Sunday, August 31, 2008


Nice comments written by François Mauss on the latest guides. I still haven’t received BD’s ?

It will most likely be a nice year for truffles. The Summer rains contributed to this feeling of optimism. We will see what is available in January-February in the markets of Dordogne.

Wednesday, we had lunch with 5 good and fun Korean sommeliers… I was surprised by the quality of Bel Air Lescours 2003. We tasted Virginie de Valandraud 2006, Valandraud 2005, Clos Badon Thunevin 2004 and then, this Bel Air Lescours 2003, Bellevue de Tayac 2004 and Prieuré Lescours 2002. We had Champaign for aperitif and coffee for desert. I enjoy the dynamic and relaxed atmosphere emanating from these Koreans and this gives me energy.

And how not be in good spirits when in the same afternoon, one of our distributors ordered 9000 bottles of wine ? Lots of petits chateaux, but the order was for 40000 Euros ex VAT!

For dinner, we drank a bottle of Marojallia 2001 and Le Pin 2000 quite good. It was a minimum we could do for our guests!


Last Tuesday I was invited for lunch by my bank, the BNP, in the restaurant La Cadène which, as always, is still good and with a nice atmosphere. We drank a bottle of Clos Badon 2004.
My banks have been true partners and they are indispensible to loan the necessary funds I need to finance the credits I give to my clients and my investments.

In the evening, and instead of watching Mondovino, we had dinner at home with friends and even though Murielle made, as always, a nice meal, we had a hard time tasting the wines.
Is it due by the atmospheric pressure? The Azores anticyclone? Who knows!
La Mordorée Blanc Lirac 2005 : corked
Pavillon Blanc du Chateau Margaux 2001 : good
Blanc de Valandraud N°1 2005 : very good
Pingus 2000 en magnum : bad cork, difficult to taste
Pavie 2000 : good
Monbousquet 2000 : good
Haut Brion 2000 : good
Mission Haut Brion 2000 : corked
Branon 2000 : very good
Echézeaux DRC 2000 : very good
Porto Krohn LBV

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The last days before the resumption of activities

The Cap Ferret is the favorite place for holidays for Bordeaux wine industry. It is the opportunity to meet and develop personal relationships between colleagues in an informal and more relaxed environment, and could lead to professional ones when business resumes.

I don’t have a holiday house there, but I have the opportunity and privilege to be invited. I always question where does the limit between private and professional lives stands…
The tax benefits being one of the important questions!

I haven’t been drink much wine these past few days. Still, I tasted a great Pomerol 1998 which, unfortunately was slightly corked. The cork producer, who’s no longer around, provided me with nice batches of corks which, unfortunately, where not safe enough, at least in an organoleptic sense.

Taste and colors cannot be argued.

On Tuesday, August 26, the film Mondovino was broadcasted on FR3 at 8:50 pm.

Thursday, we were invited for lunch at the Grand Barrail by a barrel supplier. The wine list was fairly priced and we drank a very good bottle of Château de Lussac 2001 for 32 Euros, a good deal. Sitting at the table next to us were a few chateau owners and managers of crus (reclassified in 1996!) as well as a couple of tourists. Considering that all the restaurants of Saint Emilion are full, it shows how crucial placement is.

On the site of La Passion du Vin, I had the pleasure to rediscover an astonishing comment written in January 2006 on Valandraud 99: “Too hard”. It is the opinion of one of the greatest tasters on earth (as commonly accepted!). I do find some problems with my 99, but I wouldn’t have said it that way as I am not a winemaker famous enough… Regarding famous winemaker, while waiting for a 2nd star, the domain Le Clos des Fées keeps its star in the 2009 issue of the Best Wines of France. However, the comment written on Petite Sibérie 2007 is so distressing that it makes sense why they didn’t like our 3 Marie!

May God protects us from producing 12 degree wines in a bad vintage in this beautiful region of Roussillon, tasting a bit vegetal and acid, at least more digest according to some of our critics. Every sort of tastes can be found in our world, and this is good as it feeds controversy and helps each wine find its right customer.

