Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Robert Parker, the Bad Boy

Philippe Bercovici, who with Benoist Simmat created the comic ''Robert Parker, the 7 Heady Sins'' signed a copy with a carictature which I really like of Robert Parker as a Bad Boy during a book signing in Périgueux for Béatrice Decout who was happy to give us this lovely Christmas present. 

Phillippe has kindly given us permission to publish his work.

In Vino Veritas

I recently read the slightly ironic comments written by Fabian Barnes in the Beglian In Vino Veritas magasine concerning the Saint-Emilion classification of 2012. The title read ''Classement de Couillus ou de Poules Mouillées?'... Roughly translated as the 'Classification of people with guts or scaredy cats?'
Well IVV put in place its own classification and fortunatley Chateau Valandraud is in their 11 Premier Grand Cru Classés (instead of the official 18) and I was also happy to see that my friends Fleur Cardinale and Sansonnet are also confirmed!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Carrousel du Louvre

I'm barely back from my round trip through Munich-London-Hong Kong-Bejing-Paris-Saint Emilion before heading back up to the capital for Bettane and Desseauve's Grand Tasting at the Louvre on the 30th November and the 1st December.
It is the perfect occasion to offer a tasting of Virginie de Valandraud 2010 in both red and white, Clos du Beau Père 2010, Dentelles and Constance 2009 Thunevin-Calvet as well as Maury 2004 with Murielle, Didier, Michael and Lucie Decoster to represent Chateau Fleur Cardinale.

It is also the perfect occasion to meet old clients, friends, collegues, the organisers and especially to do a tasting with the HEC Wine Club. The 13th December I'm off to the Shangri-La in Paris, an event with the Wine Business Club and my talented friend and collegue Jean-Marie Guffens. I'm not going to be bored...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Munich and London...

In the same week I've had a trip to Munich and a trip to London!

I wonder now why I had never been to Munich before. Our client, who owns restaurants and hotels also has a wine trading activity to supply other restaurants and has found a specific clientele through  their establishments and their beautiful shop. Quality distribution, an uncommon interest for wine, insatiable curiosity, all in all a perfect moment with a rare type of customer.There were two main events during my trip; a meal with VIP clients, with cuisine on par with a 2 Star Michelin restaurant and a very competent French sommelier, effective at presenting my wines and very useful, and a customer orientated wine tasting where I was the sole representative of the  Bordeaux winemakers amongst colleagues from Germany, Austria, Burgundy, Champagne. There was a great atmosphere, helped buy customers wanting to buy. Long live Germany who works and consumes!There were also visits to our customers' restaurants, overflowing with clients, a very francophile spirit. Our Bordeaux and Roussillon wines probably have the best ambassador possible here.
There was almost the same feeling in London. We have finally found a distributor for our wines. One who is full of enthusiasm, joy and one of the finest in London, with a customer list rivalled by few in the world. This time the tasting was for the sellers, marketers and event staff and above all this time with colleagues from Bordeaux, representatives of wine traders who had come to promote some great Bordeaux labels and of course others from Champagne, Burgundy... Nearly 200 guests came to taste our wines and we had great success with our Valandraud 2009. A meal at Gilbert Scott with our colleagues was the perfect ending. Again a quality atmosphere, I can not wait to return to London, where the wine shops are real treasure troves where one can find all that is good in the world. 

 My visits were a success to two neighboring countries where we were not present enough commercially. A thing of the past!

Friday, November 9, 2012

It's the journey...

Everyone is hard at work in the vat-rooms what with the écoulage and the pressing of our wines happening in three different rooms at the same time. We had a meeting at the local townhall to discuss our Saint Emilion vat-rooms, the current regulations and ecology.

I have quite a bit of travelling ahead of me: Munich in Germany to promote Bad Boy at our friend Geisel's. Then I'm off to England in order to present our wines at one of the best wine distributers with Catherine. Back home to Saint Emilion to leave almost immediately for China with stops in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing for the RVF Show. Coming back through Paris for an important meeting with Murielle and Gilles and then we're back home for the 27th. Then for 30th November and 1st December it's back up to Paris, to the Louvre for Bettane and Desseauve's Grand Tasting and a presentation at the HEC Paris Wine Club.

