Tuesday, August 31, 2010

2010 harvest

Pavie, Fongaban and Macquin, the 3 puppies abandoned, called this way by Virginie, were adopted by friends my daughter found.

In the last issue of Cuisine et Vins de France, special selection for Haut Carles, Haut Mazeris and Domaine des Sabines. This printed a large run for this special wine issue and special Fall wine promotion…

In the latest edition from Parker on wines less than 20 Euros, in addition to de Carles, Haut Mazeris and Bad Boy, there is an incredible and superb comment on Calvet-Thunevin Cuvée Constance, produced by our property in the Roussillon. Thank you our customers in Germany, Switzerland and the U.S. who are good and loyal customers!

And for your information, the beginning of the 2010 harvest will be the same as 2009: around September 16 for plants (young vines) and September 20 for the early and warm terroirs in the plain.

Petrus 1961

Christian Dalbavie asked me to find at least 6 bottles of Petrus 1961 for one of his American clients.
I could only find a magnum of Petrus 1961 from a reliable source, the sales rep and broker have a legitimate business and are very professional, so no risk to get a fake.
I already stopped several years ago to trade in old wine as it is a dangerous area, mined with many fakes and the risk of being held liable. It is too much of a financial risk…
Too bad if I loose some business, but I prefer to avoid the pitfalls of these old fake fine wines and leave this business to specialists and collectors. However, if by any chance you know anyone with 6 or more authentic bottles of this wine, no problem, I accept to do my job with pleasure (and caution!)

A wedding, a funeral, 3 orphans… and 2010

First of all : I am saddened by the death Monsieur Thierry Manoncourt, owner of Château Figeac, at almost 93 years old. His funeral took place on Monday at 2:30 pm in the church of Saint Emilion. My sincere condolences to his family.

Joy : wedding of Marie A., Pierre’s daughter. I was a witness for his wedding with Sylviane. it was the opportunity to receive several members of his family, who I hadn’t seen for more than 20 years. Our house was turned into a dormitory. All the rooms were occupied and our newly weds left for 15 days to the Ile Maurice.

Fabrice, Fabienne and their 2 daughters spent the day with us. After lunch, we walked around Saint Emilion and visited the caves of Ferrand, always astonishing. We then passed by our orchard to pick plums, hazelnuts, apples as well as a few white grapes and also visited Virgnie’s animals: horses, female donkey with her foal, the brocket, the goat and 3 little puppies I picked up the day before in Fongaban: abandoned and looking to be saved, as long as you walk by the small trail along Pavie Macquin… and have Virginie ready to take care of this cute little family.
It is the 2nd time that I find puppies abandoned in the month of August. The last time was in Maury with Martine and Jean-Paul, and Virginie had already helped find homes for these 2 puppies.

I am always reluctant to talk about the coming vintage. The harvest will start any day for the whites and the reds in a couple of weeks, but it the weather continues with cool nights and plenty of sunshine during the day, it will be a great vintage! Another one, will say the skeptics, unbelievers, the jealous… Great vintages in Bordeaux, are they a positive effect from global warming?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Thursday, August 26

I was at the office until 10 am and had a visit from a prospect, a young wine importer from Hong Kong. This Chinese man was happy to be able to communicate easily thanks to Xin. We tasted at Valandraud the 2009 vintage and a few of our other wines at L’Essentiel.

For lunch, we ate at the Comptoir de Saint Genès with Florence and Dominique Decoster to talk about our wines, the upcoming harvest, while drinking a good draft beer : the temperature this last Thursday was close to 38º C (100º F) and encouraged us to drink cool and light beverages.

In the afternoon, I had an appointment with my ophthalmologist in Castillon, cool. Following, I passed by Valandraud to see the progress of Paul’s work around the pool, Suleiman whitewashing the cellar, and visited the Clos du Beau Père in Pomerol for some work to be done in the fermentation and aging cellars. Then I quickly went around my vineyards to see how my vines are holding up in this year of drought (less than in 2003, closer to 2005?)

My lawyer called me urgently on my cell phone.
He is in Saint Emilion with one of my friend and colleague, back from a trip, I don’t know where, and it is hot… A glass of water, a Jacquesson 733, winey and original, more champagne for a meal than as an aperitif.
My lawyer thanked me for not writing about him on my blog… Never tell me such a thing. If the next time he doesn't want me to mention him, too bad, he could lose a few clients

In the evening, I took a stroll in the vineyards of Fongaban with Axelle and my dog Max: it was like a sauna. Fortunately, there are a few blackberries and hazelnuts to be picked.

