Saturday, December 31, 2011

End of the Year

Happy New Year with this video we posted on Facebook of Andreas Larsson, best sommelier of the world, tasting and commenting Virginie de Valandraud 2007. Thank you Andreas, thank you Youtube.

Thank you also to Dmitriev, for posting his tasting of Bad Boy 2007, which was viewed 1278 times in 10 months, compared to the video of Bad Boy which has been seen 920 times in a year and the video of Mövenpick’s wine of the year 2011 and had a big hit with our Star of the South, a special cuvee from Thunevin-Calvet, who was seen by 2,400 people!

Thunevin-Calvet's new cellar filmed by the architects and titled “The architects - The angels' share” was viewed 1803 times in 5 months!

Lots of videos shot here in Hong Kong, Brazil, the United States, all potentially seen by thousands of people who would also see Valandraud, the race horse, a 10 years old gelding born from Albizzia and Lady Nashamaa, earned his owner more than 500 000 euros! (Let me point out that I don’t own this horse and get no royalties!)

Friday, December 30, 2011


Murielle & I drank Chateau Fleur Cardinale 2005 with our meal; this wine was very young, black and had a fresh nose and a very fine texture. Its power was contained with a beautiful harmony. It should be at its peak in 10 years. What a great vintage 2005 is! It was even better the next day for lunch.

A lot of construction is taking place right now in properties on the right bank, some known others lesser: cranes, masons, craftsmen, all building or rebuilding wine cellars, aging facilities, reception areas... This is the effect of good vintages as well as competition.

In Saint Emilion, we also have the classification system, which requires respecting the rules promised during the last classification, upgrade to current standards and improve areas to reflect the status already acquired or asserted. The primary beneficiaries of this construction are, after the artisans, the wines which will be even given more attention and Saint Emilion who will attract even more tourists.

I wonder how many tourists visited Château Faugères in Saint Etienne de Lisse? How many will visit Cheval Blanc, Soutard? And what will be the financial benefits for wine shops, restaurants, the bakery, etc…

Thursday, December 29, 2011

L’Auberge Saint Jean

We were invited for lunch on Tuesday by a supplier and friend. We were 5 people and drank with the meal Valandraud Blanc 2007 and Domaine de l'A 2007 (very good)
The restaurant L’Auberge Saint Jean is located in Blaignac and overlooking the Dordogne River, 10 minutes from Saint Emilion; pleasant surroundings, attentive service and charming owners.

The cuisine is creative, original and contemporary and the wine list has a good selection. 2 forks in the Michelin guide – it deserves more. Bravo Manuela et Thomas L’Hérisson

At the table next to ours, Murielle recognized Mr. Jean-Claude Bireau, mayor of Sablons de Guitres who married us in 1976, and became a House Representative for Libourne from 1993 to 1997; he would have liked to marry us again if he was still mayor!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

For the love of taste

Bravo –bravo –bravo! Or a good reason not to despair of French TV.

France 3 broadcasted a program on young people passionate about working in gastronomic cuisine, and despite the Evin regulation, they included a young oenologist in charge of several properties in Lalande de Pomerol, Pomerol and Lussac during her work, tending vines, green harvest and then harvesting, tasting with her bosses this beautiful 2011 vintage, particularly Clos du Clocher and Bonalgue, according to Peter and Jean-Baptist Bourotte.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


This Christmas, I was not in good form so didn’t do any excesses, except for the lobsters a friend supplier gave us. We paired them with Présidial white 2010 a great value and Virginie de Valandraud Blanc 2010, large format.
We also enjoyed a good and rare bottle: the 3rd label from Cheval Blanc AOC 2007, I have no idea how much this bottle costs.

The play “La Vérité” (The Truth) in which Mr. Arditi headlines will be broadcasted live on television Tuesday 27. I really want to see this play we recently saw in the theater.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Story of crosses

I read Pierre Lucu’s book, published by Editions de l’Entre Deux Mers titled “Guide des Croix de la Juridiction de Saint Emilion” (Guide of Saint Emilion’s crosses).
And there are many crosses.
We see them on churches, in cemeteries, at cross roads, on the road to Compostela and in beautiful chateaux.
There are many ways of living in Saint Emilion. Pierre Lucu, recently retired, devotes part of his time to research and write about our local history.
After crosses, will it be mills?

Saint Préfert

The Credit Agricole leads to many places... as long as you get out of there!
A former executive of Crédit Agricole, Isabel Fernando, created a cult wine which I had the pleasure to drink.
Domaine Saint Préfert 2007, collection Charles Giraud, Chateauneuf du Pape : a powerful wine, balanced, with spices, cherries, chocolate, a nice color, really good.

The charm of the owner is shown in the wine, her energy too. I plan to go with Jean-Roger, Marie and Murielle, to visit and taste at the domain, having had the chance to meet Isabel during the New York Wine Experience. We need to learn how to produce Grenache like in Chateauneuf du Pape and also how to deal with our Mourvèdre the best of the best

Meals we recently had in restaurant in Saint Emilion

Lard et Bouchon : the setting, service, quality of the dishes and wine selection, all at a nice price. The Lirac 2009 from Mordorée was delicious.

Le Clos du Roy : near our house, service and gastronomic menu, creative cuisine. Wine Elian Da Ros Chante Coucou 2006, good.

L’envers du Décor of course, the setting, service, a meeting place, I forgot the name of the wines, but they must all have been good!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dinner with friends

We were invited to a dinner with friends, owners of Château Mangot
Below is the list of dishes prepared with flair by Anne Marie and Isabelle (hurrah for the scallops and the desserts!)
Amuse-bouche: Foie Gras Trilogy (Warm Oyster with Foie Gras, Foie Gras capuccino, Foie Gras Millefeuille)
Paired with Francis Boulard Champagne, Cuvée Petrae

1st Appetizer: Scallops with chorizo gratin and arugula emulsion
Paired with Puligny Montrachet "Garenne" 2007 from Olivier Leflaive

2nd Appetizer: Roasted lobster with Riesling and puree of chard and 4 spices
Paired with Trimbach, Cuvée Frédéric Emile 375ml. 2001 vintage

1st Entree: Sweetbreads, Soubise sauce with cherries, red wine reduction, on a bed of white vegetable
Paired with Volnay Clos des Chênes 2006 from Bouchard…
And a Chinese wine, Cabernet Sauvignon Tônhwua.

2nd Entree: Saddle of lamb with potato crust in truffle oil
Paired with Lynch Bages 1996 and Valandraud 2001

Cheeses, Sheep milk trio from Jean D'Allos… Spring Ossau d'estive, and manchego
Paired with Rouget 2000 and Quintessence 2003

Pre-dessert: Nage of exotic fruits and Vanilla Panna Cotta vanilla

Dessert: Coconut custard, simmered mango and mango Espuma
Paired with Chateau Haut Bergeron Sauternes 2007

All the wines were interesting, Boulard’s Champagne was very good, especially the Petrae cuvee. The others, worked well with the dishes served, except (for my taste) for the Burgundy, for I prefer the style of Trapet or Dugat

Rouget 2000 and Mangot’s 2003 Quintessence had their moment of glory and were divine. The right temperature, food, and fine atmosphere, are all important elements.
Haut Bergeon 2007 was Jacques Luxey’s favorite wine with Raymond Lafont.

Luxury Wine Tourism

Bernard Magrez doesn’t do things half way. He created a Wine Tourism agency focused on luxury, prestige and sophistication.
Visit of chateaux, fine dining, receptions, concerts, original modes of transportation (Rolls-Royce, Falcon 50 private jet, Pinasse or Hacker-Craft boats), spa, golf, Grand Theatre, etc...

What’s good for Bernard Magrez is good for us. This luxury clientele may also want to drink a first Grand Cru or Valandraud and also notice that there are ultra-luxury wines reasonably priced such as Tour Carnet, Fombrauge and many of Bernard Magrez crus which are sold at very affordable prices. Besides Valandraud, we also offer Domaine Virginie Thunevin Bordeaux or wines from Pomerol or the Roussillon.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A taste of cork

On Friday, Murielle, Rémi, our attorney Maitre Magret as well as experts, lawyers and tasting group met for a damage assessment and review our complaint about a batch of Bordeaux and determine if it was a little, a lot or not at all, infected, either by tainted corks, or by the cellar, or both, or.. nothing!

Our customers today are so precise that what could have passed for a normal taste of barrels, being too old, is now rejected by them. As soon as a customer reports a problem we didn’t detect, despite our use of advance techniques, we launch a review and even consider filing a claim. The formalism of the ISO certification helps our investigation to find, understand and possibly solve problems.
Unfortunately, our suppliers responded to our amicable request with “it's not us, it's the other ...” and... maybe it’s true.
I hope that it won’t take 3 years to resolve this problem; in the meantime, we are still customers of these two suppliers.

Special moment, instant of grace...

In this period where PRs from chateaux are suspected of having multiple conflicts of interest, I still believe that one can do a good job of journalist and love people.
Well, I did not find another title to describe an amazing meeting I just had; proof that this industry is really exciting.

This subject came up because of an interview I had with two well-known journalists I knew very little about.
It’s hard to believe that I can still be surprised by journalists, their way of being, living and working, but in this case, something more made it special... they live in the Gironde.
Originally from Switzerland and Germany but true francophiles.
Rolf Bichsel and Barbara Schroeder just opened their PR agency Vinmédia and came to my place to ask me a few questions and shoot an internet film (I guess).
The style was Rock and roll, even disco; I don’t think that the German magazine Vinum would publish such article.
Barbara Schroeder’s questions were “sharp” and “fresh” I didn’t even understand one of them:
“Do you like art?” – it was only after searching on the internet that I realized she was an artist, Rolf Bichsel was holding the camera and enjoying filming us and directing our 1st encounter. I asked them: Why didn’t we meet before?
Barbara's answer was half-serious, half-teasing: “You did not need it!”
Fortunately, Rolf knows that a cat, even from the gutter, needs daily caresses.