Barak Obama has been reelected. There are elections in China. French literary prizes including the 2012 Goncourt awarded to Jérôme Ferrari. I hope that the Goncourt members drank one of our wines during their traditional meal at Drouhant!

And last but by no means least, the latest Saint Emilion classment has been validated by the ministries so Chateau Valandraud is now officially 1er Grand Cru Classé! Long live Saint Emilion !

Friday, November 2, 2012

Axelle de Valandraud

The first vintage was in 2000 to celebrate the birth of our little Axelle Thunevin, with four grape varieties, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec which make up the blend of Valandraud.

The second vintage of this selection, made in 2010, was made up of grapes set aside by Michel Rolland from the blend of Chateau Valandraud and so is very very close to the excellent level of Valandraud 2010. Axelle de Valandraud from then on would be produced through the blending of different plots making up 1.5 hectacres (Rocheyron and Fongaban) set aside by INAO from the classification of Valandraud as a first growth.
We could have called it the Interdit de Valandraud but now is not the time to complain, rather the right time to prove that the wines from these particular plots also have their place in Valandraud 1st Grand Cru Classé!!

Friday, October 26, 2012


A quick trip up to Paris Montparnasse by TGV from Libourne in order to meet Dominique Dhyser and Mario Dussurget at the Ecluse Carnot restaurant/wine bar.

I was invited to talk about their company, about my company, about previous work we had done together and about future ventures.

Good wines and good food during business meetings always tend to make the discussions more agreable and help to build up a good business relationship and more importantly trust. This is often how business is done in China…

Well, the Ecluse winebars should be sponsored by the CIVB. We always hear that Bordeaux wines aren’t available on Parisien tables and these establishments only offer Bordeaux wines with a selection of wine by the glass with easy pricing ; the price of the bottle divided by 7.5 for the 10cl glass.

Of course the wines served were ones that we knew well : Virginie de Valandraud blanc, La Dominique 2007. On the wine list are also Château  Fleur Cardinale, Domaine des Sabines, Bellevue de Tayac, Bel Air Ouÿ, and Compassant…

Thank you from us.


A priority area for our company at the moment is wines in restaurants, for both the publicity and the image that we gain but also for turnover. 

Already a lot of work has been done in this sector in Saint Emilion. Of course one might say that there are a few restaurants in the medival town and in the local area ! This offers a large choice of places, ambiences, different foods and different prices.

Of course there are the restaurants that can’t be missed like Plaisance with it’s 2 stars, the Envers du Décor or La Cadène. There are also the restaurants which have marked my past : Le Clocher, Le Clos du Roy and most of all Le Tertre where my Saint Emilion story began !

Although nowadays I prefer to eat at home with Murielle who, unfortunately for her, often has to do the cooking.

Among the restaurants which honour me by purchasing my wines are the Michelin Stars of Paris but restaurants from all over the world, Toyko, New York and Moscow are important to the success of our company, of our wines. We also welcome bistrots !  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Harvest time

Now is not he time to wait for perfection. With this current hot and wet weather, we are doing our best to collect high quality grapes in spite of some botrytis starting here and there. If this rot is noble and welcome in Sauternes, in Saint Emilion we are rushing to win the race against it.
Of course all the work done in the vineyard during the summer (green harvest, deleafing....) means that our grapes are not too close to one another and that  the sun and wind when present, can be the best cure to allow our grapes to be rather great.

Those last few days have worked the tannins just fine. Our harvest team works18 rows at once, all in all we currently employ 60 workers in our vineyard everyday.

As far as performance improvement goes (thank you new Saint Emilion classification !) we have bought a second  grapes sorting machine, which was most needed even if the budget reaches 100 000 euro...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

And the harvest goes on...

The harvest of our white sauvignons will end tomorrow, and we may start the harvest of one single plot of young merlot (4 years old) which has suffered from the draught.
The other merlots will wait as long as the current weather remains stable.

