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.

Sorting, this is the only way to go... for wine!

Harvest of red: we started with the 20 years old vines in the plain, the new sorting machines are more cost-effective this year, the same bunch gave us ripe fruit, dry fruit, rotten and green grapes. Hurrah for the tribaie, this machine is able to sorts by density.

Mr. Fakorellis, first name Athanase, stopped by to taste batches of whites before pre-blending. A portrait of him is being done by Marilyn Johnson-Widocq, our photographer-reporter-columnist in I love Saint Emilion.

We ate for lunch a few cepes picked by Virginie with a nice omelet paired with Malartic Lagravière blanc 2002 made by Athanase, a pale yellow golden color, fat and complex palate, surprising wine and good.
Valandraud 2009, the 2nd bottle we drank after bottling, full of fruit, no feeling of wood, concentrated, because I know it, but barely noticeable. A delicacy of red fruits, black and grapes, this is probably a very fine wine, so accessible that some mischievous minds will say again “it’s too good”, and so on so forth…


Y d'Yquem 2010 released on Wednesday evening is one of the Bordeaux white wines we love with its amazing style and flavor for this dry white wine from Chateau d'Yquem.

The harvest of red grapes are taking place all around us: Margaux, Saint Emilion, Bordeaux, Pomerol will be soon, Fronsac, and while our problems are work, employees, breakdowns, equipment repair, buy a pump, a vat, barrels, true life, true creation of value; speculation, stock markets, debt, will eventually have an impact on the real life of our businesses.

If the French state is not able to nationalize our banks at current prices is that our leaders have chosen the option of the providence state that pays for stupid acts and not the state able to make money to save ours. Bizarre, bizarre.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cuisine et vins de France

Cuisine et Vins de France special wine issue, with a little detour in St. Emilion and a nice write-up by Valentin Karine with pictures by Jean Luc Barde.

It includes words about the new cellars, the classification of St. Emilion and all done with style and humor. Nice selection of wines, and again plenty on our association Terre de Lisse (Rol Valentin, Pressac, Faugères) and a good review for Clos Badon 2008, one of our wines which is a bit under the radar but has been a sure value in our range since 1998.

Oh, I forgot ... Cuisine et Vins de France (Marie Claire group) is a mainstream publication, which helps. And Wine Fair Section, Fleur Cardinale 2009 was awarded a rare special recommendation.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Quick tour

Quick tour of my friends’ vineyards; the harvest is seriously beginning everywhere. The good weather gives us courage.

In Chateau de Carles and Haut Carles, they’re looking to start October 3, the vineyard is superb.

Chateau Haut-Mazeris will probably have low yields and still has to wait 10-15 days?

Chateau Bellegrave in Pomerol practices organic farming and is picking beautiful grapes, another proof that organic practice can work in this difficult vintage. I can’t wait to taste these wines with my employees, and why not try ourselves.

As for our vineyards, still some young vines to pick early next week if all goes well.

I read this comment from Henry James: There are two kinds of taste, the taste for emotions of surprise and the taste for emotions of recognition. Food for thought, especially when he said that expensive wines are rarely surprising! I think it's more complicated than that, and if the price should not be the determining factor to express ones choice, expensive does not mean boring, on the contrary, unless one can’t afford them or doesn’t want to buy expensive wines.

I also read on Vitisphère, the 20 wines that Parker feels are underestimated and equivalent to 1st growths. This list includes Cos d'Estournel, Pontet Canet, Léoville Poyferré, Pape Clément, Angélus, La Conseillante, Pichon Baron, Lynch Bages Smith Haut Lafitte, Le Gay, etc... These wines will be tasted at the 2011 Wine Future in Hong Kong, November 6 to 8 2011. Will also attend: Jancis Robinson, Michel Bettane...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September 12

Today September 12: the whites are being harvested today and tomorrow, probably for the 1st wine. Saturday, we harvested two parcels of young vines of Malbec and all our young vines are at the end of their cycle, hence the importance of old vines that have deeper roots and therefore less sensitive to excess or lack water.