I look forward to seeing the final film of this time we spent together at L’Essentiel on YouTube.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Saint Emilion

Lots of good things are taking place in Saint Emilion.
Domaines Clarence Dillon, from the Prince Robert de Luxembourg, was wise to buy one of the most beautiful properties in Saint Emilion, Château Tertre Daugay and the famous Chinese actress Zhao Wei just bought Château Monlot.

These purchases, plus those of other motivated investors, even if less famous, demonstrate the vitality and reputation of our beautiful appellation, and I hope the new classification will reinforce our new neighbors on the merits of their choice.

Paris - Saint Emilion connexion

The Jules et Jim Hotel opens its doors on December 19, 11 rue des Gravilliers 75003 Paris. It was created by Goeffroy Sciard who owns with his family Château Faurie de Souchard in Saint Emilion.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

On the web

On Monday, I typed the word Valandraud in the search engines; it appeared in several languages including English, Indonesian, Russian, German, Chinese and French.

In Chinese an article listing the 10 most celebrated, rarest and most expensive wines in the world included Valandraud 1995.

In German, René Gabriel gave 20/20 on, again, Valandraud 1995, in Russian they mention the arrival of Andrea Franchetti in Kiev, in Ukraine, and its relationship to Valandraud and Pingus; in Indonesian the same article is written on the 10 wines that it must be drunk once in the life, etc...


I cannot resist sharing with you Gilles Berdin’s lines, who visited us at the beginning of last week:
"A week ago we met and the two wines we tasted are still haunting me. I’ve been talking about them to everyone!
Frankly, it's rare that I react that way as I often have emotions in tastings, but in this case...

While writing down the content of our conversation, I realized that at the time, I didn’t say a word, shocked by this great discovery and then, eureka, I knew:
Blanc de Valandraud 2010 is the revolution of the sun during an unforgettable summer day which began with a soft and silky dawn, a crescendo ending in an explosion of light which finishes subtly its run on an endless twilight. This delicate attack, explosion of fine aromatics mid-palate and long finish make it an e-x-c-e-p-t-i-o-n-a-l wine.
As for the 2009 red, it is simply the little Bacchus in velvet breeches. It was so good! Again I would have much to say but I refrain.

I should not drink such wines because they trigger a nonsensical gibberish that I cannot control. Nevertheless, I hope to find the right angle to share this experience with readers. "

Thanking him for this enthusiastic post, I asked him permission to transcribe his email here: "No problem, you can even mention my name if you feel like it - I must learn to accept my delusions.”
Thank you Gilles.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The 2007 Classification of Bordeaux wines

The 2007 classification of Bordeaux wines, published by Rémy Poussart, who also owns the Grand Jury International des Vins, is a bit of a megalomaniac project from a true wine lover who wants to rewrite the laws and the classifications of wine, either historical ones, or drawn by well-known media like Decanter, Robert Parker, etc... A funny blend of contrarians such as Dussert & Gerber, who I never speak about, or sites such as La Passion du Vin where amateurs remake the world.

This 1st classification is the result of real hard work and as anything that comes out of wine tasting, regardless of skill or commercial interests; some part is good and others debatable like any human endeavor. I agreed to present some of the wines from my properties and many of them did pretty well, especially Domaine des Sabines, who arrived in 1st place out of 7 in Lalande de Pomerol wines; unfortunately many well-known crus were missing. Too bad. Still, many of our customers like it despite the bad reputation of the vintage. In the Margaux appellation, more amazing is the good place reached by our Chateau Bellevue de Tayac which was ranked 8th out of 40 wines and received a better note that the famous Chateau Margaux and many classified growths.
In Pomerol, Clos du Beau Père 2007 was ranked 12 in front of crus I know are better. Even if our wine deserves it, let’s remain sensible, otherwise it could become an issue…

The 5th place in Saint Emilion may seem correct if you look at the wines ranked 1st which are behind. Again, it seems odd, for me - to see 3 de Valandraud 2007 ranked in front of Clos Badon 2007, especially when you see well-known crus which are seriously better than my wines, and which were ranked behind. This is either due to this collegial blind tasting which mixes ratings from industry professionals and amateurs, where erratic notes have been deleted like Le Guern does.

I like “crazy” ideas and that's why I talk so much of this grand classification of Bordeaux wines, which, unfortunately for its creator, may not have an impact, or shift the current lines. I like this quote: when trying too hard to prove a point, you end up proving the opposite.
In any case it is a beautiful 1st place, overall, for Beauséjour Bécot 2007; I hope that this will have as much influence on this wine as the 1st place reached by Sociando Mallet in François Mauss’ Grand Jury Europeen.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Business lunch (or almost)

The lunch was part business, part pleasure, as it is often the case in our industry.
It’s hard to behave only like machines, the world of wine is made of encounters and we can be friends with our customers, our critics, our suppliers while maintaining our freedom. Anyway, that's how I try to live a job which is also my passion.

Before the meal, we tasted 4 wines from our property in the Roussillon: Thunevin-Calvet, so we could get a professional opinion from the Rhone wines.
2008 Constance is good, fresh and neat; it’s not surprising that at that price, this wine works well with our clients. Then, 2007 Dentelles, really good, easy to drink, structured, balanced, nothing over the top in this wine, also a great value price. What are my staff and my customers missing?
Then 2007 Hugo, a great wine, powerful, almost Spanish in style, or Napa, or Australian, but again sold at a good price for customers who like this modern Mediterranean-style wine. 3 Marie 2007 is simply a great wine and if it wasn’t labeled Roussillon, it ould sell for 200 to 300 euros, but unfortunately word Roussillon is on the label and except for Petite Siberie, there are almost no wines able to claim such status from this beautiful region.

For lunch, we were 7 including Xavier, Rémi, Murielle and myself. To start, we drank Valandraud Blanc 2008, which was really good, even though we didn’t taste it blind

Then, blind paired with an omelet with black truffle from last Spring: on the left, everyone's favorite, a wine with finesse, length and truffles aromas recalling great Pomerol and its iron rich terroir. On the right we had a powerful wine, much younger, austere, no one guessed it. One of our guests found the vintage which was 2000. L’Interdit de Valandraud (the forbidden Valandraud) was on the left, Leoville Las Cases on the right.

2nd wines paired with a delicious sirloin and Joel Robuchon‘s truffled mashed potataoes:
On the left, a sexy wine where the vintage was found by half of the table: 1998. The suggested appellations were: Pomerol, Old Certan? No, it was Valandraud 1998, a beautiful bottle with a perfect cork, preferred by 5 out of 7. On the right, a more powerful wine with a beautiful terroir. Both wines were relatively similar for some of the guests, less sexy, it was Latour 1998, 1st growth from Pauillac.

Following, and not blind, the Basque cake from Chez Lopez (I thought we would have the chocolate cake  !) : Maury 2007 Thunevin-Calvet, good but not a match for this Basque cake; the elegance, race and harmony of Yquem 2005 was the perfect pairing for this dessert.
Coffee and nap… hard to get back to work again; for this is also my life as a winery owner and negociant.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What’s a good pairing with chocolate : Thunevin Calvet Maury

What’s best to drink with chocolate?Thunevin Calvet Maury! Often it is question of pairing between food and drink, wine in our case. Misconceptions, meat and red wine, cheese and red wines, are often viewed as facts in France.

Sauterne can be served with roast chicken and be a perfect pairing, goat cheeses served with sweet white or dry white are often better than red wine, etc... One of the easiest pairing for me is to serve our Maury wine with the chocolate desert from Lopez (the pastry chef from Libourne).

So, the question often asked about what to drink with chocolate, is easy to answer: Maury, and especially our own 2004 or 2007, a perfect match with chocolate cake, by the way Nicolas de Rouyn agrees with me 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Murielle was interviewed by and despite what she said; I think she did very good in the piece which was intended to highlight the role of women in society, the economy, companies. Of course, the wine world seems quite like a man’s world.
Of course, there are more properties whose image is exclusively represented by its owner, rarely by a female owner and even more rarely by a couple, although the Cathiard from Smith Haut Lafitte are the exception.
Murielle gave her name to Valandraud and is 100% responsible for several years for the whites, planted in 2000, and the latest vintages of Valandraud as well.
This is not a role for the occasion, but a role of a woman executive!

We drank a bottle of Domaine de la Tour du Bon 1998 Cuvée Saint Ferréol from Bandol; I read that it is a blend of Mourvèdre (90%) and Carignan (10%). In any case the wine is all there, as strong as a Bordeaux, with a bit of brick color and hints of brown, a true “southern” nose and a pleasant palate, in my opinion, however the style a bit too “classic” for me.
Baby Bad Boy 2009, quite a different wine; it will be ready to drink wine in 2 / 3 years served cool like a “claret”, for the texture of this wine is between red and rosé, its aromatic nose makes this wines enjoyable to drink after the aperitif with tapas. Merlot 70% and 30% Grenache, vinified without looking to extract tannins for cellaring.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Grand Tasting

We traveled to Paris to participate at the Grand Tasting organized by Bettane & Desseauve in the Carousel du Louvre. A lot of people attended except on Friday morning. It is true that this year our table was a bit out of the way, at least we had more space. It’s not easy to know what a good location is in a trade show like this one or Vinexpo. Should we aim for a lot of people or only to those who seek us?

