Friday, February 27, 2009

Travelling with Murielle

I just returned from a 2 weeks trip with Murielle, and as I can’t use a keyboard properly, the blog was mainly busy with comments from readers (and quite busy according to the statistics).
Before writing about my trip to China and India, I would like to share a few thoughts on comments written in the past few days.

1) First of all, I would like to thank Lionel Lateyron for his comment regarding the 100 years anniversary of Libourne’s wine merchant trade union, even if it is hard to read the menu and wine list!

Thank you for writing that freedom of expression wares out if not used. Thank you also for developing with us the future bottle of Bad Girl 2008, Crémant de Bordeaux, unfortunately still so unknown and regulated under strict (maybe too much?) regulations. We could probably help raise it’s awareness with a PR campaign such as CAVA CATALAN or sparkling wine. At least, with a taste for partying, glitters and of course Champagne!

2) Thank you for taking the time to read my comments and take in consideration my views, even if I am not beyond reproach, I love my job and today, I am proud of my name and not the jeers it creates. The proof is with the issues I had with Bad Boy and Mauvais Garçon for the American market (in order to respect the rights of usage in this beautiful and democratic country).

3) I am dealing with tax and audit issues following the refusal from the tax office to consider our appeal. Our lawyer is planning to respond more vigorously, bring in the wine merchant’s trade union and reach out to managers from the tax office and probably public officials, etc.
I understand that taxes have to be paid, but I don’t accept that some individuals overstep their boundaries to impose certain rules!

4) Bruno Gueuning is writing about a subject, I have been talking about for a long time: « real work and speculation » and why consumers are still attracted by Bordeaux wines. The proof can be seen just looking around and I am not talking about the top 100 properties. As if you can resume France with the top 100 families!

In any case, the comments from Jean Noël Hervé from Château Moulin Haut Laroque, and neighbor of Haut Carles, as well as those from François Mauss from the Grand Jury Européen “François, I am not easily offended, but can be a bit quick-tempered, it is not the same thing!”

Thursday, February 26, 2009

In this month’s Decanter

Two big articles just came out on Decanter :

- The first on St Emilion’s classification and its various legal proceedings, promoted, demoted.

- The second on Peter Sisseck titled « THE ACCIDENTAL SUPERSTAR »

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

2008 En primeur tasting - UGCB and Biturica

UGCB’s 2008 futures tastings
Reserved to wine industry professionals and journalists :

Madam, Sir,
Please, find below the list of Chateaux hosting the next en primeur tastings organized by Bordeaux Union des Grands Crus and taking place March 31 and April 1st & 2nd 2009: The UGC tastings will be reserved for professionals.

- Château Figeac for Saint Emilion Grand Cru,
- Château La Conseillante for Pomerol,

- Château Smith Haut Lafite for Graves & Pessac-Léognan,
- Château Chasse Spleen for Médoc, Haut Médoc, Moulis & Listrac,
- Château Marquis de Terme for Margaux,
- Château Branaire-Ducru for Saint Julien, Pauillac & Saint Estèphe,
- Château Dauzac for Sauternes & Barsac.

For your information, registrations for the tastings are made on the website of the Union ( starting February 16, 2009.
We are available for any further questions or information

Best regards,

Madam, Sir

And for BITURICA’s tasting

I received the following email from Club Biturica :


The 2008 Biturica En Primeurs tasting will take place on Monday, March 30 (2 to 7pm) and Tuesday, March 31 to Thursday, April 2 (9am to 7pm).