Jane Anson has realized one of the first tastings organized with a bunch of the newly classified Saint Emilions. Valandraud 2009 won the race and was awarded with great comments and ratings (94-95-Highly recommended to Outsanding). Some of our neighbours and members of our informal club of Saint Etienne de Lisse based properties did well too : Peby Faugères  (92), Faugères (91), Pressac (90), and Sansonnet (90).
Jane is a regular writer for Decanter, Jancis Robinson and this article was more specifically created for the South China Morning Post

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

2012 Harvest : go !

The 2012  harvest for Valandraud white has started this morning by picking of  some sauvignons which were already mature.We are doing our best to outrun the bees and the birds before they manage to eat all the good grapes ... Every grape is hand picked, put in a basket then in a temperature controled small truck to be then stored in low temperature rooms before we start the pressing and vinification.

Cru Bourgeois !

Roger Pourteau who writes for Le Figaro issued today 3 pages of articles about the Médoc Cru Bourgeois classification, together with the complete official list of awarded 2010 growths.

There is an interview of Alliance des Crus Bourgeois' president, Frédéric de Luze from Château Paveil de Luze regarding this 3rd classification; there is also an article about Chateau Sénejac, the official list of all 260 Crus bourgeois châteaux including the 11 from Margaux, terroir is also scrutinized and -last but not least -  an article about our Chateau Bellevue de Tayac 2010 which is finally a Cru Bourgeois (I missed the classification for vintage 2008 and 2009  : I'm not very good with documentation and timing...). Vintage 2010 has just opened the door !
This is a great story when you realize that 2012 saw Valandraud upgraded to  First Classified Growth in Saint Emilion and Bellevue de Tayac upgraded to Cru Bourgeois in Margaux.
Who said Bordeaux was not up to change ?

Saturday, September 15, 2012


I was invited to taste a vertical of Château Le Gay from 2003 to 2011 and Château La Violette from 2006 to 2011 organized at Château Le Gay by Catherine Péré Vergé and her daughter, with Michel Rolland, employees and several Bordeaux wholesalers and brokers.
La Violette 1.8 hectares with 100% Merlot and Le Gay 6 hectares and 90 % merlot + 10% cabernet franc : 2 iconic properties located on 1st growth terroir and the energy to produce the best wines.
The 2010s were amazing.


Last Tuesday, we received a group of Americans accompanied by one of the first clients of Valandraud (1992) and based in New York.
We tasted our wines from the Roussillon at L’Essentiel: Constance, Dentelles, Hugo 2008 and L’Amourette 2009, and a few Bordeaux Domaine Virginie Thunevin 2009 and Virginie de Valandraud 2009 –great wine.
We then had lunch at home with 8 guests: tomatoes from the garden of Murielle’s parents and Pata Negra given to us by a friend paired with Valandraud 2005 and Kosher Valandraud 2005, finer, softer.
Following, paired with a perfectly cooked leg of lamb and fresh vegetable gratin, Valandraud 2009 which prompted one of the guests to say “that’s a wine!”. Red fruit and coffee to finish, then visit of our vineyards (red and white) of Valandraud. We passed in front of our famous neighbors: Fleur Cardinale, Rol Valentin, Pressac, Faugères and Peby Faugères. We then visited our Maison d’Hôtes and the cellar, then went to the warehouse in Saint Magne de Castillon.
I think our friends were happy with this little tour, especially since we took the time to stop in the beautiful caves of Chateau Ferrand.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Valandraud classified

On my Facebook page, nearly 400 people have "liked" it and nearly 150 have commented favorably on our new status.
Reading media sites, blogs, I found a lot of positive comments, a small number quite negative, almost insignificant amount, but useful to me because if my wines and I pleased everyone, it would mean that we would have become old and I am not ready for that yet!
I received a lot of texting on my cell phone, emails at my office and of course congratulations on the street, at home and on the phone. My thoughts go to all those who helped us and God knows how many: Boussarie, Lebailly, Lelièvre, Rolland, Alain… and many more, colleagues today, consultants, enologists, employees, friends. One even told me that I had finally resolved my existentialist anxieties: Valandraud engraved in a marble plaque, is that an analogy, humor shared by the passing of time, in any case, a friendly message.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wasps forbidden!

