Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ducru Beaucaillou

It’s always a pleasure to go on the left bank to visit friends and especially Ducru Beaucaillou and taste the 2010 vintage, visit the cellar, soak up the atmosphere, etc. Everything is aimed to put a wine enthusiast in a highly refined yet welcoming environment.

It was the 1st time I tasted the Listrac Ducluzeau, a sexy Lalande Borie, more reserved Croix de Beaucaillou and again a great Ducru Beaucaillou 2010: The oak has not yet penetrated, the freshness and purity of the grapes, the softness given by great ripeness and still with a powerful style “an iron fist in a velvet glove”. They are fortunate for having the 2008, 2009 and 2010 in a row, all so good while so different.

Doctor, if you read me: simple as a phone call, let’s see tomorrow if I still have these allergies due to pollen, hay fever, this constant stress ... Long live the phone!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I tasted blind at L’Essentiel with Thomas, a passed and cooked 1994. Tough thing for this famous wine from Saint Emilion. Following, Clos l’Eglise 2001 and l’Eglise Clinet 2001, with 2 different styles where after 10 years, these wines have just begun their phase of maturity, l’Eglise Clinet having yesterday more freshness, brightness, stylistic statement, terroir, vinification, date of harvest…

I drank less Eglise Clinet 2001 (alas) and probably more than 24 bottles of Clos l’Eglise 2001 for Muriel and I believe is one of the great Pomerol. I do not forget the neighbor, Clinet which, in recent years, has been one of the best quality price value amongst the great wines of Pomerol, along with Rouget on the other side which is simply an incredible value for money, especially considering that the minimum price for a vineyards in the nice areas in Pomerol is selling for about 3 million per hectare. Are the prices for Burgundy grand crus at this level?

Mitch Frank wrote an article on the sales of Bordeaux in USA you can read on the Wine Spectator.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The horse is the winegrowers best friend

We tasted Les 5 – who are now only 4 – at Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte which, also uses horses to plow the vineyards. Besides being beautiful to see, it creates jobs and in addition, is environmentally friendly. I long to see teams of oxen working in clay soils and all we will have to do is recreate dorms where male and female pickers can fool around (before marriage)

With 3 vintages tasted side by side you understand the original style of each vintage, (relative) austerity for 2008, except for Smith and Canon La Gaffelière, the opulence of 2009 and the complexity of 2010 with noticeable tannins and acidity, fortunately well balanced with the best by a nice feeling of sweetness due to the ripeness.

Once more, these stupid words like “all the wines taste the same” come back to my ears as well as the globalization of wine, Parker, Rollan, the Wine Spectator, the Revue du Vin de France, Bettane or Burtschy, Desseauve, Quarin and even James Suckling. They are not out of a job for all the wines are becoming less and less similar and vintages in Bordeaux are different.

The improvement of sorting techniques, selections are bringing out more and more styles of wines, terroirs and producers. The proof could be seen this weekend with the 2003 vintages of 3 fine wines from Saint Emilion, each different and so good in their own style despite the dilemma of that time, or the obvious difference between these 3 wines in such different vintages as 2005, 2008 and 2007 and which could have been so similar (on paper): same consultant with Michel Rollan and clayey limestone terroir (already so different if you look closely even without a technician).

I felt sad – and happy, when I tasted, with a famous American wine critic, how high the quality of Bordeaux 2010 is: fruity, with a precision rarely found in Bordeaux; I felt sad due to the accumulated stress, allergies, exhaustion, and the idea that these wines are still hard to sell and that I wouldn’t want to be in the shoes of a critic and comment wines sold for 1200/1400 Euros for 900 liters which are of such quality!

Monday, March 28, 2011


Bettane and Desseauve liked our 2008 cuvée Constance from Thunevin-Calvet, Côtes du Roussillon. There is no small pleasure… Oh yes, the title for this category is “Nice price” and Constance was included…

Thursday evening we were 5 and started with Fayat Thunevin 2007 Pomerol – talking about pleasure... It is a prefect wine for a restaurant, no fuss, delicious.

Haut Carles 2006, a step up, one of the best Haut Carles produced by this beautiful property. 3 de Valandraud 2003, obviously good, to be drunk soon.