Our team of Terre de Lisse, including Pressac, Faugères, Rol Valentin, Fleur Cardinale and Valandraud has since added Sansonnet and properties in Pomerol or Castillon from Faugères and Rol Valentin. For my part, we poured Fleur Cardinale 2008, Sansonnet 2008, Bad Boy 2009 and 2009 Valandraud red and white.

We ran out of bottles of Valandraud and should have had 14 or 15 bottles, while 10 bottles where sufficient for the other wines?

It was also an opportunity to meet friends, colleagues, Italian, French or from other countries as well as direct and private clients or customers of our cutomers restaurant or wine shops. This year, our booth was tended by David, Didier, Murielle and I for our wines, Marie Bénédicte and Christophe for Sansonnet and Matthieu for Fleur Cardinale. I had no time to attend any Master Classes but they were packed and had high profile guests. We had a nice meal at the Brasserie Ruc opposite the Carrousel du Louvre, with its beautiful setting and attentive service, and we were fortunate to find a good 2009 Réserve Perrin at a decent price for this kind of place.

For a long time, we wanted to see Pierre Arditi in the theater, and we finally did it. This play performed in the Théatre Montparnasse with three other actors will remain as one of this year’s highlights. Mr. Arditi’s enhanced our happiness and privilege to meet him after the show and to sign pictures of all of us tasting Valandraud during another trade show.
During this meeting, Pierre Arditi mentioned a shop located Boulevard Saint Germain who carries most of our wines. Thank you Thomas

Friday night, nothing, we were exhausted and had bad dinner in a brasserie close to our hotel Scribe, which actually was a nice place.
On Saturday, we had dinner at friends of ours, film producers, who were celebrating their new house near Beaubourg with one of our most loyal private client (thank you Cecile). During the meal we started with a producer champagne which I did not write the name, followed by a 1948 Haut Bommes Sauternes our friend François Audouze would have loved, it was very good although not too sweet, paired perfectly with foie gras. We then had a 2008 Hermitage white from Chave which worked well with scallops and Fall truffles, with the meat we had a very good bottle which I had not drank for a long time: the famous Chateau Montrose 1990; a magnum might have been more suitable for friends who are true "lovers." After, Petit Village 1990 Pomerol, difficult to follow Montrose, still very young and with a good number of years ahead and because we wanted him to taste one of our wines: Virginie de Valandraud 2007 to give us the strength to take a taxi and go to bed after 1 am.

The TGV is always nice, we ran into many colleagues from Bordeaux on the way to Paris and back.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Clos du Beau-Père

Tastings have many surprises: wines known to be good are not rated or even badly rated. For example a higher note was given in the UK to Virginie de Valandraud than to Valandraud 2007. This was already the case a few years ago in a tasting at Dupont Grisol at Rolland’s place, where Virginie – which at the time really tasted like a “2nd label” - was not, however, what this wine became today...

In the last issue of the beautiful magazine Fine Wine, is not noted Valandraud 2007 was not rated but Clos du Beau-Père 2007 was noted among 15 others already famous Pomerol.

Being able to get 15.5 for this property is rather a nice recognition of the work undertaken by us since 2006.

Our Lalande de Pomerol Domaine des Sabines will be our success story for 2011.

Excerpt from the article:
Clos du Beau-Père ( 13% ABV )- 15.5

MB : Excellent, full, Merlot-like nose ; classical Pomerol texture, structure, and taste, picked at the right moment, with an excellent, firm finish.16.5

TD : Dark color; a smoky nose; dark fruit on palate, with intense, ripe, solid tannins, but good balance and classic, powerfull Pomerol personality.

MS: Light nose, with wood currently dominating the ripe fruit a bit; nicely balanced, lighter style of Pomerol, slightly dry-edged for the available fruit. Fresh, ripe and straigforward, with moderate complexity and length. Drink 2013-2028. 14.5

Friday, December 2, 2011

It’s not because we talk that we don’t have anything to say, nor to drink!

For lunch, we drank with Gilles Berdin : Valandraud Blanc 2010, with small scallops, a perfect pairing. The wine had fresh aromas of flowers from fruit trees, pineapple, litchi, mangos, peaches, super fat, silky, concentrated and still with enough acidity to be light with persistent aromatic finish. The famous Caudalies are the privilege of fine wine. Following, chicken with Valandraud 2009 which we will open more often as the wine is big and without a doubt the best we made for the past 20 years, since the beginning of Valandraud.

On the site of the Wine Spectator, readers ask James Molesworth to recommend the best values of the 2009 vintage. His response is:
« Don't worry - I'll find some value for you. Look for the names profiled back in the April cover store - chateaus like Dalem, Rollan de By, Brown, La Tour Figeac, Jean Faux, Domaine de l'A and Jean-Luc Thunevin's Bad Boy (Mauvais Garçon) bottling...I've also uncovered some other interesting, off-the-radar properties so far in my '09 tastings and will report back on them as well... »

The Grand Tasting starts tomorrow, December 2 at the Carrousel du Louvre, stop by our stand: 131!

Saint Emilion

The bar of the CIVB in Bordeaux is a busy place with another book signing event for a new book on Saint Emilion, published by Editions Feret (who will soon translate the famous "Feret" in Chinese) put together by the painter Philippe Dufrenoy and many pictures from Jean Marie Langery and Jean Bernard Nadeau. It is a beautiful book and great gift for all Saint Emilion lovers.
Plenty of Saint Emilion locals (40?) made the effort to cross the river. I'm certain that more people will attend the next presentation in Saint Emilion.

Some of the guests met-up afterwards for lunch at the famous brasserie Le Noailles where we had the pleasure of welcoming a few Québecois well known in the wine world.
It’s a pity that the wine list doesn’t feature more affordable wines (between 40 and 80 euros). There are certainly enough affordable wines available to sell while making a decent margin...


Michel Bettane wrote in the famous newspaper Le monde, an article titled: “Terroirisme, the politically correct thought of the moment”.

Michel Bettane redefines, analyzes and comments in this article the word terroiriste he invented. It is also useful and interesting to read comments from different people, for or against, their thoughts, improving our understanding of the word terroir, its meaning, hidden secrets and what it suggests or reveals.

I am certainly very close to Michel Bettane thoughts. Every time I am somewhere in the world to promote my wines, the word terroir is often mentioned and I answer with examples: 1975 Margaux produced by Bernard Ginestet and Margaux 1977 signed by Metzopoulos with the advice of Emile Penaud. Equally telling are the revelation of the terroir of Pingus or La Mondotte.

The example of La Mondotte is the most telling, before and after the decision to make a great wine, same terroir and yet totally different.
Following the creation of this word by Michel Bettane, I wanted to show-off by inventing scatovinophile, necrovinophile and one of the speaker created pédovinophile...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Drank this weekend with our meals

We drank a bunch of wines during our meals including an incredible Pingus 2007; this wine was alive and had amazing changes, shut tight at the beginning, a bit like a Bordeaux aristocrat, then after 45 minutes, old roses, ripe black cherry fruit... This wine drunk between 3 people would have been better in… a magnum! At the end, we had some Fine Bordeaux from Valandraud, the bottle already opened 3 or 4 months, smooth.

For Lunch, Meursault Buisson Charles 2008 with huge lobster, it was good, but even better as an aperitif in the evening. Following, we had a delicious, excellent, very modern, we all loved: Corton Charlemagne 2006 from Vincent Girardin.
Following, a serie from the Right Bank : Gracia 2006, La Clotte 2008, Quinault L’Enclos 1997, Petit Gravet Ainé 2003 and the best was Croix de Labrie 2004, a pleasure to drink, even for our guests who are used to drink high-end wine. We finished, for a toast to René Renou, with Bonnezeaux 1997 Cuvée Zénith, old style and the other wine in the competition and given by Pascal Carrère, Tokay Aszu 5 Puttenyos Henye : apricot, pineapple, a real treat with fresh mango.

We also had in a small group Valandraud 1997, 2007 and 2009, Blancs de Valandraud 2009, 1st and 2nd cuvees.

Chance, concordance, synchronicity

Marc Dworkin, consultant winemaker in various countries including China told me that 200 millimeters of rain fell just before the harvest. This confirms my belief that we’ve been lucky in the past few years with the good climate we’ve experienced in Bordeaux. Once more: 2011 is looking to be a very good vintage.

Marc Dworkin was the first one who, at the time when he was in charge of Chateau Larmande, introduced me to ripe cabernet sauvignon and franc, without this flavor of green pepper, which seemed to be typical at that time.

Aromas of candied orange were a revelation for me as one of the components of ripe Cabernet and stayed etched in my memory for a long time. I know that some prefer green pepper in their cabernet, but for me, I prefer to eat green peppers in my salad, everybody has their own taste.

Chance and the synchronicity of events made that Jacques Salle, a former bio-dynamic winemaker in Quincy and boss of a wine magazine (Vintage International) called me this evening. Marc Dworkin Introduced us a long time ago in the restaurant “Le Bord d’Eau” in Fronsac.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Travel diary: China in November - continued

Monday 14
Visit of the new offices and warehouse of our French partner FTI who started in Shanghai several years ago. Then had lunch with the local branch of one of our French bank in Bordeaux, the BNP. We went to a good Vietnamese restaurant located in a nice area: fashion boutiques and restaurants located in an old neighborhood with narrow & picturesque streets.