23 wines will be presented :

The 9 Members of Association Biturica - Haut-Médoc Appellation -:

- Château D'Agassac
- Château Belle-Vue
- Château De Gironville
- Château Cambon la Pelouse
- Château Clément Pichon
- Château Mille Roses
- Château Paloumey
- Château Sénéjac
- Clos Du Jaugueyron

+ 14 Guest Stars :

- Château BelleVue De Tayac
- Château Caronne Ste Gemme
- Château Charmail
- Château Clauzet
- Château D'Escurac
- Château Fleur Peyrabon
- Château La Bessane
- Château Lilian Ladouys
- Château Maucamps
- Château Mille Roses - Margaux -
- Château Paveil de Luze
- Château Sérilhan
- Clos Manou
- L'Aura de Cambon - Margaux -

For this occasion, we will send a press release to 1000 contacts via email and 500 by post.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Label drinkers

The website buveurs d'étiquettes (in French) provides plenty of statistics, like Winemega. It is quite useful when you want to have... statistics.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Articles written by journalists we met in China have just started to come out, including Jim Boyce on the website Grape Wall of China.

Wine consumption

The past and current conditions, as well as Jean-Luc’s sales projections for the 2008 vintage based on the state of the economy keep me perplex.
Wine should be considered again as a simple consumable good as these sorts of products are not sensitive to market volatility.
Consumer goods don’t necessarily mean lesser quality of “bad” product.

In 2006, during the sale of the wines from the cellar of Paris Hotel de Ville (Town Hall), a journalist asked me what I thought about the sale.
My answer was that we were not anymore in the domain of consumer good but speculation.,,3345024,00-grands-crus-paris-sont-partis-prix-.html (in French)
At that time, many people predicted that “new” consumers were going to empty France’s wine stock without taking in consideration the hidden influence of international finance, who, in a few months, has poured billions (for in finance, anything under 9 zeros doesn’t count).
Imagine that the sales of “fine wines” in France represents 1 billion, so you can guess the size of the damage it can create. This corresponds to 400 chateaux selling 2,500,000 bottles.
On the other hand, it only represents a drop for the international financial system.
This question was brought up to Christian Moueix during a semi-private lunch in June 2007. However, the subject was hushed up for it was not in fashion at that time. The notion that a rich Russian or Asian were capable of pulling out $100 bills from their wallets to buy an exceptional bottle was commonly accepted.
I have been married to a woman from Singapore for 24 years (I often travelled to Singapore). While they certainly don’t refuse a good glass of wine, it’ll take a great deal of effort to convince them to spend considerable sums of money, representing hours of work, to drink some of the best French nectars!...
Except as a way to show-off in high society circles.

I told you Jean-Luc, that you, famous property owners, travel abroad incognito and spend time observing wine consumption. The information provided by wine merchants is biased for the allocation system favors people who tell nice stories to property owners…
I understand why; it makes them feel good about themselves and flatters their ego!

This doesn’t take away from the considerable effort made by chateaux to produce very high quality wines. However it is in the sales approach that mentalities need to change. The customer is not just a sucker. I recommend to read an article published in the Revue du Vin de France showing the cost of producing regular wines and grand crus. Clients do accept that intermediaries are allowed to earn a living for their work as long as it corresponds to a realistic margin and work accomplished (consulting, logistics, etc.)

I recently used to spend time with an epicurean, part time economist and part time professor of marketing in a university, who told me how distraught he was to learn that only a few people make good money in the wine industry (all product included) and that an Australian marketing research center is working on this issue. Even if I didn’t yet take the time to explore deeper this subject, it is obvious that the emotional part of wine is so strong that getting involved in it attracts rich retirees or financiers from every side, who want a bit if greenery or “red”… and where profitability is accessory. This disturbs the whole profession’s profitability figures. The lower price segment does generate more profit (at least for retailers) because they don’t have to deal with emotional issues as in sophisticated wines. In order to preserve the commerce of wine as well as the production sector, it is urgent to show a “reasonable” margin and that moneys earned from an activity in the wine industry corresponds to actual work done and not speculation. Offer and consumer demand as well as wine press will sort out the price issue. Today, a bank can give you a mortgage with x% interest rate and tell you that it’s margin of y% is variable depending on various criteria. One can understand Bordeaux market or any other form of distribution, however they will never accept a lack of clarity in the way it operates. Your blog does help to clarify, even if we don’t share the same view but it should, from time to time, raise pertinent questions.

