Tuesday, October 25, 2011


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...

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