Friday, August 29, 2008


A nice article written in English by Emmanuel Tresmontant was published on Via Michelin. It includes beautiful pictures and a very good comment on Virginie de Valandraud.

The guide for the best wines of France 2009, sold for 25 Euros is certainly a nice tool for wine connoisseur able to read between the lines and correct a few errors or obvious mistakes. In fact, how can they justify giving 2 stars to Haut Brion and 3 to Mission Haut Brion???

Bettane-Desseauve 2009 will be available in bookstores on August 22, 2008. I can’t wait to compare…

I rediscovered on the site of Nouvelobs, an article called « La vie continue », which included a good comment on Valandraud 1999 signed by Bernard Frank and was dated May 2006.

Pierre Arditi will be inducted into the Commanderie du Bontemps on August 30 in Pauillac.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Quote from the LETTER OF SAINT-EMILION’S WINE COUNCIL - N° 10 - July 2008 :

60th anniversary of the renaissance of the Jurade of Saint-Emilion

Saint-Emilion, department of Gironde and the region of Aquitaine is planning an exceptional anniversary celebration in 2008:

The 60th anniversary of the renaissance of the Jurade of Saint-Emilion

To celebrate this occasion, the Saint Emilion Wine Council and the Jurade of Saint Emilion plans to organize exceptional events on Saturday 20 and Sunday September 21 2008 which will include:


4 pm :
Lecture from Dominique LAPIERRE, journalist, writer and philanthropist, on his project in India helping poor people. He will sign his latest book “Un Arc-en-Ciel dans la nuit” (A rainbow in the dark) - Salles des Dominicains.

5 pm :
Exceptional Auction of Fine Wines from Saint Emilion to raise funds for the Dominique Lapierre Foundation “Action for Leprous children of Calcutta” – Salles des Dominicains

7 pm :
Preview of the Exhibition « La Jurade de Saint-Emilion, 1948-2008 » - Cloister of the Eglise Collégiale

Starting at 9 pmNight of Heritage in the town Saint Emilion:
- Live music, theater, arts & craft throughout the streets and in historical monuments
- Outdoor projection of the movie « 60 years of Jurade de Saint-Emilion » - Remparts du Logis de Malet
- Torch procession of the Jurade de Saint-Emilion (recalling the harvest) in town
- Grandiose show projecting pictures of the Jurade on the Tour du Roi
- Blazing of the town of Saint-Emilion (beautiful fireworks)
- Night of Heritage

- The official launch of the harvest (by invitation)

9 am:
Welcome reception for guests, Procession of the Jurade of Saint-Emilion and its guest to the Eglise Collégiale. Mass at 10 am.

11:30 am:
Enthronement of new dignitaries in the heart of the town.

12:45 pm:
Cocktails in the cloisters of the Eglise Collégiale and Winemaker’s Lunch, Salle des Dominicains (in the spirit of 1948, rectangle tables with 12 guests)
– Fee to participate 117€HT(139,93€TTC)

4:30 pm:
Proclamation of the Ban des Vendanges (start of the harvest) by the Jurade of Saint-Emilion

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


During these trouble times due to the constant increase in the price of oil and its negative impact on the economy of countries and drivers, the increase forces us to be more careful with our spending and allows for research and innovation to find new and more efficient sources. In the meantime, it is true that the price of gas affects the pocket book of consumers, but in the long term, and like for the 1st oil crisis, we will come out of it, I hope, as winners with cleaner fuel and a better respect for the environment.

Mankind is by essence good, but unfortunately often has to be called back to reason.
In the meantime, today, the sun is back.

At Random

Is the film « Bottle Shock » about the triumph of California wine ?

Manga: « Drops from God » ( already 18 volumes in Japanese and only 3 in French !)

Glocalisation : Who knows what it means.

Mondovino : will be broadcasted on France 3 at 8:50 pm ?

Will Brad Pitt become winemaker ?