Don’t worry, Bordeaux consumers will always exist, they love the sort of wines that only Bordeaux can produce, but please, have a bit of respect for the end customer.
At the end of the day and in a few years, the whole industry will be the winner. Even though the same game comes back every 5-7 years, consumers thrive for more consistence regarding distribution.

Monday, February 16, 2009


I just spent last week with Jean-Luc and Murielle in Shanghais to launch Bad Boy and visit our clients. I had a great time. They are a powerful couple: with a mix of tenderness, humor, energy and professionalism. A real driver for the next few months.

Between various press meetings, we went to a tasting at Shanghai’s Park Hyatt with Jean-Marc Nolant (Sommelier from the Park Hyatt), Vincent Landais (sommelier from French Touch International), Jean-Luc, Murielle and I.

The Park Hyatt is beautiful, 495 meters high (1624 ft). A mix of luxury with pure lines, plain, modern and the use of noble materials with a beautiful view of Shanghai.
It is currently the highest restaurant in the world with one of the best wine lists in China. No Chateau Valandraud at this time but this will change soon.

My favorites these past few days:
The unavoidable : Château de Valandraud 1999
My special Selection : A nos amours blanc , 2005, 100% muscadelle
Florie Deswaziere

Friday, February 13, 2009

Saint Emilion doesn’t know the crisis

Construction and repair work, renovations, painting… The whole village looks like a construction site: We must hurry before the tourist start arriving in the Spring.
A few houses for sale are left, needing renovation. It will bring welcome work to local artisans in these uncertain times!
Even at my place, the façade of Valandraud’s garage is getting a facelift and the painter will get busy this Summer. The question is: which color? Rosemary green or bronze ?

I just hired 2 people : 1 to take care of the store (Carlos wants to try working for the wholesale business and will do promotions with our clients and prospect in Brazil, Portugal, etc…)
The other hire will be responsible for sales and marketing for Vignobles Fayat, Château de Carles and a bit Château Fleur Cardinale.
We are receiving orders everyday, mainly for wines between 5 and 20 Euros, but also for a few expensive wines. The only problem is that some of our good clients are paying late, but it should soon get back in order.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Beautiful book

I recently received a book from the brokerage firm Les Grands Crus.
This beautiful and useful book is entitled “10 years of history of the classified Growths market in Bordeaux”. It contains articles and information regarding our business.
Can the past help predict the future?... Again this obsession with time!

Only 800 copies of this book were printed. It is intended for companies working in Bordeaux marketplace (mine is numbered 248).
It contains a few portraits, numbers and great contributions from Marie Chauvin, Jean Michel Cazes or Stephen Browett to list only 3 (and I should ad the participation of Mme Caroline Decoster).

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wines we drank

We drank during the same meal :
With desert, a very good Chiroulet Vent d’ Hiver 2007, sweet wine light and pure, made with Petit Manseng – produced by the Fezas family,
Meursault Vieilles Vignes 2006 from Buisson Charles, drank not too cold (17°C/63°F ?) delicious and sold for a good price – served with Caviar
Château La Conseillante 2006, the work done for this cru gives this wine its depth without taking away the finesse of this great Pomerol. We enjoyed every drop of it served with a Lapin aux échalottes (rabbit with shallots).
Le Pin 2002 served with cheese. Seemed a bit closed.
Abadia Retuerta 1996 was not drinkable as aperitif: acid and green… How can this be possible?

The next day, for my mother-in-law’s birthday
Puligny Montrachet 1er cru Clos de la Mouchère 99 from Jean Boillot, enjoyed by all of us and served with langoustines cook in a new way by Murielle. As my father-in-law said: “I almost ate the shell”.
Les Dentelles 2002 from Calvet-Thunevin 2002. A bit too much sun, port like, probably served not cold enough… And I always tell my friends “drink these wines from the south cold!”
Morlanda 2006, white Priorat: 85% Grenache Blanc, 15 % Macabeu – correct
We finished with the latest project from my collaboration with Clément Fayat : Domaine Fayat-Thunevin 2006 Pomerol, very good, easy to drink – served with roast beef.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Taxes... where the state does the opposite of what they write ....

