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.