Another good reason to drink red wine for meat eaters Le Nouvelliste On-line - Vins (in French)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Le petit prince (The little Prince) - answers -

Banks can help do anything you want as long as you can get out of your commitments. So the “Petit Prince” was born in 1979 and was the name of the bar/restaurant I opened with a partner in Montpon Ménestérol in Dordogne. I sold it a few years later, but it still exists in the main street across the post office.

The color “grey mole” has become trendy a short time ago, but it hard to convince my wife who prefers off-white. It’s a good idea to check out the rosemary green color of Château La Fleur Pétrus in Pomerol to put back in perspective the importance of the notes from wine guides. The color of shutters, in harmony with the beautiful stones from the Gironde and reading Saint Exupery’s The Little Prince could give you the idea to name a bar. I also mentioned that a racing horse was named after Valandraud, even a couch. And several wines in Bordeaux have inspiring names, writing, and colors. As my mother would say, It is better to be desired that pitied. Actually, regarding the Olympic games in Beijing, is France desired, or…

On another subject, 8 pages on the Roussillon in the last issue of Decanter!

Friday, August 8, 2008

The guide

Many French wine guides publish their notes every year, the most well known in France is the Guide Hachette which has a definite impact on sales for affordable wines. A wine receiving a special selection will be in great demand, and sales will be brisk at the property, in wine shops or in supermarkets. The other important guides have mainly an impact with wine enthusiasts, the guide from the Revue du Vin de France made a controversial statement when it demoted Château Mouton Rothschild from 3 stars (out of 3) to 2. The 3 stars were given back later. So, we are impatiently waiting for their releases. Will there be big changes? Most likely if my information is correct !
Will the Bettanne Desseauve also make changes ? Previously, they were responsible for the guide of the Revue du Vin de France.
Will the new guide from Parker will also create a scoop?

The French trade deficit is increasing. Over the past 12 months our deficit is only of 48 billion Euros, compared to the German deficit of more than 100 million Euros. Europe? Which Europe?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

August 8, 2008

Morning :

The Olympic games in Beijing are starting tomorrow and this is a good thing, even though I am not into sports.
Why is it a good thing for me? As a wine producer and merchant, lots of wine will be drunk in China during this time, either by Chinese or tourists, to celebrate respective victories. White wine, champaign, red wine, from all over the world, Hurrah for this celebration, hurrah for sport.

As for me, a group of Koreans will be visiting me. I think to scout for a film?

I read on the internet that man was drinking milk 9000 years ago. Wine, maybe 3000 years. Therefore, it is a young beverage.

Afternoon :

The Koreans, suite. The film in question will be romantic and intended for the Korean and Japanese markets. 60 people will be here during the harvest. Unfortunately, not in Valandraud as our cellars are not dug in the rock, but who knows? The film will borrow a bit of our story? Answer in October 2008.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Clochemerle (village squabble)

Saint Emilion classification, should there be one or not ? That is the question.

If I understood correctly, the 8 chateaux promoted in 2006 for the quality of their wine are, at this stage, back to their previous place as the 1996 classification was reinstated. Why is this one good? Who knows if this one will not even be also challenged as it is based on the same methods which were contested in 2006!!

In any case, in 2010, no more classification, or maybe a new one. Will the rules be the same? If so, we’re back to square one! If they are different, who will define them and why? This story is not over yet. I would like to remind you that the wines demoted in 2006 also suffered grater discrimination and prejudice, but who cares.

Here is my saying of the day, a lawyer’s joke.
1st lawyer: Me, mister, I know the law.
2nd lawyer: Me, mister, I know the judge

Conclusion, To be continued !

The veraison, the change of color from green grapes to white of red is just starting. This means that the harvest for the reds will begin on Monday, September 29 2008, if all goes well.