Château de Lussac 2004, simply a fine wine.

In Château La Dominique, presentation of 2010 Clément Pichon, the Fayat softness, La Dominique is still a dilemma: better or not as good as 2009

With the buffet, La Dominique 2008 still closed, 2007 already good and 2006 beginning to reveal the style which made this property famous, a blend between Pomerol and Saint Emilion, made with Merlot, which thrives in this area.

Hay fever, every year is the same, same as being in exam season, notes, I am aching. I definitely need a doctor or a nurse. Don’t forget that I am becoming increasingly hypochondriac with age.

Friday at lunch, tasting of Les 5 at Smith Haut Lafitte.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Meals, wine and men

Tour des Termes (from Jean and Christophe Anney) : Marie Hélène, wine broker and owner of Château Tour des Termes, Cru Bourgeois from Saint Estèphe, was presenting a few vintages last Wednesday during lunch to some of my sales teams: Tour des Termes 2010, 2009, 2008, 2005 and 2003.
Saint Estèphe and Merlot can be a good marriage. The 2005 vintage is delicious today and this wine will definitely please our clients.

Thursday evening in Saint Emilion, Thomas Noël and his actor friend Esteban brought an Echezeaux 2007 Mongeard Mugneret, a modern delight, very much to our taste. I opened and served blind Echezeaux 2007 from Bruno de Saunay Bissey; more classic. 2 different schools and 2 great wines.
Prior, Valandraud Blanc 2009 which, served at cellar temperature, is not as sharp, fatter and reminded me the Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 2010 I tasted at the l’UGC and liked very much!
At the end, Chiroulet Vent d’Hiver 2007, a Petit Manseng from the Fezas family, pure pleasure and the rest of the bottle of Deiss 2005 drunk the night before and which gained in balance, power and taste and shows that this wine should be able to be cellared for many years before showing its full potential.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

More from James Suckling

Let’s not forget that comments and awards are important, the subscription to the site of James Suckling’s site costs US$144 for our fellow traders and owners interested in an American point of view...

James Suckling publishes more notes on 2010:
Domaine Virginie Thunevin 2010 86-87
Château Haut Mazeris 2010 89-90
Domaine des Sabines 2010 91-92 and nice comment
Château Bellevue de Tayac 2010 91-91 and nice comment
Château Fayat 2010 89-90
Clos du beau Père 2010 91-92
Angelots de Gracia 2010 92-93 (I love this wine!)
Gracia 2010 90-91
Château La Clotte 2010 87-88
Château La Croix Figeac 2010 91-92
Château La Dominique 2010 94-95 (the best ?)
Château La Fleur Morange 2010 92-93
Château Le Prieuré 2010 93-94
Château Valandraud 2010 95-96, I feel compelled to publish his entire comment: "Wow. What beautiful fruit here. It’s intense but balanced with fine and silky tannins and a caressing texture. I love the layers of everything here from sliced plums to bright cherries. So long and interesting. Best ever? JS"
Clos Badon Thunevin 2010 91-92
Virginie de Valandraud 2010 90-91
Château Saint Pierre 2010 91-92

More notes

In Mark Squire’s BB on Robert Parker’s site, Jeff Leve posted notes and comments following Cercle Rive Droite’s recent trip to the USA.
Again my friends’ wines were well noted:
Fleur Cardinale 92-95, Fombrauge 89-91, La Dauphine 89-91, Clos des Jacobins 90-93, Bon Pasteur 91-94, Magrez Fombrauge 95-98, Le Moulin 90-92, Patris 87-89, Rol Valentin 91-93.

As for me, in the meantime, I feel my usual stress and sore throat, not helpful for tasting...
Yesterday for dinner with 2 friends crazy about wine: Deiss Altenberg 2005, full of fruit, Gracia 2004 beautiful wine, Croix de Labrie 2004 too bad for slightly corked, Mondotte 2007 seriously corked, Gomerie 2006 fine and very good, Vieux Maillet 2006, shouldn’t have been opened with this series, and, blind Trotanoy 2005, one of our favorite wines in this appellation blessed by God.
Truffles and morels with Pomerol, I can’t think of better match.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


James Suckling started publishing his comments and notes on Bordeaux 2010.
His comments on the vintage were pretty good, some 2010 – including a few properties he preferred to 2009. He tasted and noted some wines I don’t even know, proof of his curiosity. There will most likely be some great values considering that some 2010 icons will be sold at stellar prices!