Yesterday, Lionel talked about the 100 years anniversary of Libourne’s wholesaler trade union. This 100 years old looks good: this small trade union is close to a bigger one representing Bordeaux. These trade unions defend our interests and lots of energy will be needed to defend our profession in these difficult times and as the tax revenue service even ads more on top…

For example: my company had to take a well known tax advisor (therefore expensive) to defend our contingency system to protect us when prices increase. The reason being that, contrary to what the president and his finance minister have said, the administration has for mandate to change the rules concerning fiscal contingencies wine merchant currently use and which help them delay taxes on benefits in order to preserve capital for a specific time.

In short, the administration seems to feel that the rules of calculation are too vague; instead of rewriting tem and then controlling them, it prefers challenging the current ones, in line with today’s principle and now wants to focus on each vintage. In other words, it would take away from wine merchants the benefits this system gives them!

The principle : « no one can take advantage of its own turpitude » shouldn’t it also be applicable to the state when it concerns taxes…

The tax payment is only delayed, but this cash is useful in times of recession, when our suppliers need to be paid faster and our foreign client request longer terms of payment, especially for export company like ours. These changing rules should not be applied to my company who gets regularly audited. But that’s the way it goes: “we know that you are serious, but too bad, we have orders”.

Too bad for me, I will need to spend more time and money to defend my operation, even though I am hiring and have no intention to lower salaries or relocate.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The 100 years anniversary of the Syndicat des Négociants du Libournais


Below, a few pictures and the menu of the 100 year anniversary of Libourne’s wine merchant’s trade union.

Jean-Luc asked me to write this comment on his blog, but I feel that my palate is not as good as his and as I would say, freedom of expression wears out if not used…
Would it be politically incorrect to write that the dose of disgorging liquor for this Bollinger was out of balance for the finish had too much “honey” flavor!
This introduction out of the way, it is especially important to point out that the trade union survived 2 wars and a big and real crisis. The one from 1929 didn’t spare the poorest people. The current one, despite the pessimism, will clean up the economical system which definitely needs it. In addition, only France feel’s this guilt about its wines, while subsidizing handsomely the anti-alcohol lobby. Isn’t it a cultural product which we should be proud of ?! Lets give Professor Got the complete collection of Baudelaire’s work… Finally, despite that time for wishes is over, I have one more : that the people in charge of writing the new guidelines for the 450 AOC, which still don’t exist, remember the complexity of our terroirs, climates and varietals where Cheval Blanc 2001 was the only one expressing it fully. Can they be persuaded!

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Here is the comment Jorge Astiz posted last Friday on my blog

Heard on radio Rètges : Tue Le Vin (kill the wine)
By a big winery owner, also in size.

Make “thune” (colloquial for money) with wine, funny no ?

I didn’t like my name when I was a kid, but I like it now. Even if it lends itself to puns, Parker already reported some of the plays with my name he heard like: “Tue le Vin” (kills wine), probably because the wines I make are supposed to be too concentrated, too easy, mostly made for the American palate, the Russians and the Chinese, and not enough for educated connoisseurs who understand terroir, bla, bla, bla…
All of this makes me forget “Tu ne viens or Tu ne viens pas” (Are you coming or not) used by some of my teachers in school (that’s why I sat next to the radiator) or even “gagne-pain” (earning) from a client at Crédit Agricole bank where I worked. Without forgetting the pretty “turne à vin” from my friend Francis Gaboriaud. What about you Jorge, which pun was invented to make fun of you?

