Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Thunevin-Calvet & Wine Spectator

(and already a nice order for Dentelles 2008)
Finally! We waited for weeks, months, for these 2 notes and comments from Kim Marcus for our 2 wines from the Roussillon: Thunevin-Calvet 2008 Dentelles and Hugo.

This should help us promote this property as well as wines from this region as it needs a great deal of commercial and media support.

Thanks to the RVF, to Bettane & Desseauve, Decanter and the Wine Advocate for their interest in promoting this beautiful region where ambitious American investors are starting to pay attention. There is in fact a big project with more than 100 hectares purchased by an American entrepreneur and who’s experience is already showing great sales in the US. In Bordeaux, the Chinese are buying properties while in Maury in the Roussillon, it is the Americans. Long live globalization. This “American” cellar I visited in Maury, is amazing, beautiful, designed by Pascal Carrère, who also did ours, and constructed by French and Spanish artisans, with stainless steel tanks from our friends at Lejeune and beautiful French barrels. It is staffed with locals, which is and the most important as it supports the region.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Cazal de Roques

Is a good alternative for Saint Emilion residents who want to drink a good and inexpensive wine (less than 30 euros on the table). Cazal de Roques 2000 Minervois is included on the lists of Clos du Roy and Tertre. The 2000 vintage was produced exclusively for us by the serious owners and the competent local consultant: Lucien Robert.

The 2002 vintage is also very good and we still have 8900 bottles in stock. This means that my sales reps and I have not spent much time promoting and selling this wine and its appellation. But the 2000 vintage, which is already sold-out, is just great, despite being 12 years old and aged in 100% new oak. Thank you Seguin Moreau, our exclusive barrel supplier which still supplies over 50% of the new barrels we purchase (almost 100% annually).

Talking about restaurants, I hardly go here in St Emilion, but I have been catching up. Last Friday, I had a very good lunch for 30 euros at l’Envers du Décor, with had a killer vanilla creme brulee. All the dishes were cooked with fresh produce, which is not so common and deserves to be emphasized. We finished the meal in style with Illy coffee, canelé and the famous macarons from Nadia Fermigier, seated in the shade of a beautiful tree in the courtyard terrace, away from the noise of Saint Emilion.

Friday, July 27, 2012


I have to remove “friends” on Facebook, as I reached the 5000 mark!

Looking at this list of contacts, I certainly have a good number of real friends, buddies, relationships, acquaintances but at least 80% I do not know. Yet Facebook occasionally brings a new contact, professionally or even personally.

In my case, Facebook complements the visibility of my wine with the blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc... But, as I said this past Sunday at Saint Emilion’s Jazz Festival to a very famous American critic, I don’t write and say everything in my blog and on Facebook... but like in interviews or Q&A during a seminar: ask me any questions you want, I will answer all... but it won’t always be true!

Bad run, bad karma... and then hope

These days, there’s been a good deal of problems, accidents, illnesses, in my personal life or the office and every time, the notorious hypochondriac that I am has not been able to respond except by eluding them and escape in my work. I never know how, or even want, to react to these problems like an adult, and it's not now it will change because the older you get, problems are more numerous and my inability to respond is becoming more blatant.

Meanwhile, what is certain is that after this dark series, it will be all good news, weddings, births and healings. It has to be.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


While my bankers are analyzing the state of my business, perhaps, to find stable revenues, or to find synergies with partners, Tuesday, I had a second lunch with Thierry Verstraete and Gerard Néraudau. After going to the oyster bar Huitrier Pie, we ate at the restaurant Le Tertre to finish a series of meetings. We brought documents on my business which they plan to use to write a chapter about - if I understood correctly - a “Thunevin” business model. If such entrepreneurial, economic, etc... model exists.

As with journalists, all these questions researchers have give me the opportunity to... ask myself and think about what I did, am doing or will do!

As it is most of the time to talk about my story, it is relatively easy. With age, repeating the same story becomes second nature and, anyway, they have a natural empathy, which makes it easier.

I said that Pierre-Marie Chauvin psychoanalyzed me. Well, these two still carry-on. And there is a lot to do!


In addition to our 3 stores selling wine in Saint Emilion, we opened for the public for 2 months our historic cellar of Valandraud in the village, next to the restaurant Clos du Roy.

Also, Murielle’s apartments in Valandraud in Saint Etienne de Lisse keep Florence Bordat busy developing this new activity focused on wine tourism.