In the meantime, for the wines I sell or from friends: Sénéjac 89-90, Siaurac 89-90, Lascombes 91-92, Marquis de Terme 92-93, Beau Soleil 90-91, Fleur de Gay 89-90, Rouget 92-93, Vray Croix de Gay 92-93, Bellefont Belcier 87-88 (with a nice comment?), Pressac 89-90, Fleur Cardinale 90-91, Fombrauge 89-90, Phélan Segur 92-93, Tour des Termes 89-90, Gloria 90-91.
Note the 92-93 given to Grand Corbin Despagne, 94 to Révérence, 93-94 to L’Ecuyer, 95-96 to Grand Puy Lacoste, 93-94 to Issan and all with such good comments you want to drink them

James Molesworth from Wine Spectator also tasted in New York with good notes and nice comments. It’s true that this vintage fits the “European” palate for Mr.:
Clos des Jacobins 92-95, Le Moulin 92-95, Le Prieuré 92-95, Rol Valentin 92-95, Boutisse 91-94, Aria de la Rivière 91-94, La Dauphine 90-93, Patris 90-93, Vray Croix de Gay 90-93, Haut Carles 89-92, Siaurac 89-92

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Here we go...

On March 21, the newspaper Sud-Ouest, published an article written by Jean-Pierre Tamisier on the wine industry’s relationship between Japan and Bordeaux.

Last Sunday my father-in-law celebrated his birthday: 82 years old and in good health. For lunch, we served Blanc N°2 de Valandraud, Valandraud red 2009 and 2010, Bellevue de Tayac 2009 and the first asparagus, delicious.
My main supplier of barrels gave me a 2007 magnum of a dry white wine from the Valais region in Switzerland made with Arvine: either we drank it too late or, as the Swiss would say: the wine is heavy, no interest.

Beautiful weather expected all week, that's good as the tastings are starting in the next few days: Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator and today the classified growths of Saint Emilion and Bordeaux and tomorrow, the UGC and La Dominique on the 24th, the 5 in Smith Haut Lafite this Friday, here we go ...

I tasted Petit Faurie de Souchard 2010, such fruit, pleasure. Bravo! But I am not a journalist, only a small negociant.

I received and read a book written by Gilles Berdin, in the serie Around a bottle, on Philippe Raoux/La Winery (Elytis publishing). I read it quickly, a vivid portrait underlined by the injury felt by all the pieds noirs from Algeria and this nostalgérie we all feel.

Monday, March 21, 2011


As I wrote previously, our credit insurance company sent us this mail on Thursday:

“Would you please provide us by return mail the outstanding invoices for the customer listed below:
Current outstanding invoices:
Date for the latest invoice:
Amount of unbilled orders:
NB: If we receive no response from you within 8 days, we will cancel this option.”

The saying about the bankers who only provide an umbrella when the weather is good, may also be applied to insurers
I would like the French government, capable of promising all possible assistance to our Japanese friends, to intercede with our insurers (reassuring them).
It is not difficult to be consistent!

Good news

It is the name of a wine made by Michel Rolland in South Africa, but also the message sent by the Guide Hubert letting me know that Blanc de Valandraud 2009 was given the highest note of 5 glasses by Helene Durand in the next Guide Hubert 2011.