Following, we visited to a major internet retailer, shot a small video clip about Bad Boy and my story, played a short game of foosball (I lost 2 to 1) and ran to catch the high-speed train (300 kms/hr) to Changzhou for a dinner organized by one of our distributors who has over 30 shops and restaurants. A brand new Days and Suites Hotel, with 4 star comfort for less than 50 euros.

Dinner was of very high standard: we were 9 and had a very good and filling meal. The main guest had a great sense of humor and has been a wine lover for over 20 years. He was born in 1951, like me, but looked much younger ... genetics! Well, this traditional meal with its multitude dishes was served by two waitresses and a sommelier, to make sure that nothing was missing at any time: the glasses are filled with a small amount of wine for the countless "cheers" where it is customary to finish your glass!

Vegetables, soups, dishes?, Chicken, beef, crab and pork dim sum, black mushrooms, fresh water fish, shrimp, small and large, game, turtle, shark fin soup, a large crab from a local river prepared for me because there are no crab tongs and everything is done either by hand with gloves to avoid getting dirty or... with teeth.

Salad and noodles, I must have forgotten a few dishes... The wine we drank with pleasure were Bad Boy 2006 which is imported exclusively by my distributor, 3 de Valandraud 2003, Virginie de Valandraud 2006 and a very good Valandraud 1997 (4800 bottles produced) still young, fat and even a hint of green pepper and vegetal. Still, this wine should have no problem to reach the top 3 when tasted blind with other famous wines in this difficult vintage.

I went back to the hotel with a box of rare Chinese tea and a 30 year old bottle of Moutai, one of the rarest and most expensive Chinese spirits (€2000), the level of some of the rarest cuvees of Cognac. (Our guests received from our client the usual gifts of Valandraud and Virginie).

Tuesday 15
We left with the HRC, the local TGV for the city of Kunshan. I am happily surprised by the quality and punctuality of the high-speed train, comfortable and on time! We had an appointment with a potential client, a state company with important means and potential. This city is the capital of manufacturing for the internet, iPods, cameras, computers, a wealthy city...

We tasted Valandraud 2006 followed by a lunch on the water by a lake. It is the season for local crabs which are supposed to be better than the neighboring region. In any case, they already have an experimental vineyard, a cellar and plans for agro-tourism. On the road signs were posted to promote a colleague in Bordeaux, Castel, using all means of communication, with lafite and a portfolio of small Bordeaux and Torres from Spain: they open the doors to Wines: their own and then ours, different and necessary for them and for us... Diversity is our strength.


I took a walk in Pomerol, Jean-Francois and his team took advantage of good weather to replace dead stock from old age or illness by young ones, a young vine Cabernet Franc with red leaves like a Carmenère.

Our neighbor Jean-Marie Bouldy, Château Bellegrave, who makes a good wine produced and practices organic farming, built a new cellar for his barrels: his loyal customers restaurants need older wines, so you have create enough room to store several vintages.

Pomerol is on the move, Le Pin’s cellar is finished and the one from Petrus is advancing, la Conseillante has to have some work done, this beautiful and prestigious appellation seems to catch-up time.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Peter Morrell

During our recent trip to the Wine Spectator’s Wine Experience, an employee from Peter Morrell, a well-known wine merchant in New York, who tasted Valandraud 2006, asked me to take a picture in the vineyards, so on November 22, I took this picture while there was still leaves on the vine, 20 degrees Celsius, wild cranes just starting to migrate towards Africa, and the malolactic fermentation being easily done probably helped by good weather and relatively a low amount of malics.

The Kosher cuvee of Virginie 2011 already finished its Malolactics and started aging in new oak barrels.
Pruning has started and a bit of cold weather would drop the leaves, you cannot have everything, don’t you?

Travel diary: China in November

Wednesday 9, Bordeaux-Paris-Guangzhou: I left Saint Emilion at 4 pm and arrived in Shenzhen at 8 pm on Thursday 10 with a 7 hour time difference (1 pm in Paris). Hôtel Crowne Plaza under 100 euros and 4 stars.
2nd day and 1st meeting set at 9:30 am which ended up taking place at 11:30 for there was another hotel with the same name in the city! I had a conversation and discussed our plans with Marco, who already lived a thousand lives, including that of great sportsman, a singer in a band, a manufacturer of slot machines in Macau and now in the wine industry. We had a good Chinese meal with his partners, clients of a large national company.
Following, we met at 3 pm sharp with one of our other customer for several years for a “normal” meeting: tasting of new wines from our portfolio he imports: my daughter’s property called Domaine Virginie Thunevin 2009; delicious wine, modern, stylish, aged in new barrels which provides a certain sweetness. We are currently getting very good barrels from our suppliers: which could contribute to the success of the 2009 vintage.

This very different Château de Carles 2006 is more classic with a true Bordeaux-like style. The 2009 vintage is a bit more austere as we use a very different method of vinification. Moving forward with Calandray 2010, Côtes Du Roussillon produced for us by the Cave de Maury, a great success for the past 10 years and an unbeatable quality-price-ratio, in the style of the Roussillon. It will never get good reviews from the RVF but it is well liked by 80% of our customers. This wine is so good that it is the proof that Roussillon can be easy to sell, granted you spend the energy promoting and selling the region and put the proper amount of attention in work and tastings. It reminds me the story of God telling a believer who complained of not winning the lottery, to buy a ticket at least! (Jewish story)

Following, we tasted Château Vieux Poirier 2010, organic, good, with a vegetal but noble nose, Followed by a wonderful Maro de Saint Amant 2008, a guaranteed success. Blanc de Valandraud N°2 2007, Virginie de Valandraud 2006, showing well right now, Valandraud 2011 opened 3 hours before; it will be very fine wine to drink in 10 years, Haut Brion 1986 and with our meal Clos Badon 2004 and a very good and young Léoville Poyferré 2004, Vive the Medoc… Especially when we like the producers. I went to bed at 12:30 am, the time difference working in my favor;
Saturday 12, morning meeting with the man who could become our biggest customer worldwide.

I had lunch at a popular restaurant for 2/3 euros per person, the paradox of China, where we had a meeting with a distributor and then left at 2 pm for a two hour drive on the highway to Foshan in the Guangdong province, and once again with millions of people. I stayed at a 4-star Intercontinental hotel for less than 100 euros per night; luxury hotels are adapted to the means of the country. Such a hotel would cost in France between 400 and 800 euros, service is a noble word here, and there are plenty of young and available people ready to work.
We went to the posh store of our customer who has a true passion for Bordeaux and the right bank: Château de Pressac, Château La Dominique, Château Cheval Blanc, Château Ausone, La Mondotte, La Conseillante, Petrus, Lafleur, Le Pin and even wines from the left bank such as Pape Clément or Latour. We then went to the restaurant district where we ate in a restaurant with 10 private rooms seating 20 in addition to the restaurant with 400 seats. Each room had a name: Rayas –Pétrus –Cheval Blanc – Ducru Beaucaillou ….
120 guests attended this meal where the following wines were served: Blanc de Valandraud N°2 2008, Valandraud 2004 -2007 and 3 double magnums of 1995 which I drank for the 1st time: great wine with fruit plus aging, almost perfect wine worthy of the program shown on M6! Large formats, starting with magnums are great for the aging of wine, perhaps due to the size and the ratio cork-wine-oxygen.

Sunday, we left at 10am for Guangzhou by car and then took a plane for Shanghai at 12:30 pm arriving at 2:45 pm: no time to visit this huge work in progress that is China. Every time our client or prospective client picked-us up at the airport or the hotel and took us back to the airport or hotel (this time a 4 star Howard Johnson boutique style), it is difficult to be more attentive.
So it was one more office visit, shop and warehouse of our new customers in Shanghai. In fact, we went there to celebrate his new place, a sort of house-warming party: 25 client friends gathered for the occasion in his office where there is a tasting area. Fine glasses and all the wines served at the correct temperature. Following, we had dinner in a Spanish restaurant where we drank Bel Air Lescours 2007 Saint Emilion AOC, which we produce from time to time when I buy a crop before harvesting and vinification. Very nice fruit and noble wood, which obviously makes it richer than many classified growths reluctant to buy new barrels, despite its sales price! Anyway, it is a very nice generic Saint Emilion.

Coucy 2005, château located in Montagne Saint Emilion which I managed for a few years. I am proud of this wine made with the children of the former owners. Again, it is a very good value for money. In addition, it was a damn good vintage! Then, I rediscovered a wine bought in 1999 and 2000: the Château le Bernat 1999, Puisseguin Saint Emilion, a wine with great qualities, power, tamed by the years, with fine tannins at the same level than a famous cru, unfortunately it’s not enough to be good, it is still necessary to be aware of it and promote it.

Then it was Château Bel Air Ouÿ 2004, showing well now, smooth despite this austere vintage, followed by our 1st vinification in Margaux, Chateau Bellevue de Tayac 2004 so good and much appreciated here by our Chinese customers who tend to like the Left Bank. Long live the 1855 classification and this prestigious appellation of Margaux with a famous cru bearing the same name, it helps the reputation of other properties featuring Margaux appellation which opens the doors to Bordeaux lovers. We finished with a quick and early dinner, which I appreciate in China for me who’s used to eat at 7 pm in Saint Emilion. Here in China, I don’t fell out of place.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I would rather not

Waiting in planes and airports gives me the opportunity to read. This time in Courrier International, a short resume of several articles published in the press around the world, including one initially featured in The New Republic “A Patron Saint for Occupy Wall Street”.