It is true that the pretty town of Saint Emilion is a great place to spend a few days sightseeing, visit chateaux, taste wine and macaroons, travel through a beautiful countryside and visit the Dordogne region or the Bay of Arcachon.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"I am proud of Dominique!"

It was the painter Monique Lauret Renard’s heartfelt comment to her husband, following Jacky Terrasson’s incredible concert. I recommend checking out her paintings of the Jurade.

Well Monique, we are also all proud of Dominique Renard’s time in Saint Emilion. These 4 days included international stars, I even knew: Earth Wind and Fire Experience, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jacky Terrasson, Opus Jam (who stayed at Valandraud), etc… (Check the program) as well as more “elitist” artist. This showed that this 1st festival wants to become a reference considering its programming, with a blend of styles, music and audience. Including such popular artist like Earth Wind and Fire Experience who I used to play at the Takouk, the night-club I used to work at as a DJ on Saturdays and holidays during the 70s!

Included were well-known and popular artists as well as lesser known attracting purist jazz lovers. Performances were held in several venues, including the church which was packed (this will give ideas to the parish priest to fill his church ... He should ask the group Opus Jam to sing a few Sundays before mass ...)

All my friends loved it; this 1st festival will be hard to match, for it is up to par to those organized by a city the size of Bordeaux. Let me remind you that the commune of Saint Emilion has less than 3000 inhabitants and that less than 200 live in town! Some photos and links are available, but nothing expressing the noise and passion of the 1500 people in ecstasy in the moat of the Palais Cardinal, full of young and older audiences. There are no big concert-halls in Saint Emilion, so an outdoor venue is necessary, and these moats do the job, especially when the nice weather is contributing.

I have the feeling that Saint Emilion just moved up a gear, so, I am looking forward to next year!

Monday, July 23, 2012

All that jazz

The 1st Saint Emilion Jazz festival started on Thursday with prestigious sponsors: Robert Parker and Tommy LiPuma (who actually is fan of Château Bel Air Ouÿ 2000).

4 days of concerts, 16 concerts, 65 musicians, many technicians and volunteers, and groups showing their enthusiasms to play throughout the village.

Fireworks on Sunday at 23 hours after the concert of Earth Wind and Fire Experience.

Monday, July 16, 2012


We were invited to a nice dinner organized for 7 guests at Chateau Sansonnet where several wines were served, including a few blind.

Visible labels:
Sansonnet 2010, bottled a few days ago, beautiful, holds-up to its expectations. It will certainly be one of the best in the Saint Emilion Grand Cru category. To start the evening: Valandraud Blanc 2010.

Blind, 2 bottles, I did guess where they came from and even the vintage and appellation. I just needed the name!

On the right, a modern style, current, a great wine of the world, good to drink, close to Bordeaux, in style, it took me a few tries to guess but finally I did: 1996 Priorat, I said Erasmus. In fact, it was Ermita 1996 from Alvaro Palacios. Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon, one of my favorite wines with, of course, Pingus!

On the left, classic style, I was on a role and luck, 1990 vintage, Ribera del Duero, it was, of course, Vega Sicilia, I prefer their more recent vintages, still, this style, flavor and the special winemaking technique used at that time, made it a cult wine which it remains to this day.

Visible labels :
Fleur Cardinale 2009, great wine, fine tannins and phenomenal balance. What a great evolution during aging which expanded this wine. Fleur Cardinale 2005, undoubtedly great, but which suffered from being compared with 2009.

Blind/half blind
Sansonnet 2008 which tastes better and better. Alas, it is sold-out Valandraud 2008, not decanted, with gas, I aired it in my glass. Difficult to taste at the opening, but after 40 minutes, it was good.

Goes to show how important it is to decant this 2008 which has become capricious! The meal was good and the atmosphere pleasant and positive and I didn’t see the time passing

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Who is it?

What is it?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Holiday rentals

We have now 3 additional studios to rent in the center of Saint Emilion. Our agro-tourism venture is moving forward, with two more student rooms, located in the village.

Our rental activity at Valandraud, in Saint Etienne de Lisse, is growing and starting to become serious. We just hired Florence Bordat who can be contacted via email at: valandraudlocation@thunevin.com and we are also listed on the site of the Tourist Office, in the online booking section...

Once business starts to be active, we will also offer the apartments in Maury in the Roussillon.