Read and seen on television: William Langewiesche, who was a reporter for this famous American magazine from Boston, “Atlantic Monthly” where he wrote an article on Robert Parker (and me, the little garagiste), “The million dollar nose”
He is making some noise these days because he was the only one accredited throughout the perimeter of the World Trade Center after September 11, 2001.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

L'express, with Bettane & Desseauve

A Wine Special written by Bettane and Desseauve and a Special Edition were included in the 3140 issue (week of September 7 to 13) of the magazine L’Express.
A nice comment on Bad Boy 2010 with 16-17/20 “beautiful lean and fine tannins, good fruit expressing nicely some notes of cassis, plenty of aromatic charm and length. (15 euros in France)”

Another particularly flattering comment for Haut Carles 2010 (17/20) and for my friends’s wines in the right bank: Marjosse (16), Reynon (15), La Fleur de Bouärd (18), La Dauphine (16/17) , Manoir de Gay (16), Pressac (17), La Dominique (18).
Left bank, many more wines listed, in particular: Fourcas Hosten (16), Gloria (17/18), Lagrange (17/18), Lafon Rochet (17/18), Phélan Ségur (16/17), Tour Carnet (16/17), Carbonnieux (16/17), Fieuzal (18), etc....

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fourcas Hosten

Visit with Bordeaux brokers of Chateau Fourcas Hosten , Listrac Médoc, which was purchased in 2006 by the families of Renaud and Laurent Mommeja (shareholders of the Hermes Group) and since all human and financial resources have been made available to this wine to make it one of the best in Medoc.

You just need to do a vertical of Fourcas Hosten to realize that something great is happening starting with this 2010. This wine has certainly benefited from the talent of the young female enologist, the work in the vineyards and the new cellar.

Furthermore, they are still a good value, which gives us even more pleasure to defend it. I was amazed by this 2010, I loved the 2009 and I was also surprised by the quality of 2003.
With our meal, the 1989 was served in a pitche and was of the level of a first growth. Was it due to the atmosphere, the bottle? Anyway it is a pity there are no more for sale!


Yesterday Wednesday, September 7: 1 st day of harvest of red grapes, young 3 years old vines, located in La Grézolle, in the commune of Saint Sulpice de Faleyrens. Purchased in 1991, just 15 days before the terrible frost. We performed miracles: Valandraud 1992, 1995 and 1998 are there to prove it.
This vineyard was the end of its life and has to be pulled up with sadness and replanted with hope and joy, for we just have to wait a few years to see if we can, one day, make good wine, if our choice of rootstock, clone, density and viticulture methods are good! The grapes will be used this year for a 3rd second cuvée, the taste is rarely there in 3 year old vines, although we’ve always done miracles in Saint Etienne de Lisse.

Thursday, September 8, we are harvesting of old vines of white of Domaine Virginie Thunevin in Lalande de Fronsac.

Guide Hachette

The 2012 Guide Hachette was just published and you can find :
Domaine des Sabines 2008 1 star
Clos Badon 2008 2 stars – almost special selection !
Valandraud 2008 1 star
Et Thunevin- Calvet Dentelles 2007 listed in Côtes du Roussillon Villages
In the Guide des Meilleurs Vins de France (the Best Wines of France Guide), Valandraud got 2 stars with a nice comment. Plus a new entry for Clos du Beau Père in this guide pending the arrival of Bellevue de Tayac and Clos Badon)

Terre de vins is organizing a tasting at the CIVB on September 20, 2011, following the article on the best Saint Emilion and the upcoming classification.
I will be there to present CLOS BADON, which ended 2nd with the 2008 vintage. Also present will be Faugères, Pressac (Hurrah for Terre de Lisse !), Ferrand, Quinault L’Enclos, Gracia and Daugay.
You can participate by contacting:

Thursday, September 8, 2011


On the site of Mark Squire, I read a conversation between my friend Jörgen Lindström, Alan Chan, Neal Martin, and some explanation about Fayat-Thunevin seems necessary, which only produced three vintages 2006, 2007 and 2008.
Here’s a bit of clarification on all the names that are similar and blend together.

Murielle and I always dreamed of having a few vines in Pomerol.
In 2006, a real estate agent offered me to buy Vieux Chateau Bourgneuf, a 4 hectare (9.88 acres) property in Pomerol, located 100 meters (109 yards) from Trotanoy, right next to Bourgneuf Vayron. The lot included 6 hectare (14.8 acres) in Lalande de Pomerol and 20 hectares (49.4 acres) in Bordeaux (Lalande de Fronsac).