The harvest will start on September 18 with the whites. It will be a race to pick ripe grapes between the pickers and hungry wasps – if not birds also present in our vineyards.

The Jurade Sunday and the heritage night Saturday evening will have this year a particular flavor for us. I hope our 1st vintage as a 1st Grand Cru will be great!

Prior to the results

For dinner on September 4th and lunch on the 5th, before the results of the classification were announced, we drank the following wines at home with friends:

Bad Girl

B de Basilio 2010 Grenache blanc from Rioja, no nose but incredible flavor, ample and fresh.

B de Basilio 2007 Rioja 62% Tempranillo 32% Grenache et 6% Graciano. Simply a great wine.

Following, blind:

Fleur Cardinale 2008, delicious, fine, ultra drinkable

Canon La Gaffelière 2008, trully a very fine wine.

Following, Fleur Cardinale 2009 and Clos Badon 2009 both already accessible and drinkable. Their power is tamed by the softness of this wonderful vintage.

The next day at the restaurant Clos Mirande in Montagne, I had a business lunch and drank Fleur Cardinale 2008 and 2009, which re-confirmed the high quality of these 2 wines.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

What a story!

What a story! Valandraud promoted to 1er Grand Cru Classe B starting with the 2012 vintage. In other words starting with this harvest which will begin in less than 30 days. It’s a dream come true, today, fiction became reality. The nicknames given to Valandraud like “garage wine” and especially “Cinderella Wine” for my Japanese friends. Well, it is time to begin a new adventure, without forgetting the past. The future should be more pleasant.

We are fortunate to be in Saint Emilion where this is possible! I praise the people responsible for the classification, INAO, commission, regulators, and ministers, those who created this revisable classification in 1955. Perhaps the famous 1855 left bank classification will envy us.

I received a lot of messages of friendship, congratulations from friends, buddies, relationships, journalists, critics and even bankers. The newspaper Le Sud Ouest published a very nice article, as well as AFP, les Echos, le Nouvel Observateur, Challenges, Le Point, regional newspapers, Libération, L’Express, Capital, le Figaro, 20 minutes, radio stations and of course Decanter, Wine Spectator, blogs... and tomorrow Le Monde. Thank you Saint Emilion.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Chateau Valandraud was just promoted 1st Grand Cru Classe B in the new 2012 Saint Emilion classification

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The winners of the best Pomerol 2009

Bettane et Desseauve have selected for Terre de Vins the 20 best wines of Pomerol 2009 and Clos du Beau Pere was included :

"This property of four hectares, formerly called Chateau Ratouin was bought by Jean Luc Thunevin in 2006. Its vineyard consists of two parts: two hectares on sandy soils and two on the plateau in the sector of Bourgneuf. Both different terroir are blended together to create Le Clos du Beau Père, the wine is named after the father of his wife Murielle. This wine is creamy and juicy. 15/20
Varietals: 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc
Tasting Notes: This consensual Pomerol has firm tannins but a very good constitution. Powerful and focused, it will be perfect with chicken with truffles or beef cheek confit."

The wines included in this list of honor are Château Le Gay, Château Bonalgue, Clos du Clocher, but also well rated Château Franc Maillet (6th), Château La Violette (13th)

Le Figaro, the opinion of the wine and the best deals in Saint Emilion

Clos Badon is considered a good value by the site of the Figaro. I purchased Clos Badon in 1998 and changed the name to Clos Badon Thunevin because the name Badon is shared by 3 or 4 winemakers who own vineyards in this particular terroir located under the hillside of Pavie. It was a very old property existing under this name before 1800 and producing consistently very good wines, at the top of the classified wines of Saint Emilion. I always told my friends and my clients that Clos Badon is "the good deal" of our portfolio.

So thank you the Figaro and its tasters: Ian d'Agata, Abi Duhr, Peter Moser, Roger Voss, Bernard Burtschy.

These days, a lot of articles about our wines are coming out: RVF, Gault et Millau, Wine Doctor, as well as in Korea, India ... Thank you.