Chateau de Carles in Fronsac

We were recently invited to dinner with friends. To start, just before sitting down for dinner, we were served a Meursault Perrieres 1st growth 2001 from Comtes Lafon and Chassagne Montrachet Les Vergers 1st growth 2006 from Michel Niellon, and then for work, blind, 4 2009 Bordeaux.

The 1st wine was good but a bit closed: Clos L’Eglise 2009 ( 98 RP)
The 2nd wine, oaky, full, very concentrated, to be cellared for another 15/20 years: Gracia 2009 (98RP)
The 3rd wine was more accessible, a good wine, less concentrated, more classic: Haut Carles 2009 ( 92RP)
The 4th was, for me, the best and one of the very fine wines of Bordeaux. A must have: caressing, ripe, soft, sexy, really fine, with incredible texture…: Pontet Canet 2009 (100RP)

And finally, Haut Carles 2011 which I still believe is a great wine, not for snobs, nor for the label drinkers. This kind of wine should be served blind to prove that one can still find such great values in Bordeaux!


I left for Japan earlier this week for Osaka then Tokyo, to promote the 2011 Bordeaux futures.

My wines and of course those of my colleagues who accepted to pour their Bordeaux for the customers of our importer. He is doing an outstanding job and we would certainly be very happy to have more of these kinds of importers-distributors promoting Bordeaux.

We will also go to Hong Kong with this distributor to meet his Chinese partner, and also attend an event organized by one of our loyal Hong Kong importers.

Valandraud Blanc 2011: 19/20

Thank you Weinwisser, thank you René Gabriel for your recommendation given to Valandraud Blanc 2011, an encouragement to continue and Murielle, mentioned by René Gabriel, and I, can be happy of the stylistic choices made since the 1st vintage in 2003, already.

Thursday evening at L’Essentiel, we tasted our 2011 with Rami and his friends "traders" and "bankers", and our guest stars Michel Puzio (Croix de Labrie) and Michel Gracia (Gracia), my “garagist” friends who were also part of this path of history and built 2 beautiful brands in 15/20 years. The success they had with their 2011 futures campaign, the notes and comments they received which were rewarded with sales are proof.

The Ruinart Blanc de Blanc was good, as always, but this beautiful day was marred by news of one of my employees being in a car accident: the car coming from the front was driving on the left, the young driver was probably using his cell phone.

One can understand why the use of these damn cell phones is strictly forbidden while driving.

Monday, July 2, 2012

New York’s chapter of the Commanderie de Bordeaux

Lunch for 13, my lucky number, at Valandraud, with some of the members of this famous branch of the Commanderie de Bordeaux and the opportunity to have a good meal with Bad Girl, Valandraud Blanc 2010, then, blind Valandraud red 2005 and 2005 kosher.

The "classic" Valandraud being much more powerful and tasting younger than the kosher which was softer and more mature. Most likely due to the difference of work done with the grapes during vinification. After, Thunevin-Calvet Hugo 2005 and our Maury 2004.

Previously, they tasted our 2011, along with Niko Dukan and his friends journalists. Later, it will be the turn of friends from Hong Kong who are in banking and the wine industry.


Tuesday evening, we ate a great couscous a friend's house and also a wine lover.

6 guests were present: Ruinart Blanc de Blanc and Brut, followed by a delicious rosé from Saint Tropez and blind, despite the heat, a very young Trotanoy 1983. Apart from Murielle who said 1982, we were all between 1995 and 2000, right bank, but nothing more. Yet we know this wine, quite well

2012 Saint Emilion classification

In the supplement of the Journal du Dimanche, 24 June, Bettane and Desseauve wrote an article on the best wines in 2011 and Saint Emilion’s classification. Considering the article written in L'Express’s wine Special, these two journalists are not afraid to express their views before publication of results in September / October 2012.

Mr Jean Louis Buer, director of the INAO, also answered Vitisphère’s questions on Saint Emilion’s Grand Crus classification. In addition, on the website of Nicolas de Rouyn, Thierry Desseauve gives his opinion as well as Francois Mauss on the site of the European Grand Jury. In fact, there are very few articles written about the event of the year in the world of wine from Saint Emilion and its 5500 hectares (with the 1st Jazz Festival July 19 to 22).

It is probably difficult and courageous to give ones opinion on probable, or improbable, properties promoted or downgraded. What is certain is that the number of newly promoted announced seems rather high, but this is only speculative. As for me, I just hope that this classification will reward "good" properties (the bad ones will be judged by the market...)