I didn’t not have the financial ability to purchase the property by myself: Pomerol is expensive. At that time, I was in charge of the vineyards of Mr. Clément Fayat, French industrialist, and I offered him to help me buy 50% of the lot. The property in Bordeaux was bought by my daughter and became Domaine Virginie Thunevin. The property in Pomerol did not have a good reputation so I convinced Mr. Fayat to call it Domaine Fayat-Thunevin, two rather well-known names here in Bordeaux!

In the same year, I was able to buy, this time, on our own with Murielle, a 2 hectare (4.94 acre) property in Pomerol near Clos René, called Chateau Ratouin, which previously had this magic name “L’Angelus à Pomerol”. Again I changed the name and called this wine Clos du Beau Père. The hectare in Lalande de Pomerol retained its original name Domaine des Sabines.

So there is indeed a Pomerol and Lalande de Pomerol called Fayat Thunevin in 2006-2007 and 2008. 3 years later, we split with Mr. Fayat the property called Fayat-Thunevin. My half increased the vineyards of Clos du Beau Père and Domaine des Sabines.

The other half completed Chateau Commanderie de Mazeyres in 2009, which also changed its name to simplify the notoriety of the three crus Commanderie de Mazeyres, Prieurs de la Commanderie and Fayat-Thunevin. So, the whole lot of Mr. Fayat in Pomerol has been renamed Château Fayat.
So, you see how simple it is when you know.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Hachette Guide

Our wines are regularly selected and are also featured in the latest guide.
In the meantime and while waiting for the paper version to come out, the site of the Hachette Wine Guide, knowing that I decided not to present Valandraud for a few years ... features some of our wines selected in previous years:

CLOS BADON 2004 2 stars and special selection
CLOS BADON 2005 2 stars
CHATEAU VALANDRAUD 2005 2 stars and a special Selection
Virginie de Valandraud is noted at the same time as Valandraud, so the research doesn’t take it in account. Except:
Prior to the 2005 vintage, we had plenty of stars and special selections, but they are not shown on the site?

More press, Terre de Vins and our Clos Badon 2008 was ranked 2nd! And an article in Campa features our cuvees Bad Boy, Bad Girl and Baby Bad Boy.


White: the harvest goes on with the Sauvignon Gris and Sauvignon Blanc, our “old” vines.

This week we will probably pick young vines of Merlot in Saint Sulpice de Faleyrens (La Grezolle) and probably two or three vines, knowing that we will be guided, as usual, by the health of our grapes and the weather.
In the words of Stéphane Toutoundji on his blog: “2011 you annoy me! “... (in French) I would have been more rude – no doubt due to my lack of education.
Hard to me more complicated than the weather in 2011, and yet it looks like we will be able to make a correct vintage, if not a good vintage if the sun, the wind and cool nights deigned to look after the birth of this 2011.
Same situation in the Roussillon, according to our consultant Claude Gros. As of today, the prognosis is 2002 or 2001. And it's not the same! With, in addition plenty of grapes and over there “quantity” on the hillsides is 30 to 40 hectoliters / hectare!

Monday, September 5, 2011

No need to despair

Top selection in the last Bettane & Desseauve 2012 for...

Petite Sibérie 2008, from Hervé Bizeul, ranked in the best wines of the year among, finally, big names such as Chateau Margaux 2009 or Guigal’s La Landonne 2007.

And a very nice praise, in the best dry white Bordeaux category for the 2009 Blanc de Valandraud alongside Haut Brion, Pape Clément, Domaine de Chevalier, Mission Haut Brion and Smith Haut Lafitte. Also note, 2 Calvet Thunevin-Calvet in Roussillon and 2 "BD" (Bettane and Desseauve) out of 5.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The harvest goes on

3rd time the pickers pass in the vineyards of 2011 whites of Valandraud and Virginie. This is haute couture: successive passes to pick ripe grapes from the stock, which are, this year, very heterogeneous. Those placed in the high plots with very dry soil received a complete green harvest to keep the stock alive! The old vines have not yet begun.

The degrees are again this year, staggering. And the grapes and juice from the fruits are very sweet and taste really good.
What will the wine be? We’ll know in a month!

A nos amours - Lafont Fourcat

One of the wines we sell best in our wholesale division and in our stores belongs to Paul-Marie Morillon, born July 8, 1958 according to Facebook, where he barely participates (as usual).
His Chateau, his property, called Fourcat Lafont, always gets special awards and always selected by our clients, my employees and even critics as different as Jean Marc Quarin (who increased demand in Switzerland) or Michel Bettane who is still not bored by a good wine and a sincere winegrower.