And not so good news: credit-insurance companies are starting to cancel coverage for our Japanese clients.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Decanter’s April 2011 issue just came out :
Page 17 : Cheval Blanc and Yquem
Pages 50 to 52 : Champagne Salon
Page 62 : Philippe Baillarguet and his Clos des Baies
Page 73 : Fleur Cardinale 2008 4 stars and 17.5 (3rd place amongst classified growths and first growths !)
Page 76 : Clos du Beau Père 2008 4 stars and 17.3 (5th place amongst the Pomerol !) et à noter La Fleur de Plince with 4 stars and 17
Page 120 : Lafite Rothschild 1982

On the Russian side and following my trip in Ukraine to see our distributor, an article was published in as well as a video by Dmitriev sommelier.
Women Equity 50 and the article on Murielle, co-manager and wife, makes a nice piece of financial news. May our partner, the BNP, help us in our endeavor…
Vive Malaysia and our friend wholesaler who sells 3 of our wines in this country: “Cherry popped for Bad Boy

We had a very good lunch in Branne, in the cafe restaurant near the bridge over the Dordogne river, and where the lunch menu costs 13 Euros and has great desert! The wine they serve, Pezat 2008, is a nice Bordeaux with a nice presentation.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Cercle Rive Droite

First official tasting of Bordeaux 2010 organized in Bordeaux by the Cercle Rive Droite last Monday, March 14. Some of the wines still hadn’t completed their malolactics, others had just finished. This complicates the future’s tasting, even for professionals. I didn’t taste everything for there are maybe 150 crus, but as usual, I spent time with Fronsac and Saint Emilion and also tasted 2 or 3 wines from other places

I especially liked:
Château Beaulieu Comtes de Taste, a great micro cuvee made from grafted vines, which I don’t remember the name.
A consistently good Fougas Maldoror, which, I believe, is currently in organic conversion.
Côte Montpezat always good
Dalem good, as well as La Dauphine, Moulin Haut Laroque, les Trois Croix, La Vieille Cure, of course, and the Aria cuvee from Château La Rivière, Beausoleil, Vray Croix de Gay delicious, Siaurac.
Grand Corbin Manuel, Lynsolence beautiful, Pressac, Sansonnet – which I alredy wrote about. Some nice organic wines like Fonroque and Grand Corbin Despagne, as well as Clos des Jacobins and of course Fleur Cardinale.

I found, in this group, at least 50% good, if not very good, wines and unfortunately a few over extracted, dry, unripe, too acidic and even some with Brett deviations, as well as TCA, judging by the incredible smell experienced during the buffet. This vintage is not as easy as 2009 at this early stage of tasting as some acidity levels make them difficult to taste. And yet, the quality of some wines exceeds any wines ever produced so far.
In conclusion, we will need the critics’ guidance.
Some amazing 2010 but not as homogeneous as announced.


The 2010 tasting started: the first tastings took place for “petits” Bordeaux, Blaye, Bourg, Castillon, and they are very good.

For lunch, we drank a bottle given to us by the owner of a store in Saint Emilion of a wine he raved about and which I didn’t know much about: Clos des Lunelles 2003 Côtes de Castillon, a very good wine indeed in this particular vintage. No traces of dryness or premature aging, but the truth is that the terroir of the former Lapeyronie is one of the very best in Castillon and it reminds me Jacques Luxey, Fred’s uncle, a bit of nostalgia... We miss you Jacques.

Since we were drinking a southern style vintage, I decided to open a 2001 Muntada from Gauby, very good with very fine tannins, no sign of aging, fresh, at least at noon, in the evening, the wine from Lunelle was still good, Muntada was a bit disturbed, with some gas.
In the afternoon, we tasted a few batches of Sabines and Clos du Beau Père 2010, good

In the evening we also had a tasting at Fleur Cardinale, the 2010 confirms that this is the best wine produced by the property since the Decoster family took over. Very rich and powerful, yet balanced with incredible fine tannins and acidity bringing incredible freshness, in addition the woods from new oak barrels is barely noticeable. This is a good sign, as if they needed some proof!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pape Clément

Murielle and I were invited for lunch last Friday to Château Pape Clément. Were served with the meal: Pape Clément white 2007, delicious (2007 is a great vintage in Bordeaux for dry whites), Pape Clément red 1995, a caress, very good in this great vintage (Right Bank!) and then, the best and rare Magrez Fombrauge 2004: What a wine! It is exactly what we like.

What a pleasure to be invited by Mr. Magrez who I admire for his talent and energy, and the opportunity to talk about many subjects: wine, journalists (we have the same opinion about a French critic), Bordeaux wholesalers and how lucky Bordeaux is with this nice organization able to sell our wines all around the world, properties for sale, to buy, to create, agro-tourism, which Mr. Magrez takes very seriously, colleagues, friends, etc… Didn’t see the time fly sharing all these subjects.