Bartleby, written by Herman Melville in 1853 was already talking about civil disobedience, long before the famous Mahatma Gandhi. This article draws a parallel with disenfranchised Americans in Occupy Wall Street. I'm sure Bartleby ... would rather not!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Decanter and the Wine Spectator

In the December issue of Decanter, Le Clos des Fees is featured on pages 8 and 9 and in the Best of France 2011, Fleur Cardinale 2008 is ranked 13th out of 289 French wines and 3rd in Saint Emilion. Bravo.

In the Best of 2008 Pomerol, Clos du Beau Père reached 5th place close to La Conseillante, La Fleur de Plince ranked 11th!

There is also a nice picture of Reine Sammut illustrating her restaurant La Fenière in Lourmarin and where I’ve had to go for the past 20 years! Guy, if you read me

On October 27, the website of the Wine Spectator mentioned the sales of the historical building of the Cordeliers in Saint Emilion, and a few days before James Molesworth listed 20 Bordeaux 2009 he particularly liked including Domaine de l’A (92 points $30), Jean Faux (91 points $30), Rollan de By et Tour Seran ( 91 points $37), La Clare (90 points $25) et Clos des Menuts (90 points).

Saturday, November 12, 2011

On the road again!

Gone again for a 10 day trip to China : Canton, Shanghai, Beijing, etc... different city almost every day, travel broadens the mind!

Friday, November 4, 2011


With the team of Château Fleur Cardinale, Bob, Jean Philippe Fort, I tasted samples from 15 vats of Fleur Cardinale 2011, all had the same quality, with a gleaming black color, intense, soft tannins and ripe fruit, soft and silky mouth feel, we didn’t get tired enjoying all these batches with dense Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with a luscious texture rarely seen. It was hard not to drink even before malolactic. It's a good sign.

Valandraud 2011: we tasted the last batches of Carmenère, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, all very black and very dense but we have to wait until the malolactic are done, which are always late at our place. The devatting ended last Wednesday.

As the weekend approaches, I recommend checking out the site of Saint Emilion’s Tourist office where you will find lots of ideas for walks, discoveries and tips: free visits, discounts, etc...


For subscribers of, Neal Martin posted his tasting notes following the tasting in January 2011 properly organized for many years by English merchants. They tasted blind Bordeaux wines they sell.

Virginie de Valandraud 2007 got a nice comment and noted 89. Valandraud was not noted for being a bit too over-ripe. In general, we try to be better for the 1st wine than the second, but for sure, over-ripeness in 2007 was not easy!

2007 Virginie de Valandraud 89
Tasted blind at the 2007 Bordeaux horizontal in Southwold. The Virginie 2007 has a very fine bouquet with fresh blueberry, cassis and macerated dark cherries with well integrated vanillary oak. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins, good structure with hints of liquorice and black olive. Very poised on the finish. Classy. Tasted January 2011.

2007 Chateau Valandraud ?
Tasted blind at the 2007 Bordeaux horizontal in Southwold. A strange showing of Valandraud, coming across as extraordinarily ripe on the nose, very exotic with signs of sur-maturité towards the finish. This sample does not seem to correlate to wine I tasted at primeur so I will seek to re-taste this. Tasted January 2011.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Figaro weekend

I didn’t read it, but friends told me that Le Figaro included in the October 28 issue, Clément Pichon 2009 among good wines. Sure it's a good wine with a competitive QPR.

Thank you Isabelle Bunisset, except that I am no longer the manager of the Vignobles Fayat for the past 2 years. Although the talented team that made the 2006 - 2007 - 2008 under my stewardship is still there and I am still involved with them on a property in Pomerol and Lalande de Pomerol, and consult for them from time to time, there is now a different manager called Yannick Evenou.

Sansonnet 2011

This is a property to reckon with this year. I tasted 5 batches already poured in new barrels and before malolactic and it is already promising. Its terroir is as good a 1st growth and the personnel and equipment invested of the same level. We’ll just see if the March tastings will prove my point?

I drank during a meal with a friend an astonishing wine I discovered during Bettane & Desseauve’s tasting at the Carrousel du Louvre, thanks to Hervé Bizeul and François Mauss: Mariasole Lacrima di Morro d’Alba 2007 from Domaines Lucchetti. With 16.5%, this wine will not please everyone’s palate. The power of the fruit opens up in the glass after a few minutes and brings out aromas of dark red roses which are both heady and spicy making me want to drink some more. Thank you for the recommendation François. I would love to plant some here but this varietal is not authorized by our appellation  and my nursery has not been able to find any.
The vinification of this wine is also special with a long maceration and short aging, if I believe the internet the price of this bottle seems to be quite cheap.

I drank with my family a bottle of Griffe de Cap d’Or 1998 we produced in the beautiful terroir of this small appellation of Saint Georges Saint Emilion, south facing hillside, clayey-limestone, a dream terroir. My father-in-law was still helping us harvest at that time and this 100% Merlot matured nicely. A fine wine, in the style of a Pomerol with truffles, spices and ripe grapes. This wine was already very good at that time, 1998 being a great vintage on the right bank, rated 89 by Robert Parker and the other vintages 87/88, with similar notes in the Wine Spectator, it was ranked No 1 during the Satellite Crus Cup organized in 1998-1999-2000. I still have the nice carafe I received during the event and which astonished everyone. Goes to show that there are no “bad terroir”, but only under-utilized terroir which is still relevant today.

Also still valid today is the focus on only noble appellations, forgetting that just in the right bank you also have Fronsac, Lussac Saint Emilion and Montagne, Puisseguin Saint Emilion and the cuvee produced by their cooperative, even Côtes de Francs and Castillon, Bourg, Blaye and even some Bordeaux...

Friday, October 28, 2011


Jörgen Lindström organized a tasting in Sweden of 2008 Bordeaux with 7 Tasters and had the following results: Virginie de Valandraud 2008, 92/100 points, Valandraud 95/100, Clos du Beau Père 90/100, La Dominique 93/100, all compared to a few other great wines also tasted. It confirms that the new "softer" approach I put together with my employees and Murielle in charge of vinification and the vineyards, is liked by our customers.

The tasting I just did a few days ago with a friend who stopped by our home confirmed that Valandraud 2009 and 2010 are great bottles, and the first bottle of Virginie de Valandraud 2009 tasted yesterday with Rémi, Christophe, Jean Philippe and Murielle was the best Virginie ever produced by us, unfortunately, vintages of the century are rare ... One to two times every 10 years ... Jokes aside, I can’t wait to read the 1st reviews of journalists on these 2009, who I believe will really enjoy them. In this regard, Izak Litwar is absolutely right to write that Valandraud 2008 is 100% due to Murielle’s talent: I was not there during the harvest, actually as in 2009 and 2010.

Also, I already stated that Fourcas Hosten is a wine to watch closely. Don’t wait till everyone talks about it.


Why are there no residence receiving artists in St. Emilion similar to Chateau Fombrauge?

Bernard Magrez is a good example of philanthropy with his cultural institute in Hôtel Labottière in Bordeaux and their affiliates in Chateaux Pape Clement and La Tour Carnet.
Why are there no foundations in Saint Emilion that would achieve great things and provide incentives for tax exemption projects?

The town of Saint Emilion is a wonderful place but doesn’t have the money to maintain and capitalize on its heritage. It would be great to preserve our family jewels. Are there ways to achieve this?

We need more people like Bernard Magrez to compensate for the 200 people living in Saint Emilion all year round.

Deliveries of the 2009

The warehouse in Saint Magne de Castillon is buzzing with work: the 2009 futures are being delivered by the chateaux or colleague negociants and are being prepared for shipment. Chateaux have been releasing their wines since March this year and this until March / April next year. It's a lot work, considering that a great vintage creates more sales and increases the number of references.

With this amount of work, Petits Chateaux, more affordable Bordeaux are selling very well, this 2009 vintage is really good and wines sold between 3 and 15 euros wholesale are in great demand.

After two years of average sales (11 million), the next one will easily reach between 15 and 17 million and probably fall back to 11/13 million in a couple of years.

The advantage of selling futures is that I have a fairly clear vision of what will happen in the next 18/24 months, after that it becomes more hypothetical.

Meanwhile, beautiful vineyards of Bordeaux are still selling well; according to the RVF, the remarkable terroir of Chateau Guillot in Pomerol has been sold. The buyer knows the full potential of this beautiful property, Michel Bettane had already noticed this property; La Violette and La Providence have also been rediscovered by their new owners.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I was never able to only put water in my water

Quote from Francis Picabia.

In fact, "to water down one’s wine" really means to lower one’s pretentions.

Well, the 2011 harvest can be deemed as good vintage, thanks to the careful and responsive work done in the vineyards.

I extend my thank to Paul-Marie Morillon, Christopher Lardière, Xavier Lacoste and all my employees working in the vineyards for they had to endure extreme weather changes this year: a drought in the spring, heat waves, heavy rains in the summer and fortunately ideal weather on time for the harvest.

In the end we have a good wine, especially in the right bank and particularly in St. Emilion, with levels varying between 13⁰ and 14.5⁰, superb color, ripe tannins and densities which will mostly improve after ageing. We’re devatting the last tanks this week and will be done next week. The employees in the cellar did not stop but the result is good in both quality and quantity and this gives me a reason to smile, even if Monday will give us the chance to have a four days break, it will not be enough to recover from the intense fatigue rarely experienced in our company. Thank you for the nice yields.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


AFP announced the launch of the future classification in 2012 of the wines from Saint Emilion. I learned that Qualisud is responsible for the organization of the tasting and Qualité France of the rest (tax issues, notoriety, etc.)