On another subject, I prepared this little text just in case…
Pseudo schmuck: to paraphrase Michel Bettane, when readers of my blog don’t agree with me, don’t share my opinion and my taste, why don’t they sign their real name? Using a pseudo name to hide shows their lack of self-esteem. We are in France, the land of democracy (yes, yes), and the internet allows incredible freedom, even making jokes on my blog, being (a bit) aggressive, mocking, etc… So what? If I fell I go out of bounds, nothing prevents me from erasing it. Which I haven’t yet needed to do.

2008 Bordeaux and the en primeur campaign

I was already able to taste Phelan Ségur, Clément Pichon and of course Bellevue de Tayac, Marojallia, but I can’t wait to see my friends from the Left Bank and taste their 2008. Even if the en primeur campaign is meant for work, I am also doing it for curiosity and pleasure.

Will we experience the same surprises for the Left Bank than the Right Bank?
If I believe the consultants and “radio brokers”, there are some pretty good wines! I know that, without even having tasted them, Pontet Canet and La Tour Carnet were very very good!
Will there be the same impression of sweetness, softness lightly acid, aromas that I experienced in some 2005 and 1998?
Will the sensations of too “sexy” or too “exotic” will arouse the same wars between classic and modern?
Will we get again the same stupid remarks stating that what is good today won’t be tomorrow? Knowing that for this 2008 vintage, pHs and acidity levels were technically superb, with sensations of mandarin flavored candy, violets, raisins and vine leaves… You probably guessed that I am starting to say that there will be some great wines in 2008. My mouth is already watering at the prospect of tasting Lagrange, Talbot, Ducru Beaucaillou and all his range, Léoville Poyferré, Giscours, Le Tertre, Fieuzal, Haut Marbuzet, Lafon Rochet, Pape Clément, Lynch Bages, Malartic Lagravière, Maucaillou, Pichon Baron , Smith Haut Lafitte, and, of course, all the wines from Mouton Rothschild.
All these wines, including those I might have forgotten, that we sell as futures every year and that I will have the pleasure to buy and sell this year, if all goes well.

What sorts of positive things are going to take place?
- That this vintage gets good reviews from the media and the profession
- That release prices be realistic and pragmatic
- That our clients are open to payment terms, and price changes
- That the financial crisis and its effects are behind us.

What about negative things?
- That the economic crisis contradicts journalists. That’s not too serious as quality always stands out (as in 2001 or even in 2004)
- That release prices are too high and that the properties lower their prices after one or two years. This would damage confidence. It already happened in the past with Vignobles Fayat and others and is simply not proper and hard to forget!
- That our clients don’t have the means or the will to defend our wines. It is our responsibility, as wine merchant, to make good offers and support. we need to go from “I can provide you this wine” to “I want to sell you this wine”. It is not the same thing.
- That the crisis carries on. Then, there’s trouble!

Conclusion: Without being too pessimists, the price set by the property will still be too expensive, wine merchant won’t have enough money, and our professional clients will be the determining factor! Consumers will probably have the opportunity to see again fine wines available at a good price. But will it be as futures or during wine promotion campaigns? It is quite possible that it will be at the time of deliveries.

Should we be obsessed by the prices from the past, 2006, 2007 even 2005 inventories or just forget about the past and consider that we are entering a new “economy” era?

All these thoughts will make us react a certain way – like my colleagues : don’t be too pessimistic, nor blind, review our positioning, price, distribution. For me, I already started with my new distribution strategy for Valandraud and my wines, using the sales force of my negoce business, my 15 sales reps (yes) and synergies with my colleagues wine merchants in Bordeaux, for out of 400 companies, there will certainly be some interested in my wines for specific sectors or countries we are not selling well or even present.
Brokers are also changing their tune from “I can fulfill your request” to “I can probably find some wine to complement your portfolio or even sell exclusively a few Thunevin wines in specific country, etc…”

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Wednesday morning I had a meeting on the restoration site of the house we’re turning into a cellar, rue Vergnaud – next to the historical garage of Valandraud.
The actual garage must be from the 14th or 15th Century and the house’s façade from 1850. The other side of the street is also from the 14th or 15th Century with its crumbling mullioned windows. The garage and its dependencies will be beautiful once the painters finish.