A thought for Japan where our friends again suffered a terrible catastrophe. Earthquake, then tsunami: those who idealize nature should explain…

I have many friends there and I hope to see them in Tokyo and Osaka.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

"The best wines of France 2011"

In “The best wines of France 2011” guide of Revue du Vin de France, the title on page 28 read: The missing properties! Because they did not provide samples to taste, this guide did not include a few unavoidable wines such as La Grange des Peres, the wines from Domaine de la Romanee Conti, etc. ... 7 are listed.

Well, 7 wines missing is not so much, as long as this guide knows how to list them! Still only 7, tough for those missing and consider they are part of the elite, and this not even counting those who feel they are not at their place.

I am quite surprised that this guide doesn’t buy a few wines from stores, even taste them blind like the Grand Jury Europeen, who buys wines when necessary, even though they don’t have the deep pockets the owners of RVF have.

I am also surprised by Jean Emmanuel Simond’s elitism, who is in charge of the Languedoc-Roussillon region and who sees no interest in listing wines I produced with my partner – the world is not perfect.

Some do not want to participate and others would like, but alas Decanter, Jancis nor Parker are the decision makers for RVF, which has the right to "mark" its distinctive taste.... This proves their independence, that's for sure…

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Beginning of the week

Monday, March 7th, we had lunch and tasted a few of our 2010 wines with one of our Chinese distributors, and then I caught up with last week’s work.
On Tuesday, I tasted the 2010 vintage of Chateau Escurac, a very good Medoc, powerfull, solid and subtle as shown on their web site

We met with one of our bankers to talk about an offer made on their interest rates. In fact, aren’t the rates going to increase? It’s almost certain, but should we check?

Visit from a client from the southern part of Japan, happy to visit our cellar, taste our wines and take pictures!
Then, I visited a colleague owner and producer in Montagne, tasted wines, quite good, but hard to add to our range already full, and with ex-cellar prices leaving little room for a wholesaler, as recently told by one of a larger colleague wholesaler to one of my friends who saw him to talk about promotion and distributing his wines. This wholesaler pointed out that the margins of Bordeaux wholesalers and not the same as distributors. Hard to spend money on promotion, prospect for new clients with 11% gross margin…

In the evening we had a casual dinner with the Todeschini family, Jean Guy, Anne Marie and their children Karl and Yvan (and Martine). Visit ofchâteau Mangot, a very nice château in Saint Etienne de Lisse, near our place and Faugères. We tasted all their Saint Emilion with a good Quintessences and especially their top cuvee called “Todeschini” which should be well received at my place in the month of April by journalists and clients.

Cuvée Louise 1998 Pommery, very good, which preceded an astonishing white: Le Paradis Saint Pierre from Domaine Coursodon 2009 in Saint Joseph appellation. Nose muted, double shut, and should have been drunk in a couple of years. The vinification of Marsanne in barrels must have been challenging.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Baby Bad Boy

First prize for Baby Bad Boy which was included in 12 wines highlighted by “Best value Vin de France
Thank you Anivin de France and your nice and glamorous logo, like our Baby Bad Boy.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I just spent 3 days in Frankfurt Germany with my distributor to participate in the 15th Rheingau Gourmet & Weinfestival.
I attended a gala dinner for 82 people who paid 250 Euros for an excellent meal prepared by Hans-Stephan Steinhauer (2 Michelin stars, 19 points by Gault et Millau), paired with wines from Balthasar Ress, who was kind enough to be my translator for he speaks perfect French (his wife is French), and Jakob Jung.

Tasting of Valandraud White N°1 2007, Valandraud red 1999 and 1998 and Virginie de Valandraud 2006. The wines showed well and the moderator, August F. Winkler, journalist, was a great speaker as he captivated the audience telling my story, the wines and was even able to make everyone laugh with his humor – translated for me by Marcus and Mr. Ress.