Friday, August 27, 2010


With the title “30 years with the firm”, Valandraud, with only 20 years, doesn’t get offended
Optimum, a nice French magazine (fashion, lifestyle), published 5 pages including Valandraud “Saint Emilion on top”, with a special selection for Hervé Bizeul’s Walden and also my friend’s Haut Condissas.
The other 2 wines are Vignelaure in Provence and Claux Delorme in the Loire.

Mauvais petit garçon : Spare the rod and spoil the child ?

This is not really a right of reply, but hey, I am only reacting to a comment made on Baby Bad Boy by a demanding and rebellious young man (permanent ?)

1/ Merlot noir
Merlot blanc does exist. 176 hectares (435 acres) Still exist, if I believe Wikipedia. I saw a few vine stocks in my property of Badon in Saint Emilion.
There are no merlot rosé except by bleeding or direct pressing.

2/ Different varietals, but where ?
Domaine de Trevallon
a/ I quote Michel Bettane or Thierry Desseauve : Trevallon was denied the appellation for their vineyard has too many Cabernet Sauvignons (forbidden by regulations). Nevertheless, it remains a highly regarded cru from Provence, etc… 2 stars in the RVF guide in 2009.
b/ Hervé Bizeul’s Cabernet Francs are not anything either, and yet it's hot in the Roussillon.

3/ My name is indecent and should be forbidden. It contains thune (slang for money) and vin (wine). Should I request a name change?

4/ 75 hecto/hectare (4.17 tons per acre), is not the style of the house, but why not if it is good ? As it is allowed in the new Vin de France category. In our case, 50 hecto/hectare (2.8 tons/acre) in Bordeaux and less than 30 (1.67) in the Roussillon and the possibility to increase the value of hard to sell wines, thanks to marketing (a bad word, perhaps…)

5/ 10 Euros retail is, in fact, already a sum : 6500 old Francs. I don’t know how to count in old pennies…
The least expensive wines sold by my wholesale business are being offered for 6 Euros (including VAT) in my retail stores in Saint Emilion. And they are very good, in my opinion, of course… No one is obliged to buy some and often, customers have the opportunity to taste what they buy.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

AFP: star architects at the service of Bordeaux fine wines

An article (in French) written on Bordeaux wineries, cellars and especially Saint Emilion catching up to Medoc.
The right bank plays fully the ecotourism card and the least of the paradoxes is where you’ll find the most beautiful ancient ruins: Saint Emilion is a UNESCO World Heritage site (with one million visitors per year) and its highly sophisticated and modern cellars!
Chateau Villemaurine

Chateau Soutard

Chateau Faugères

Chateau Cheval Blanc

Our cellar in Pomerol!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Press reviews

On the web version of the Wine Spectator, James Molesworth writes about Mauvais Garçon 2005, the American version of Bad Boy, this change was due to a brand already using the name in the US…

In the special issue of Revue du Vin de France, for the Foire Aux Vins (wine promotion), Virginie de Valandraud 2008 is included in the special selection and Châteaux La Dominique and Fleur Cardinale 2008 and 2007 got very special mentions. Comptoir de Saint Genès was also highlighted, and soon, blogs won’t be needed to talk about new things. RVF rocks.
In the buying Guide, 6 vintages of La Dominique, Valandraud, etc… have been rated

The Amateur de Bordeaux n°115 magazine, just published an interview of Robert Parker by Bernard Burtschy, where he recommends a few successful wines, certainly expensive, but so much less expensive than the 1st growths that they almost seem reasonable. In any case, very good ones, in his opinion, like Croix de Labrie, Troplong Mondot, Ducru Beaucaillou, La Violette, Branon, etc…
Also a page on Pierre-Marie Chauvin’s book, published by Editions Féret : « Le marché des réputations, une sociologie des vins de Bordeaux » (the market of brands, a sociology of Bordeaux wines)
An excerpt of Parker’s last book : The best Bordeaux under 20 Euros (includes Carles, Haut Mazeris and Bad Boy!)
It’s a nice piece.

Terre de Vins N°6 (already !), features a nice piece on the Sichel family, written by Christian Seguin, with a good text and superb pictures, followed by a report written by Jean Pierre Tamisier on Claire Chenard, who is in charge of Vignobles de la Mondiale in Saint Emilion: which includes 3 classified growths, Soutard, Larmande, Cadet Piola, and the Grand Cru Grand Faurie La Rose.

In Decanter, Julio Iglesias wrote that he likes Pingus, me too . This English language magazine has some notoriety in Asia, too bad I don’t understand English well enough.

In the July 12 issue of Le Figaro: Françoise Hardy said that she likes Château de Carles, we do too!