I had several visits at the same time in the afternoon, I missed Franck and his Japanese guests from Fukuoka, but I was able to be there with Laurent for our American visitors who distribute 3 de Valandraud and Chateau Lafont Fourcat in New York. Nice, Francophile and passionate, they were accompanied by 2 customers including a sommelier and another person I don’t remember where from. He would like to distribute Valandraud in New York. Why not? To be continued. In any case, the decision will be taken in April-May.
The other group accompanying Miguel Lecuona included a beautiful Korean woman, an American and Marie Vayron, who’s parent own Chateau Bourgneuf Vayron in Pomerol, next to the property bought by Clément Fayat and myself. Every one was interested in wine and, of course, marketing… Time goes by too fast. Every time I talk about parts of my story, I jump from one thing to the other. It must be hard to make sense of what I say. As if it was urgent and the end of the world was close!
Photos :Miguel Lecuona

Other than that, Miguel gave me the opinion of the manager of a famous cru, friend of ours and that we respect, which I found somewhat strange and even stupid – it was probably a slip, a lack of experience, or maybe a preconceived notion…
If I understood correctly: “malolactics in barrels erase the notion of terroir” (so we are aginst it).
Michel Bettane help! Michel Rolland help! Robert Parker help ! The Burgundians have it all wrong !
Jokes aside, professionals like Denis Dubourdieu simply say that 12 months after the malolactics, there is no difference between malolatics in barrel or tanks.
As far as we’re concerned, we favor this complicated method, a bit dangerous for risks of bretts, and there are those against. Still, both methods can produce good wines; no critics nor professionals can tell when tasted blind if the malos have been taking place in barrels or not. Already, it is difficult to say Right Bank/Left Bank, even worst: California/Bordeaux. So which method is best “malolactics erase the terroir”?
As I get older, I am not as sure of myself and more tolerant, me the bad boy… It is true that I have a lot to be forgiven for.

The notes from the Wine Spectator are slowly coming out. Valandraud 2006 was not badly rated : 92. I will write about it later. We drank Champaign in L’Essentiel.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

En primeur tasting

Le Cercle Rive Droite (the Right Bank Circle) will organize the 2008 tasting for its members at Château Grand Barrail in Saint Emilion

L’Alliance des Crus Bourgeois will present its 2008 in Château Clément PichonQuant à nous :

2008 EN PRIMEURS TASTING - from MARCH 30 to APRIL 04, 2009

Preliminary list- Tasting in Château La Dominique à Saint Emilion
(Château La Dominique is located between Château Cheval Blanc, Château Jean Faure, Château Vieux Fortin, Château l’Evangile and Château La Conseillante)
Time : 9:30 am – 6:30 pm

· Jean-Luc Thunevin & Murielle Andraud’s properties
2008 Château Valandraud - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2008 Virginie de Valandraud - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2008 3 de Valandraud - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2008 Clos Badon-Thunevin - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2008 Château Bel Air Ouÿ - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2008 Château Prieuré Lescours - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2008 Blanc de Valandraud N°1 - Bordeaux blanc
2008 Blanc de Valandraud N°2 - Bordeaux blanc
2008 Château Bellevue de Tayac - Margaux
2008 Le Clos du Beau Père - Pomerol
2008 Domaine des Sabines - Lalande de Pomerol
2008 Domaine Virginie Thunevin - Bordeaux
(propriété personnelle de Virginie Thunevin)

. Partnership with Jean Roger & Marie Calvet :
2008 Domaine Thunevin-Calvet « Les Trois Marie » -Côtes du Roussillon Villages
2008 Domaine Thunevin-Calvet « Hugo » -Côtes du Roussillon Villages
2008 Domaine Thunevin-Calvet « Les Dentelles » - Côtes du Roussillon Villages
2008 Thunevin-Calvet “Constance” - Côtes du Roussillon
2008 Domaine Thunevin-Calvet - Maury