So, Paul-Marie, you should either produce more wine, or have less talent. You have to choose your side. You can even choose to be wise and not to change anything, it works well like that

RVF : spare the rod and spoil the child.

I forgot to thank the RVF for including the picture of a display in our shop L’Essentiel as background in two pages of the article “Saint Emilion, backstage of a high risk classification”; I can only see there a subliminal message, a sign. The photo, blurred like a Hamilton, hides the beauty of our bottles, suggesting all the unsaid in the article - or the classification?
Note that my 2008 and 2009 were not included in the inside pamphlet among wines tasted by Antoine Gerbelle. We probably didn’t provide any 2008 and as for the 2009 they were not yet bottled, so it’s normal they were not included. I must point out that Antoine Gerbelle, like Olivier Poels, likes “normal” wines, with almost no oak, not too concentrated and with grapes not too ripe. Notes and comments being sometimes out of sync: just read the comment on the Chateau Fonroque 2009, with 15/20, compared to the comments of Chateau l'Arrosee, also 15/20, to understand

Fortunately for me they are not in charge of the classification, though I will ask them where do they imagine Valandraud .... if a place exists?

Thursday, September 1, 2011


I am now one of Jose Penin’s friends on Facebook, that's good news! This Spanish critic is a real journalist, curious, sincere; I can’t wait to see him in St. Emilion.

Facebook is a truly amazing tool. I do not spend too much time on it, fortunately Cécile helps me greatly, but everyone knows.
For example, reading information about today Cécile Lamy, I learn that her favorite quote is “The key is not to live but to live well” (Plato) or that Izak Litwar thinks Murielle is “fantastic” with a picture of her mashed potatoes with truffles posted by Jeff Leve!


Alain Benoit and his assistant spent six hours with us to take pictures of us in all sorts of situations: eating, Murielle cooking, me with Fifi (the Chinese rooster), Murielle and INAO (our cat), in the vineyards trying to taste the grapes, in the cellar tasting, on the right, on the left, in the sun, in the shade ... This is the 2nd time he comes for the same publication, proof that this magazine wants to make the best story possible on us, the text having already been written a few months ago. After work, I showed them a place I particularly like: the caves of Ferrand.

Meanwhile, an additional passage to de-leaf a few vines of red and white, while some of our colleagues want to harvest tomorrow in Pomerol, they will harvest early.
We still haven’t done 20% of white and maybe we will start the reds on September 12.


Melon and chiffonade of Spanish ham, Escargot à la Bordelaise (snails) prepared by Mumu (which I picked during the August storms) and figs from Fongaban with Tahitian vanilla.

As a starter, we paired this spicy dish with a bottle of Aalto PS 2006 Ribera del Duero (94RP), very young, tannins still very present, but fine wine, concentrated, neat and visible label.

Then, blind, a wine from the right, a delight, a treat, almost too good, some here in Bordeaux obsessed with the sex of angels, would call it “putassier” (whorish). One can understand the comments like “too good, too sexy now, what about tomorrow?“. A left bank wine tasting like a right bank, a fine Pomerol, well not... It is Lascombes 2005 that ended 1st place in a blind tasting of the Grand Jury Européen. Goes to show, even professionals who are part of this grand jury can be delighted with a seductive wine. Don’t despair of geeks, who are also not always obsessed by the intellect of a wine, its history, its future, but can also enjoy a good, if not very good Margaux. I took notice as I purchased some after all the fuss with its 1st place and 95 given by Robert Parker and sold in stores for around 100 euros.

On the left, fortunately preferred by my guests all professional tasters, Valandraud 2005 which I thought would be largely defeated by Lascombes.
Goes to show, I can put other wines, at my place, against mine without looking to make them stand out from the “competition”. Actually, the last journalist who came to eat at my place with Murielle while I was away was able to take in my cellar a Pingus which has nothing to prove and especially a 1st Medoc Cru Classe from 1855, vintage 1995, which took, according to other guests, a bashing such as “it is not even a 2nd wine”, but that's the whole deal with comparative tastings. Pavie 2003, for example, passes way ahead of Valandraud, which itself, finishes way ahead of some 1st growths, and that's the way it is.

In the case of La Mondotte and Angelus which are amazing wines, blind, often end up in 1st place. Of course, I mean with people who have similar palates as I do and enjoy the styles of wine I like: ripe, concentrated, Rolland style .