In particular they mentioned that 96 applications were filed, 28 as 1st Grand Cru Classé and 68 in Grand Cru category, compared with the current classification with 15 classified as 1st Grand Cru Classé and 61 as Cru Classé. You can see that there are no major surge of applicants and, for me, the increase in applications is simply following the natural evolution due to the progress made here, in Saint Emilion, in many properties, which were sleeping beauties.

In fact, why not consider the requests of chateaux which have invested or have been taken over by ambitious owner?!


I just came back from a week in the United States, first flying from Bordeaux to Paris-New York and finally Cleveland where our distributor organized a series of visits to his clients, a lunch with his son James as interpreter, who flew back from Washington just for this occasion.
One of the highlights was a diner organized at the famous restaurant Lola where 12 vintages of Valandraud from 1994 to 2005 were served. Only one bottle was corked, thank you Gabriel, the cork supplier for 2007 .

I will give, each time, the name of the cork supplier, if I know it, when I open a corked bottle. It makes me feel better...

The 2005 tasted very different, remarkably concentrated with red fruit, almost not a wine at this stage but a grape juice, a sort of blackberries and vanilla syrup, not very typical of Bordeaux. The 2000 was amazing; the cork from Amorim was perfect, which is not always the case, unfortunately. Valandraud 1999 is showing great these days, one of the guests’ favorite wine along with 1995 and the big surprise with 1994; arguably the best wine of the vintage in Bordeaux, with still at least 10 years of aging potential? It must be hard for some critics of the time to look back at their notes and extremely negative comments on the aging potential of my wine...

After spending 2 nights in Cleveland I left for Boston, where our distributor, a big company, organized a full day of meetings including one at Brix where 30 of their customers were treated to our show, in French with Christian Dalbavie as translator. It was a beautiful tasting of my wines for an audience of wine lovers, rather Francophile, and if all these people make it to Saint Emilion, we’ll be very busy!
We stopped at the restaurant Harvest –friend of ours, then we attended a diner organized in a beautiful palace in Lenox, Wheatleigh, with, once more a few French supporters and my wines tasted during the meal, where the white was a tremendously successful as well as Bel Air Ouy 2000; again, a corked bottle (Amorim). The hotel and setting were magnificent, with an extremely chic clientele and a significant risk to hit some deer on the roads, incredible! The stress of an accident at night was real.

We drove to New York, then I visited several customers with one of our distributors (3 de Valandraud, etc.), wine shops, restaurants, subway, taxis... New York is a hard working city and is still full of energy.

The next day, I did a presentation of a range of our wine to the sales force of our largest distributor in New York, carrying the largest range including Valandraud and the white, over 10 wines! Lunch in a restaurant with an incredible capacity of 3000 services/day! And I lost my phone during one of those trips, damn!

3 days spent at the Wine Experience at the Marriott Marquis, with a perfect organization, the Gotha of the wine estates and many professionals were present at the tasting, as well as wealthy and courageous wine-lovers with around 280 wines to taste, it’s a lot, considering that nothing is to throw out, from 1st growths to cult wines, etc...
The last evening, a gala dinner for 1300 people took place, where the prize for the best restaurants and wine shop was given by the Wine Spectator and Christian Moueix was rewarded for his properties in Bordeaux and U.S.: La Fleur Pétrus 2005, delicious and Dominus 2001, still a very fine wine. The atmosphere was amazing and I was fortunate to sit at a table where everyone spoke French.

I flew back with Air France with some of my colleagues from Bordeaux and Xavier, and then straight to work. After all there is a lot of work to do if I believe all the wine shops I visited as they intend to order good amount of all our wines including Bellevue de Tayac, 3 de Valandraud, Blanc de Valandraud, Virginie de Valandraud, my daughter’s wine from Domaine Virginie Thunevin, Domaine Thunevin-Calvet in the Roussillon, Bellevue La Randée, Compassant, Bel Air Ouy, Prieuré Lescours, Sabine, and the opportunity to talk about Fleur Cardinale, Carles, Sansonnet...

Sunday, October 23, 2011


This year we signed a partnership with a company to produce exclusively for them a batch of Virginie de Valandraud 2011 kosher, in other word, a vat for 9 barrels (2500/2700 bottles).
It gave us the opportunity to vinify the wine in the same tank with a blend of Merlot 70% and Cabernet Franc 30%. The malolactic and aging is done in 100% new. The 1st tastings are very promising, showing that they did a good job.

Valandraud 2006

I recently tasted Valandraud 2006 with a Chinese customer, which he finds changeable when he tastes it at home in China: wildly available in Hong Kong but shut tight where he lives near Shanghai!

This bottle, served in Riedel glasses, showed very well: the nose was alive, still too young, it will show best in 5-10 years, the oak is not yet integrated, the tannins relatively austere in this cold vintage, nothing to do with the “sweeter” and softer 2007. Paradoxically, this is the advantage of Bordeaux, which can be so different depending on the vintage because of its changeable and unpredictable weather, proving this point again this year.

In evening, with Murielle, the wine was much nicer, “softer”, it supports well oxidation and that’s good news as I poured it at the Wine Spectator’s New York Wine Experience last week.
I prefer for my first participation in this event to present a “difficult” vintage. Next year, the 2007 will definitely please them! Alas, the year after I won’t show the 2008 (which I am sold out of) but instead the 2009. We will have to bring plenty of bottles!

I also drank with a Chinese friend a cult wine from Australia, Clarendon Hills: Astralis 2002, Syrah, what a beautiful wine, still so young and fresh, to revisit in 10 years...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Faurie de Souchard, grand cru classé

Well done site with beautiful pictures, in my opinion.

A reception was held at the chateau for a few brokers and negociants selling the wines of this beautiful property of 12 hectares advised by Stéphane Derenoncourt.

Geoffrey and his brother can be proud of the work already done. The tasting focused on the evolution of the 2007 and 2008 and the superb 2009 and 2010 and make us look forward to the 2011 will most likely be good.

To please us, they served with the meal magnums of 1975 and especially 3 bottles of the rare 1943 which are worth drinking this winter with a specialist and could be the opportunity to invite François Audouze, to have his opinion, especially after reading the notes from Jacques Berthomeau on old wines, Jacques is incredulous compared to François who’s rather a true believer...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

New York Wine Experience

I leave Sunday for a week in the United States to visits our customers on the East Coast and participate on October 20 and 21 to a great tasting event organized by the Wine Spectator in New York along with 250 chateaux!

All the representatives of Bordeaux are very well known: Yquem, Palmer, Ducru Beaucaillou, Cos d'Estournel, the 1st Crus 1855, the top of the wine world will be there and it will be my 1st participation with Christian Dalbavie.

We drank during a late dinner after work, a great magnum of Troplong Mondot 2006, of course too young, too bad, it had not sufficiently well hidden in my basement!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tasting in Sweden

On Friday 14, Jörgen Lindström will organize a tasting in Sweden with a nice line-up of 2008 Bordeaux including Ausone, Haut Brion, Valandraud, La Dominique, La Couspaude, La Croix de Gay and Virginie de Valandraud.

He will send his comments on Friday or Saturday. I look forward to reading them, knowing that for me, 2008 is a good vintage: neither too much nor too little and which was overshadowed by the remarkable 2009.

Big job from Izak Litwar

Izak Litwar posted on its website Great Bordeaux Wine his report on the 2011 harvest, his multiple tastings and on our wines. He particularly liked Valandraud 2009 with a nice comment and gave it 97/100, as well as Valandraud 2010 which he noted 96/100.

In addition, he took nice pictures, where you can see Murielle open a bottle of Clos Badon and the new label of Chateau Bellevue de Tayac! You'll find lots of pictures of the harvest in Bordeaux.
Izak Litwar loves wine, good food and good looking women. But I don’t know in what order?!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Visit in Fronsac

Château de Carles, in full vinification, will probably make a good wine. When will a journalist write an article on this wine and give it its proper value crossing the conventional lines of Bordeaux appellations?

We tasted Haut Carles 2001, classic Bordeaux, 2007 delicate and 2009 simply outstanding.
We visited Château La Dauphine, again in the middle of vinification, with its beautiful cellar and a great team busy working. 2009 tasted really good and is sold a very reasonable price, and the 2nd wine had finesse. Best of all, the property is going through an organic conversion.

Château Haut Mazeris, everyone knows my commitment to this sleeping beauty, the terroir is remarkable, and it constitute a big part of our Bad Boy. So taste the 2009!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Around a bottle, by Gilles Berdin

Lunch with Gilles Berdin, the writer of the series “autour d’une bouteille“(around a bottle – in French) published by Elytis Bordeaux.

He wrote "autour d’une bouteille" about: Andre Lurton, Philippe Raoux, Florence and Daniel Cathiard and François Lévêque which I already read and enjoyed and I still have yet to read: Anthony Barton, Christine and Xavier Pariente.
To be published in the future: Bernard Magrez, Hubert de Bouard de Laforest, Denis Dubourdieu, Pierre Arditi ....

Thank you Decanter

Thank you Decanter for having featured good value Bordeaux in you November issue.

And thank you for the 3 ½-star given to Château Subilaux 2009 from the vineyards of the family of vineyard manager Christophe Lardière – this vintage is already sold-out and we must now switch to 2010 - and thank you for the 3-star for Domaine Virginie Thunevin 2009, from my daughter’s property, especially considering the few stars from Bordeaux included in the same category (we still have some 2006 and 2009 in stock!)