Several articles just came out, either on me, or regarding my wines. Thanks to the internet, we can now consult them:

For instance Wikio states that my blog is position in the 348 place in the gastronomy category (so?), from Las Vegas writes about one of my branded wine ( Lalande de Couturier ), often asks my opinion (on this bloody Saint Emilion classification),

TV7 broadcasted one last time the report on Château La Dominique,

And to finish, a piece published on a Chinese site.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


La Dominique was featured in the program “La Vie de Château” broadcasted at 10:45 am on the local television station TV7. This program was shot not long ago in Château La Dominique where I spoke about my objectives for the chateau as well as my relationship with the owner, Mr. Clément Fayat. It will be broadcasted today, Tuesday, at 10:45 am and 9:45 pm and on Wednesday at 1:15 pm. Many of my colleagues have already seen it and it gave me the opportunity to see it again as well as the chraming Florence Lafragette.

I had plenty of nice meals over last weekend, including The Wine Maker’s Collection d’Arsac Sunday evening

- N°1 Michel Rolland 2006
- N°2 Denis Dubourdieu 2006
- Balthus 2003 de Reignac (Bordeaux)
- Cuvée Edmond Alphonse Mellot 2001 (Sancerre)
- Cuvée Victor de Diel 2004 (Allemagne)
- Clos des Truffiers 1999 (Coteaux du Languedoc) – always so good
- Valandraud 2005

Monday, August 4, 2008

Just for fun

A few days ago I had lunch at the restaurant Le Tertre with 3 Belgium wine lovers, Alain, François and I.
The meal was very good and we drank a white wine (blind) offered by one of the Belgium amateurs.
Everyone liked it. Was it a Bordeaux, a Burgundy? Hard to guess.
The Belgium folks thought it was a Bordeaux. We all said that it was not Laville Haut Brion nor Haut Brion and that it couldn’t be Pape Clément white… Maybe Malartic Lagravière… However, it is not in the style of Bordeaux. I am the one telling all these stories.
In the end, it was Blanc de Valandraud 2005 and I forgot that the restaurant had some on the list and that it tasted very good.It is so hard to guess a wine blindly, especially when it’s your own!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

July 29 and August 1st 2008

July 29, 2008 :

I was invited by Michel Puzio for a meal with his Canadian (Ontario) clients, in Chai Pascal the web bar in Rue Guadet, where the homemade smoked salmon is always good.
I had the pleasure to drink with cheese Château La Rame 2001 Sainte Croix du Mont, dried apricots, mandarin, and especially an inexpensive cuvée Fié Gris 2006, a dry white wine from Touraine from Jacky Preys et Fils. It is made with a “forgotten” varietal which was used to replant all their vineyards of Sauvignon Gris, a very aromatic varietal also used here, in Monbousquet Blanc and by us, in very small quantity in our Blanc de Valandraud.

August 1st, 2008 :

Despite the holidays, there is a lot of work, receiving clients, Americans, Germans, French, meals in local restaurants.

In Château La Dominique, Jean-Claude and Clément FAYAT were hosting 2 VIPs and wine amateurs who pointed out that I speak to fast. I am too much in hurry, even for people speaking the same language. Murielle took care of a visit of Valandraud with clients of Patricia Devergne. As for me, I spent the afternoon with Dominique Decoster reflecting on the consequences of the “classified, not classified” Chateau Fleur Cardinale and others. Despite the wish of appeasement, all sorts of rumors are going around Saint-Emilion and it is now time for the French authorities to give an intelligent response in order to calm the situation. Just think about what clients have to go through with classified growth which will be delivered in a lower category. This will cause problems. The USA has already reacted to this problem (Food and Drug Administration), and in France, there are plenty of sticklers for all sorts of procedures.

Speaking about procedures, like every 3 years, I was just informed that I will be audited by the tax office, as I didn’t have enough stress for this time wasted. I’m starting to believe that they like me and think that my tax contribution is still too low. Should I gave more to the tax office?! It is then the turn of the cooperage firm Seguin Moreau to pay me a visit in Saint Emilion. Philippe Fezas is meeting me to review our past and especially our future activities.

A well know property in Saint Emilion has just been put up for sale and this will create a lot of noise in the microcosm of the wine industry. There is no point of questioning if this area is attractive or not, as the image of Bordeaux is connected to French luxury and as a proof, you just have to look at the million of tourists visiting Saint Emilion and thousands the various chateaux.