The harvest is projected to start on September 13 for Valandraud Blanc and in the best case September 24 for the Merlot from our Château Prieuré Lescours. In the meantime, I made a quick trip to Maury to meet with my partner andone of our accountants as well as one of our 2 bankers.

It was also a good opportunity to meet one of our loyal customers from Luxemburg, visit the vineyards, taste the Muscat grapes, pick and eat a few figs and almonds. All organic and very good.

I ate twice at the restaurant-wine store Pichenouille, including one meal with Hervé Bizeul. We drank 2 of his 2010 wines. They were both very good. Clos des Fées is constantly looking for excellence and their wines, like ours, are evolving towards fresher and more fruit. This is coming from picking ripe and sun-drenched grapes.

Each time I regret that we have to drive 4:30 hours to get to Maury.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Readings and punishments

We are now getting in the period when all the 2013 guides are coming out: RVF, Bettane & Desseauve, Hachette, etc…
Difficult to renew ourselves, as in the Michelin, only 10% of the wines change (good or bad), it depends on the work of producers and changes in the editorial team: such critics or journalist, prefer modern wine (which is rare these days) or “natural” (which is more common, especially in the RVF). Nice heated exchange concerning Hervé Bizeul’s choice (Clos des Fées) of no longer wanting to be in the guide RVF. Various blogs, including Hervé’s, the Grand Jury, La Passion du Vin also give their opinion, pros or cons, about his choice.
It reminds me that I too have made this choice in the past, not to submit my wine to some guides. It was only to prevent these guides to taste a “garage” wine with no terroir or pedigree, too rich and too powerful, where an expensive wine didn’t fit their criteria, except, of course, for my “dear” Valandraud. I even refused to submit to several magazines and important journalists, knowing that my wines were not their “cup of tea”. Getting older has made me more “tolerant”, assuming that when my wine is being caricatured, when it is ranked and noted badly, it will show and if others like my wine, well, it will be the readers’ choice whether to buy the book or the wine!
It does bring up an important question: Should one participate in an exam you’re certain to fail, especially if the rules and rating criteria have changed?
Should one be masochist instead of pragmatic?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Special mention

In the next issue of the Guide Hachette, due September 5th, our Clos Badon 2009 was highlighted with a special mention. Unfortunately, we’re sold-out (except for a few magnums I kept for our meals).

The 2009 vintage has produced incredible wines, sexy, pleasant, easy to drink, except for Bad Boy and Valandraud which need to be cellared. 2010 will be tighter, a proper vintage to be “cellared”.

After visiting our vineyards of whites at Valandraud, we had lunch at home with Athanase Fakorellis and drank a bottle given to us by a store in Saint Emilion: Domaine de la Taille aux Loups 2010, from Montlouis Sur Loire appellation, a dry Chenin, really delicious, with ripe fruit, pur aromas, floral, hard to top this well vinified Chenin. Thanks

Friday, August 31, 2012

Tasting: 2008 vintage

Here are the bottles we were served for dinner and paired with a very good meal, great atmosphere and 2008 Bordeaux magnums.

1st course
Château Rouget, very well made. I always believed that this wine is undervalued; it’s the value of a Pomerol, a complete wine and still holding great promises…
Château La Conseillante with its unique style and Haut -Carles, confirmation of the high level of this wine which should also be the case for the great 2011.

2nd course
Château Pichon-Lalande, château Montrose and again Haut-Carles holding very well, for comparative tastings are terrible; François Mauss’ grand jury proves it every time.

While waiting for the 2012 harvest, we have good weather, even very good weather. Margaux appellation released a statement mentioning the 2005 vintage, the better, if it could be true.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Friday, August 24, 2012


We already planned the extension of the current cellar of Prieuré Lescours this Winter. It is necessary as we had to vinify in another location this year.

If our sales are good this year and our banks contribute, we have several projects planned for the comming year:
- A 1500 m² storage facility for bottles and equipment to replace the current one which is outdated.
- A new office next to the existing one, which we’ve been using since 1988 and has become too cramped.
- We also need a tasting room, a kitchen and office space for me.
- We also have plans to expend the ground floor into two stores instead of one.
The current offices will be transformed into studios rentals

Thursday, August 23, 2012


I now have a lot of questions to answer!