Nice article on the cellar from Cheval Blanc and the notes from the beautiful tasting of legendary vintages including the famous 1947 -1948 - 1961 etc ... It's unfortunate that James Lawther forgot to invite me to open the bottles!

Saturday, October 8, 2011


This is our last day of harvest. After the Cabernet Sauvignon picked on Monday, October 3, in front of the cellar of Valandraud in Saint Etienne de Lisse, it is now the turn of the small plot near Château Fleur Cardinale to be picked today. The Carmenere have gotten rid of their vegetal taste, and by the way, 60% of the crop (as Professor Denis Dubourdieu would say, forgotten varietals... should be forgotten!). This is a complicated varietal in Bordeaux due to our climate.

Fleur Cardinale is currently still harvesting its Merlot, until Saturday night. Next Tuesday-Wednesday will probably be the Cabernet Sauvignon which seems to be very good. As Bob Avargues would say: A bomb (fruit!)

At our place, we started devatting the juice from plots picked around 10-15 September, the length for the vinification and maceration are slightly shorter than usual, the wines are quite surprising for the time being and rather easy to make, the colors are beautiful, the sugars easily turn into alcohol, the PHs are good, tannins soft, only the malos need to be done and I can’t wait...

Invitation from the CIVB

I received an invitation for the release of the book by Jacques Dupont, "The Guide of Bordeaux Wines", published by Grasset.
Note to wine journalists and writers: the CIVB gives them access to their mailing list; provide them with their personalized envelopes and stamps to invite to use the bar of the CIVB for presentations and book signings. Please contact the press department of the CIVB, in addition it is also possible to sell their books there.
Competition for bookstores, usual places, and even book shelves of supermarkets.

This is funded by the CIVB, co financed or is this simply organized and paid by the publisher? It would be useful in the case of financing by the CIVB to do the same thing for the Guide Hachette, Guide Bettane & Desseauve, Guide Quarin, the Guide of René Gabriel, the Parker Guide, James Lawther, Andrew Jefford...
What does François Mauss thinks of this?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Le garage

The garagists lost their charismatic leader.
Steve Jobs, the most famous "garagist" passed away. With Hewlett-Packard, also created in a garage, they have symbolized the American dream, these successes from the Silicon Valley. Part of the success of Valandraud is due to the term "garage wine" and a similar image.

Even Google started in a garage, is shows the impact of the word garage, in the United States.
Reading the stories of these large groups, it is interesting to read that once they made their fortune, they bought the garage they started in, proving that even these businesses have a bit of nostalgic spirit!


Trip to Maury to see the harvest.

Our partners were in the middle of the harvest with another 10 days to pick the grapes located on the high granite parcels of Lesquerde (300/400 m).

Good quantity and quality this year in the Roussillon, with yields around 35 hl / ha! It will be important to taste these wines after malolactic, the balance for many of our wines will be less "Southern" than usual.

For our meal, we drank: The Voulte Gasparet 2009 Corbières, very nice, drinkability is the term I can describe this wine we’ve known for a long time. 2010 Valmy rosé, from Roussillon; nice wine as well for this region not known for its rosés, but it's changing.
A nice series of wines at Claudine and Hervé Bizeul who were still harvesting, in the cellar, and all over the place but who did find time to spend with us and cook a nice meal the way we like it.
The weather has been fantastic in the Roussillon and Bordeaux. This works miracles on wines and spirits. FYI, there are three restaurants in Maury able to satisfy every palate, the Michelin star, the bistro and the country restaurant, all worth a visit.

Debra Meiburg in Hong Kong

Debra Meiburg, TV and internet journalist, and Master of Wine, a rare and difficult title to obtain, interviewed me in Hong Kong for a videos and an article she was putting together on Bad Boy, Valandraud and garage.

Thank you Debra for your generous effort promoting wine, so important for producers and consumers. Here is her website.

The 6th edition of the beautiful magazine, Vigneron, published an in depth portrait of Hubert de Bouard and Angelus, and another on Pierre Lurton, Cheval Blanc, Yquem and Marjosse.
A wine chronicle written by Bernard Burtschy with this title: uniformity creates boredom - and which ends: Beyond wine a certain conception of the world emerges!
Bernard misses the finesse of great Bordeaux, compared to power, and doesn’t use the word "brutality". Well, Bernard, come and see and I will organize a blind tasting to rekindle your desire to want, as our national Johnny Halliday would say.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Grand Tasting

We will be at the Grand Tasting organized by Bettane & Desseauve in the Carousel du Louvre in Paris held on 9 and 10 December 2011.

We will present under the label TERRE DE LISSE:
Château de Pressac 2007- 2008- 2009
Château Rol Valentin, Château de Laussac and Clos Vieux Taillefer 2009
Château Faugères –Cap de Faugères and Péby Faugères 2009
Château Fleur Cardinale 2008
Château Valandraud red and white 2009
Bad Boy 2009
And Château Sansonnet 2008 which I included in our group.
We will be able to take orders for David and Didier will be with us to do some business in addition to promotion.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

No need to despair...

... From the weather, vintage or bankers!
Harvest 2011: it’s a good harvest in quality and quantity. It is almost finished at my daughter’s in Lalande de Fronsac, as well as in the property we have in tenant farming for Bad Boy, in Fronsac and in Saint Emilion; we still have one parcel of Cabernet Sauvignon in front of Valandraud and the Carmenère next to Fleur Cardinale, who, precisely, is beginning its harvest.

Last night, we tasted a few batches still in maceration and before running off, which confirmed that it will be a very good vintage, accessible and pleasant: no trace of vegetal, plenty of fruit, soft and even lots of body. I confirm my 2nd impression: a mix between the ripeness of 2009 and drinkability of 2007. I can’t wait to taste batches of Virginie, Clos Badon and Valandraud at the end of next week....

We had a meeting in Bordeaux, at the headquarters of the BNP, with the leaders of a partner bank in China and the opportunity to briefly talk about trade with this unavoidable country. We set some date for our next trip to Shanghai to deepen our relationship. It is also the opportunity to meet a few Bordeaux connoisseurs from this bank.

For us wine is not just a job, but also a pleasure.

Friday, September 30, 2011


Château Villemaurine, the last Belgian acquisition in the history of Saint Emilion
Purchased by the family of Mr. Justin Onclin in 2007, this lovely property located in Saint Emilion has made a fantastic leap in quality and reputation. It is true that both human and financial resources were not spared to make the best wine possible on this very fine terroir.

The 2nd wine, Les Angelos de Villemaurine 2009 is a blend of sweet ripe grapes, coconut, vanilla but Villemaurine 2009 is actually one of the very fine wines of St. Emilion and in fact one of the very credible new applicants to the 2012 Saint Emilion 2012 classification.

If you have time, the underground cellar is worth visiting (12 euros).

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Harvest of Cabernet

Cabernet Sauvignon waiting to be picked on Friday, September 30

The Cabernet Francs have already been picked.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


The application for the classification of Valandraud is finally ready and will be submitted before the end month to the office of the INAO in Bordeaux.

If I believe the gossip, 120 applications are being submitted, I find this number of applicants realistic. The hill of a thousand crus, Saint Emilion and its 5500 hectares of vines should be able to include in their classification less than 20% of the properties. This will still not be enough to equal the commercial and political power of our fine neighbors in the Medoc with their simple 1855 classification.

But if this classification goes well, it could be a big PR boost for Saint Emilion. The wise men from Pomerol must think we are crazy as they doing quite well without any classification but just their usual price system!

2011 when extremes end in harmony

It is the 1st time I taste the batches picked 3 weeks ago: young vines in tenant farming, Malbec from Bel Air and our batches of Merlot, Cabernet and Petit Verdot from Bellevue de Tayac in Margaux. It was a very good surprise for me: they were good!

It had the sweetness and ripeness of a great vintage, very pure color and fragrance, raspberry, red grape, only the structure is that of an average vintage like in 2007. Up to now it is a mix of 2007 and 2009, so nothing to do with the 2004!

It is rare for me to make this kind of comment so early, especially as the wine has not yet done its malolactic and as we have not yet picked the Merlot from the northern hillside of Valandraud, nor, of course, the Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon from Clos Badon. But if I'm optimistic today is because I know from experience that this kind of wine will appeal to customers and that even if it is not the vintage of the century, it could be the vintage of the customer and for us the vintage of extremes.


I visited the cellar of Cheval Blanc during the harvest. This cellar is fully functional, clean, smelling great and with good “vibes”, quality grapes and know-how. It will most likely be a great vintage if I believe Kees van Leeuwen’s comments and my belief that Cheval Blanc has the capacity to reach the stars.

The harvest gives us good reasons to think that this is a good vintage. Why? How? The experts will tell us (as usual).

We were invited by friends in Fronsac, Ruinart Brut champagne and blind Beau Sejour Duffau Lagarrosse 2008 today, completely dissociated (89 + RP), is it a problem with the bottle? What does Jean Marc Quarin think, 89 as well?
Still blind Soutard 2008, good wine, a little austere today, should be a good in 5 / 6 years, 89 + well deserved. Still blind, we enjoyed a fine bottle wit original flavors, Cabernet Franc, organic with Stéphane Derenoncourt’s signature and the talent of Stephan von Neipperg. Rated 91 by Quarin, suave, he is right, and 93RP who is even more right: Canon La Gaffelière 2008 is a very fine bottle.
Still blind, Malartic Lagravière 2008 which we usually like but this bottle seemed to have a problem or maybe it’s the cork; I couldn’t identify the supplier. I would definitely want to re-taste this wine which was rated 90 by Quarin and 91 PR, without any problems of cork or wood, I do not know.

