

The new Ku Klux Klan of wine does not like these dark colors! Neither fine new barrels, nor wines which bead a bit in contact with the tongue. After Nouvelle Cuisine and its excesses, new natural wine, it certainly takes all kinds to make the world, having long neglected this type of wine it was time to bring them up back... I will promptly ask my staff to produce a small cuvee for these fans to show our expertise, I should say our know-not-how.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Good timing

Successful 2009 : we’re still missing the sell of Croix de Gay and Fleur de Gay (Fleur de Gay was one of the wines which inspired us for Valandraud) and it’s normal : these wines are highly rated and very good. Their prices have been accepted by our clients for they were sold at the beginning of this 2009 futures campaign for less than 2000 and 2005.

Croix de Gay is a UGC wine and Faizeau, belongs to Chantal Lebreton, co-owner of Croix de Gay, is also one of the successes of this vintage with its incredible value for money, even it is still (too much?) unknown.

We drank at dinner a sample of Valandraud 2009, it is even better than in March, the late harvest on land later explain that.

Sonia’s chronicles :
Read the text (sorry, in French) of her visit at Valandraud, posted on Wednesday, October 28, 2009, it’s fresh, quick, full of humor and mentions Carlos in L’Essentiel and Murielle for the visit.

Friday, May 7, 2010


Jacques Perrin (in French) and by Bob Campbell, MW liked Valandraud 2005, they tasted in Singapore.
Did the Chinese in Singapore liked Valandraud ? I don’t know

The N°5 issue of Terre de Vins (in French), May-June 2010 features Bordeaux and the 2009 futures. Bettane and Desseauve made a selection of the best wines, with good notes and good comments, including Châteaux Fleur Cardinale, Valandraud, but also Cuvee Gabrielle Lauzat from Chateau Mauvinon (Jet – if you are in the area… We’re thirsty ! ), La Couspaude, Faugères, Pressac ( our club works pretty well), Haut Carles, Fougas Maldoror, Bad Boy (17/20), Clément Pichon, Pape Clément.
Also included, nice family portraits : Chapoutier and Triaud who would have liked, like us, that the Girondins soccer team wins the champion’s cup this year !
Still in Terre de Vins, a comment, for those who don’t know : (in French) presented by the charming Aurélia Filion, who makes you want to drink champagne

If I mention a lot notes is that because it the time...
Proverb of the day : “Noël au balcon, Pâques aux tisons” - A warm Christmas means a cold Easter
Belgian proverb : brouillard en Novembre, Noël en Décembre – Fog in November, Christmas in December.
Bordelaise proverb : Good Parker note fills the deficit.


You can already find many offers of 2009 Bordeaux on the internet… not even released.

Nothing prevents offering wine futures before they are released... Except that it could be seen as "not being serious" and in case the order is confirmed, if the release price is higher than the selling price…
This reminds me a famous internet site – open seller – trying to apply the stock exchange model to the complex wine market.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Stock exchanges wildly fluctuate, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and even England, all these speculations which are even worse today than before, put a chill on the start of the futures campaign which had a very good start, at least for us since we had already sold over 40,000 bottles!
And still no blue chip crus released – one out of 50 brands!
Premonition or information, it appears that the “round table” system is becoming more popular....
Who benefits from the "crime"? Will it do any harm? Will it be contagious?

Open doors

Jean Marc Quarin selected Valandraud Blanc 2009 in his favorite. This made us happy, especially Murielle, who's been handling this project with determination and ambition since the beginning, with the help of our consultants and employees.

After Andreas Larsson, the Frenchman Gerard Basset, who works in England and represented the United Kingdom, was elected best sommelier in the world 2010 competition.

Open doors

It's a first for Valandraud in Saint Etienne de Lisse and it went well: lots of people attended, amateurs, of course, visitors as well as neighbors and colleague owners or wholesalers. In the end, it was work for 4 with little down time and even some sales. The white was especially successful. We will do it again next year, but this time in Saint Emilion, in the “garage”?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"Round table"

Bordeaux wine distribution system can often be used as a deadly weapon by a talented and ambitious broker to gain a position of monopoly, and therefore exclude other colleagues from competing for a piece of the "pie" and the 2% commission commonly used by the profession.

Often used for wines difficult to sell and with an irregular distribution, and allows, in an easy vintage (2009), to promise regular distribution for future vintages.

On paper, it looks like a good choice and a good strategy, except that it angers anyone excluded, brokers, wholesalers and makes enemies, detractors, even evil minds, as Audiard would say... and in the end, the broker and this monopolistic game drive prices from the property down year after year: “you know, it's rough out there... competition, etc.”
I haven't seen any brands using this system increase their notoriety and prices (except when they leave this system).

This is a generalization and there must be some exceptions, some altruist owners are able to make better wines every year, even though they are guaranteed to sell, because it is often the problem with these kinds of so called ready-made deals. Why make the effort to make better, no ?... It creates more risk: in fact the property putting this system in place does it to taking any chance, which I can imagine, if the shareholders or owners agree...

Nothing to do with direct or exclusive distribution where the owner or wholesaler must do better every year and nothing to do with distribution where a group of serious and big companies exist next to a string of small companies making believe they're busy, a system that has proven over time.

Maybe I am wrong contesting this “round table”, but I think that one of the most important professional in Bordeaux agrees...

Of course, these remarks don't concern me when my company is involved in such “round table”.
For me, it's not the same?!

It's also true that I am rarely asked to participate in a “round table”. I have a problem promising to buy a wine I would not be able to sell when the first crisis comes

Again, promises only involve those who believe in them...

Later, I'll speak about territorial exclusivities.