Will I need to go back to an “open” market distribution system while preserving a few exclusive customers or carry on with direct distribution as I currently have with a few colleague wholesalers? I will ask a few brokers and Bordeaux wholesalers as well as some of my clients. Strategic choices to sell my Bordeaux wines have become more complex over time as I am as well a wholesaler, a colleague and competitor. A difficult position to be in.

The big question is also which strategy to choose; offensive, defensive? Should I increase the size if my properties or reduce them? Increase or decrease the wholesale business? Choose autonomy at all cost or find a partnership, with who and why.

It is now time to choose the path to move forward.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Jurade of Saint-Emilion

On September 16, 2012, the start of the harvest will be announced in Saint-Emilion with a series of events, including the march of the Jurats, mass, a large banquet and the proclamation from the top of the donjon of the Tour du Roy of the famous “alleluia Saint Emilion”.

I am certain that this Jurade will be well “watched” as the 2012 classification should already be official!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The trade organization for the wines of Lalande de Pomerol

This week, we discovered the trade organization for the wines of Lalande de Pomerol, where we dropped off 6 bottles of SABINES 2006.

Located in front of the beautiful old church of Lalande de Pomerol, this office offers several services for its members and only has one employee who seems quite active.

The value of unions for tourists and wine lovers is to find information but also a wine store where you can buy wine at the price of the properties. That of Lalande de Pomerol is consistent with the objective of promoting; all the wines available are sold for 12 euros and you can only buy one bottle of each wine.

The interest is to promote the Chateaux; it is quite rare to see this kind of equality, unfortunately none of the “stars” are present!
In other wine stores, Saint-Emilion, Pomerol, Margaux for example, wines are sold at the “so called” price of the properties…

Friday, August 17, 2012

Nice weather and nice bottles

The veraison is going well, the sun is with us and boosts our morale even if it damaged and burned a few clusters being exposed by a few leaves recently removed, probably too severely. It does give us a good way to predict the harvest which will most likely start a little later and with lowered our yields. We still have 45 days to wait to find out what is this vintage 2012 will be as well as the new classification of Saint-Emilion 2012.

I drank with friends Petit Taluos 2011, good, fun wine, Syrah aromas and sweet fruit, at a very sweet price.

The top wine Taluos 2010 is closer to a classic Bordeaux than a Cabardès, Eric asked me what I thought. It took me two days to realize this, too reserved, too much like a classic Bordeaux, not enough of a “crazy”' Cabardès like the second wine, however, a good wine to taste again in 2 or 3 years as the previous 2000 vintages are very good now, this wine is perhaps simply closed.

In the same meal Croix de Labrie 2009 very high level, a very fine bottle, really.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Château Bel Air Ouy

These days, the chain is always opened

The cellars (a hot topic for the press)

For some time, several Chateaux in Saint-Emilion have done a tremendous amount of construction and are now catching up on the Médoc, Rioja, Napa Valley.

Some of the cellars are already done and active, among them the most ambitious: Cheval Blanc, designed by Mr Portzamparc as well as a series of great achievements including the beautiful, and original, Chateau Faugères, signed by Botta. The most visited cellar today is, I think, Soutard, where agro tourism has been at the heart of the process, and Villemaurine with its active underground caves?

Fonplégade is equally successful, as well as the harmonious Troplong Mondot, Fleur Cardinale very discreet, Sansonnet with a perfect cellar, Barde Haut contemporary and original, and there are more just as successful.

Some are still under construction: Angelus as well as Pavie both rebuilding their cellars. I wonder when I drink their wine, what they will improve considering the “top” level they already have. La Dominique, with the talent of Nouvel, and probably other projects that are added to what was or is already taking place in Pomerol (Pétrus, Le Pin, La Conseillante, Petit Village, Le Gay, etc...), even in the greatly forgotten area of Fronsac, with La Dauphine, La Riviere, Carles...

If you do not like wine, you will still be able to appreciate these works of art and the owners’ different philosophies regarding their own wines, technology and the image they want to communicate.
I was invited by a friend for my 1st meals at the restaurant of the Chateau de Candale open since July 13.