The next day at 4pm, a paid tasting event was organized for 40 people in a place in the area where 10 vintages of Valandraud were presented, from 2001 to 2009 still in the barrel – Rémi Dalmasso sent the samples a week before. Of course, 2001 and 2003 as well as 2005, where well received. It is obvious that a new style appears since 2007: more finesse in the grain of the tannins, riper fruit, with flavors of sweet cherries, never our wines tasted so good, and I can say the same about Bordeaux as a whole. Precise date for the harvest and better sorting to select the best fruits have helped us create wines tasting closer to ripe grapes. And, as opposed to the certainties of pathetic Cassandras, clinging to their privileges of so-called connoisseurs of Bordeaux elegance and defenders of statement like “before it was better”, no it is not true, today is much better and as in love, not as good as tomorrow.
Also, whenever I attend these sorts of tastings, it seems obvious to me to point out to those wine lovers who pay a lot of money to drink my wine that it is not so expensive (especially compared to the 10 most expensive wines in Bordeaux) and they may judge for themselves instead of listening to the mountains of crap in Mondovino, or read the comments of some English or French journalists torn by anti-Parkerism, Americanism, even Bettane, Burtschy and others like Quarin and write ”all the wines taste the same”!!! “The globalization of taste destroys our culture”!!

In their place, I would reevaluate their palate, nose, eyes followed by an exorcism with Michel Rolland as a sorcerer. The task is probably impossible, as there are so much politics in these comments that seem innovative, beneficial, and which, in fact, are simply… false.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bellevue de Tayac

Some information...
The property we bought in 2004 in Margaux, in this famous and expensive appellation, is beginning to be revamped.
It is currently 2.5 hectares (6.18 acres) and will soon be 3.5 hectares (8.65 acres) plus 1 hectare (2.47 acres) in tenant farming adjacent a field, woods and buildings and is becoming a nice property in Margaux

Since we bought it, the wines have improved; especially 2009 and 2010 which will be of very high quality. The property is on track to be classified as Cru Bourgeois starting with 2009, as well as being included in the Commanderie du Bontemps, Medoc and Graves, Sauternes and Barsac where I am also Commandeur.

Paris was not built in a day, same for a winery, and is Paris was worth a Mass for Henry 4th; our wine could also be appreciated in a few religious services… I thank our bankers for their support.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Rheingau Gourmet & Weinfestival 2011

I will be in Germany in a few days to present Valandraud in the Rheingau Gourmet & Weinfestival which is held in Frankfort from February 24 to March 9.

The Valandraud tasting and presentation will take place on March 4th and will feature 2001 to 2009 vintages.
For your information, other tastings planned are: Latour on March 2, Dom Perignon March 3…

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

End of the “holidays”

A week without Cécile and the blog is on holidays

My week was low key prior to a trip to Kiev in Ukraine and Frankfurt Germany.

In some of last week’s highlights, I read another surprising comment on Saint Emilion’s classification which should be kept for the record? Does one of the candidates for 1st Grand Cru Classé A still needs a few more years?
I had few visitors, some wanting to distribute my wines, others wanting me to consult in a faraway land and a few requests to taste some 2010 Bordeaux.
We had lunch at Chai Pascal and drank Jamet 2007 Côte Rotie which was simply delicious and far better than a 2000 I drank recently, paired with a very good cassoulet. This bad weather calls for comfort food.

Thursday 24, general meeting of my company and related companies: my notaire, my business attorney, my accountants with their bosses, our consultant, our auditors ... Anyway, we were 10 at our table following a very good meeting which took place between 11 am and 1:30 pm. We started with a truffle omelet, followed by braised beef with carrots and potatoes and to finish, Macao, chocolate cake from Lopez in Libourne, well known to our table. We drank Blanc No. 2 2007, Baby Bad Boy 2009, Fayat Thunevin-Pomerol 2008, Valandraud 2005 which is just beginning to open, and after, blind, Petrus 2006. Murielle guessed it by its complex aromas of violets and because it’s been a while since she tasted it. Our accountants got close, one identified Pomerol, the other was afraid to say "Petrus". Well, in any case it was elegant and enjoyable, even when nobody knew its identity.
At the end, 2007 Maury from Calvet Thunevin paired with chocolate cake and coffee and our Fine Bordeaux (what’s left)!