I bought the magazine Optimum from Jalou publishing which covers fashion, restaurants, high tech, movies, music, sports, high-end men's fashion, and especially a section on wine this month by Benoit Simmat (magazine also published in Ukraine which is good for my distributor). He wrote the comic strip “Robert Parker’s seven capital sins” and “The wine buying guide for dummies”. He is prolific, this lad!

As always, written in a youthful style, new, it was fun to read, between the lines, it's kind of spicy but with “kindness”. I am pleased to have been mentioned with Valandraud 2003 and Bad Boy at the same time than my friends Hervé Bizeul and Jean-Michel Deiss. With Benoit, at least the comments on wine are not limited to color, nose and palate. Probably a new and more current way to talk about wine and its creators.

Meanwhile, our harvesters started to pick the Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc from the warm terroir of gravel and silica in the valley.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


On the site of the Wine Spectator, James Molesworth published my answers to his questions on the 2011 vintage. This was my opinion last week; I will give a much more optimistic view as the beautiful Fall days are doing miracles in the vineyards. To be continued...

In Paris 2 wines who were sold at auction deserve the status of icons:
Pingus 2001 for 816.00 euro + expenses
Haut Brion 1989 for 1075.00 euro

Our distributor in Ukraine produced a big and beautiful catalog on Valandraud, Bad Boy, Clos du Beau Père, Sabines, Bellevue de Tayac and the properties which I am involved in: Fleur Cardinale, Haut Mazeris, La Dominique, Haut Carles, Marojallia and Thunevin-Calvet. I have been repeating for some time the importance I attach to my distributors. Peter Sisseck confirmed my choice by choosing his distributor in China. For Ukraine, we will fulfill this market directly.

Published in the RVF: Figeac (40 hectares) turned-down the $ 300 million offered by Bernard Arnault, but how did they get this information? Figeac - 7.5 million per hectare – with an official production of 120,000 bottles for the 1st cuvee, which makes 3000 bottles per hectare for the 1st wine and the same amount for the 2nd?
As each year goes by, this makes it harder for the small property to expand. It was a smart move to convince Mr. Fayat of Château La Dominique to buy some very well located vineyards from our neighbor Château Vieux Fortin!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The serious stuff has began

Thursday, September 22 the harvest started for Valandraud. All our plots have a name, including the three plots in Fongaban next to Saint Emilion and meticulously tended by Murielle. You can see them when you take the small road to St Emilion, surrounded by vegetable gardens and famous crus.

Then it was the turn of Laroque (or rather Rocheyron, in the commune of Saint Christophe des Bardes), which belongs to the partners and friends Faugères-Pingus with Peter Sisseck who is also picking his Merlot. He came to our house for dinner to enjoy an omelet with ceps and a 2008 Virginie de Valandraud bottled late! We also drank a Bad Girl for fun, Maury from Calvet Thunevin 2007 and a bewildering Petit Gravet Ainé 2003 (?)

At Valandraud, the plot “above the pond” in Saint Etienne de Lisse was harvested as well as the old Malbec nearby on the south side.

Today it’s Pomerol’s turn with our team. They harvested 16 rows, with more than 50 people to ensure all necessary care for this vintage as it seems that we expect some very good surprises. Hurrah for good weather.

Yesterday, we were invited for the harvest lunch by our friends in Troplong Mondot. What luck and what a privilege to be there. Troplong Mondot 2007 is simply outstanding and the 2002 is full of promise: and could be cellared for a few years. It was a beautiful table with friendly and charming guests and it even included a Burgundian!

We then had a quick tour to check the harvesting systems at Troplong Mondot, Sansonnet, Pressac, Faugères, Rocheyron and at our place.

Wednesday 21

I started the day in the morning with the visit of Izak Litware, a Danish journalist who came to taste the 2009 and 2010. The day started well with nice customers in our store Essentials who tasted samples open for them.

It was also the opportunity to remember that Clos Badon Thunevin 2007 was preferred by 80% of the wine lovers who come to taste our wines at the CIVB during the event organized by the magazine Terre de Vins and if we make these wines to cellar like 2008/2009/2010, these easy vintages are greatly appreciated by our customers (2007/2004/1999).

At noon, lunch with Salina Huang at Lard et Bouchon and visit of our properties during the harvest as well as our cellars, our ways of doing and the opportunity to see the high quality of the grapes picked and sorted at Sansonnet.

Today we are invited at the Chateau Troplong Mondot with Pierre Le Hong who wrote a book about Saint Emilion and a few other properties including Valandraud and Troplong Mondot .

Release of the 2012 Wine Buyer's Guide for Dummies, by Benoit Simmat and Denis Saverot, I recommend to read it for the writing style, dry comments for some, with, of course, their stylistic preferences even cultural or friendly

For €14.90 you get 340 pages and you come out a bit more knowledgeable. Trust me...

Friday, September 23, 2011


Tuesday, received 2 Japanese journalists from Wine Kingdom and their interpreter from 11:30 am to 4 pm. They are writing a big story on the right bank, and my wine. Valandraud owes Japan much of its success.
It was also a good opportunity to also talk about my other wines (Clos Badon, Bad Boy, etc ...), and my role as consultant for Haut-Carles, Haut-Mazeris, Fleur Cardinale and Sansonnet.

It was a very good media day, because at 5:30 pm, Terre de Vins organized an event in the offices of the CIVB in Bordeaux, about the top 20 wines of Saint Emilion (Bettane & Desseauve / Saint Emilion classification) where our Clos Badon 2008 finished second place and had a very nice comment.
I considered presenting Clos Badon for the Grand Cru classification because it fulfills largely the criteria requested but Valandraud is my priority and I don’t want to spread myself too much.
So a lot of properties participated in this tasting, Daugay, Fombrauge, Quinault, Gracia, Ferrand, Pressac, Faugères...

Just one question: how is it that the air conditioning system of the bar of the CIVB where clients are receive, showcase our work, how is this nice place attracting sommeliers, work so badly? Red wine served too warm, this place is uncomfortable because of the lack of air conditioning and now all our efforts and our money (remember that we are also contributions to it) thrown out the window. It reminded me that Vinexpo had the same problem which is now corrected.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Jean Marc Quarin and cork suppliers

Jean Marc Quarin wrote in his book three pages on corks, cork suppliers, etc. I thank him for that!
He ends his text with “should we give the name of cork in the tasting notes?” I started to do it recently (or I will do it!)

I'll do the same on my blog and point out my bad suppliers.
I had a very bad one, and in addition to being bad, he became a liar and hypocrite, which is not the sort of behavior expected from someone you do business with.

Fortunately, even if it seems that this very bad cork supplier has now improved, only covering the financial damage done will make him reliable. Should such supplier be trusted? If an accident ever occurs again, he will again deny any responsibility, legal or not.
Knowing that deadlines have to be respected, etc... In fact, a cork could be expensive for wines to be cellared for 15/20 years, but you cannot file a “legal” complain after 9 years as it must filed within 3 years. The one with whom I had a problem simply forgot that we had already filed a request at that time and changed suppliers.

Busy weekend

We had a busy weekend starting on Friday, February 1st with a trip to Blasimon to see a beautiful property recently bought by Chinese and starting the harvest, then lunch at home with Louis Havaux, well known Belgian here in St. Emilion, journalist, Vino, Megavino, European Grand Jury Europeen, Mondial du Vin and FIJEV, and probably many other activities including Chancellor of Saint Emilion Jurade.
Saturday morning, visit of a nice group of Russian wine professionals.

The Jurade was busy on Saturday evening with a parade through the town for Heritage Day followed by beautiful fireworks. Lots of people in the streets, 10,000 people according to police and 25,000 according to the organizers! Jokes aside, a great event.

The next day, large Collegial mass in the Church took place, full with people taking this opportunity to see this Jurade and new ambassadors, including the famous tennis player Henri Leconte, and listen to the tenor Joseph Calleja, what a voice! Then, parade through the streets and reception in the prestigious setting of the Monolith.
We had a photographer, Jon Wyand, at home for lunch so I was not able to attend the official dinner (400 guests) but I was present at the procession around the Tour du Roi for the famous ban des vendanges (launch of the harvest).
In the evening, we had dinner at home with friends.
During that time, the harvest continued this Saturday and Sunday: some plots are ripe and can’t wait any longer!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Guide Quarin des Vins de Bordeaux

I purchased in Saint Emilion’s bookstore Quarin’s Bordeaux wine guide, published by Solar. A big book with 800 pages, a big job with notes, prices, rankings, reviews of 329 wines of Bordeaux.
I started reading about my wines and felt that his classification was not bad, I am happy with the ranking for Valandraud, placed 5th after Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Angelus and Troplong Mondot.
Our responsibility to do better

Regarding his comments, how can I answer but “indeed” to his statement “I did not understand why this change of style from 1999 and the purchase of a cold terroir”.
The answer is simple, in fact, why make it simple when you can make it complicated? The current terroir of Valandraud makes it, in fact, harder to produce “sexy” hedonistic wines; but when it works - and it works: the proof being in 2007, 2008 and 2009 for what I could see - and when it works, in addition to getting some pleasure, it becomes classy. Allow me to make this comparison, a pretty girl with beautiful shapes, but also smart and sparkling... isn’t it what you’re looking for in “doing even better”?
I'm sure you can reconcile the irreconcilable in Bordeaux, sexy and class, hedonism and complexity, power and lightness, in summary: a fine wine.