It was completely renovated and had a terrace facing the vineyards, parking, dining room, bar, cellar and even a games room. Nice place, young and attentive service and good food, a mix of classic and contemporary, it works well, the restaurant was full with locals which will be good for this winter!

L'atelier de Candale
1- Grandes plantes
33330 Saint-Laurent des Combes

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Garage in August

Last Wednesday, we had many clients who came to taste, visit and buy from our seasonal shops, managed by our 2 Florians.

The location where the first Valandraud was produced, in the heart of Saint-Emilion, next to the restaurant the "Clos du Roy", is easily accessible for visitors, so last Wednesday afternoon I had the opportunity to tell part of our history: Murielle former nurse at the hospital in Libourne and me, former employee of the Credit Agricole in the Dordogne; among the visitors where people from Brittany, an employee in a logistics company and a nurse, the in 2nd group of parents, the father worked in electronics, the mother was a nurse and their son was studying human resources. They were from the eastern part of Lorraine, near St. Avoid.

Thir obvious interest in wine and the producers made me feel good and the good weather today, our beautiful backgrounds all made it a beautiful day


The carbon footprint is not the only important assessment, but also: economic, social, ecological...

I visited my vineyards and cellars before most of my employees left for their holidays, knowing that there's always work to be done in the vineyard as well as in the cellar. The veraison started and confirmed that the harvest will start in late September, early October. It will not be an early year. The vineyards look beautiful but the yields will be quite low. We'll see what happens in Saint Emilion. The vineyards are being so well tended that it looks like a big garden, which is great. This contradicts some of the articles stating that the vines are not being tended. They are probably written by someone who doesn’t go to the same places as me or who has not often worked in vineyards. It would be interesting that a scientific and financial study be done on the hours worked in our vineyards in Bordeaux, in noble appellations and more, and compare it to other places in France supposed to work better or even in other countries (California, Italy ...).

The commitment in personnel, the number of men and women working per hectare should be significantly positive for companies in Bordeaux. In my company, we have a full time employee for 2 hectares, compared with the usual 1 full time employee for 4 hectares, for our fine wines and in addition, we have seasonal workers (pruning, de-leafing, green harvest and regular harvest).

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Small shop in Bordeaux

Not long ago, I had a very good meal in a restaurant, invited by Maître Joëlle Bordy; one of her favorite place. This “fish” restaurant located in the hip neighborhood of Saint Pierre, 22 rue du Parlement, has a very good cuisine and pleasant atmosphere. I realize that I almost never go to Bordeaux, but it is true that I don’t often eat in restaurants, even in Saint Emilion.

Friday, August 3, 2012

James Suckling and 2009 Bordeaux

James Suckling reviewed again the 2009 in August and thanks to him, we sold some wine in China, Hong Kong, New York and Quebec. I would like to thank our clients and James Suckling who helped our sales in these countries.

He gave high scores to the 2009. It’s been quite a popular vintage, even in our stores in Saint Emilion: sexy, ripe, round and already drinkable have all been factors for its success. Actually, all the comments such as “needs to be cellared for 20 years”, “it is a cellaring wine, you have to wait”, are certainly not worth as much as “taste this! It’s really good! How many bottles do you want?”

Well, back to James Suckling’s notes; he gave, rightly so, 97 points to Valandraud, which I think is the best we’ve done so far, till 2010? In addition, a series of good notes: Virginie de Valandraud with 94, is one of the successes of “seconds” Bordeaux. Bellevue de Tayac 87, De Carles 92, Fleur Cardinale 93, Secret de Cardinale 94, Franc Maillet Jean Baptiste 93, Gracia 94, Haut Castenet 89, Haut Mazeris 92, Sansonnet 93, Vieux Brandard 92, Clos Badon Thunevin 92, Clos Romanile 93, Galaxies 2 Romanile 91, Sabines 92, Domaine Virginie Thunevin 91, Bad Boy 93, Haut Carles 91, Guilbonnerie 90, Clos du beau Père 93, etc… This should give plenty of amo to help boost sales of our wines as well as those of our friends.