. Partnership with Clément Fayat :
2008 Domaine Fayat-Thunevin (ex Vieux Chateau Bourgneuf) - Pomerol
2008 Domaine Fayat-Thunevin - Lalande de Pomerol

· Wines selected and exclusively selected by Ets. Thunevin
2008 Bad Boy - Mauvais Garçon - Bordeaux red
2008 Presidial Thunevin - Bordeaux red & white
2008 Château Franc Maillet- Cuvée Jean Baptiste - Pomerol
2008 Château Lafont Fourcat & A nos Amours - Bordeaux red & white
2008 Château Subilaux - Bordeaux red
2008 Clos del Rey - Côtes du Roussillon
2008 Baby del Rey - Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes

· Jean-Luc Thunevin consultant ou gérant
2008 Château Fleur Cardinale - Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé
2008 Château La Dominique - Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé
2008 Château Clément Pichon - Haut Médoc Cru Bourgeois Supérieur
2008 Château Prieurs de La Commanderie - Pomerol
2008 Château La Commanderie de Mazeyres - Pomerol
2008 Marojallia et Clos Margalaine - Margaux
2008 Château de Carles et Haut Carles - Fronsac
2008 Château Haut Mazeris - Canon Fronsac & Fronsac

· Et les vins de nos amis

2008 Château Croix de Labrie - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2008 Gracia et Angelots de Garcia - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2008 Château Villhardy et Maro de Saint Amant - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2008 Château La Croix Figeac - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2008 Lynsolence et Chateau Les Gravières - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2008 Château Petit Gravet Ainé & Clos Saint Julien - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
2008 Château Beau Soleil - Pomerol
2008 Château Le Gay - Pomerol
2008 Le Plus de La Fleur de Boüard - Lalande de Pomerol
2008 Château La Dauphine - Fronsac
2008 Château Thénac - Bergerac red & white
2008 Le Grand A d’Arguti - Vin de Pays de Côtes Catalanes
2008 Domaine Eternel - Côtes du Roussillon Villages
2008 Domaine Chiroulet Grande Réserve - VDP de Gascogne
2008 La Regalona - Cabardes
2008 Domaine de l’Oustal Blanc - Minervois

2008 Château Sénéjac - Haut Médoc
2008 Château Belle Vue - Haut Médoc
2008 Château de Gironville - Haut Médoc
2008 Château Paloumey - Haut Médoc
2008 Clos du Jaugueyron - Haut Médoc
2008 Château Mille Roses - Haut Médoc
2008 Château Cambon La Pelouse - Haut Médoc
2008 Château d’Agassac - Haut Médoc

2008 Vignobles Bernard Magrez - Bordeaux
2008 Pingus - Spain
2008 Quinta Sardonia - Spain
2008 Tenuta di Trinoro - Italy


I don’t get tired of it

Last Sunday morning at the break of dawn, the birds were already announcing Spring. The nice weather these past days and the fact that no body was in the streets, nor cars, made Saint Emilion seem that it was lost in time. The few roosters in the village were replying to those in Château Troplong Mondot and my dog Max trying to run after rabbits. I still don’t get tired of this town and every day, I appreciate the beauty and chance to settle here in 1994, already…

Good news: Thanks to Christian Dalbavie and Joëlle Bordy, our American colleague and his lawyers for reaching this agreement promptly and avoid lawyers and legal proceedings.
I probably made more concessions than the other party, but the unfortunate experience of having lost a legal battle even though I should have won made me sign 3 agreements concerning trademarks. Even if I believed that the outcome was unjust each time. The energy, money, stress saved are worth making concessions. I believe that it is not the name that makes its notoriety but the quality of the wine and its signature.

I received a copy of the magazine from the Conseil des Vins de Saint Emilion (St Emilion wines council): it talks about futures events celebrating the 10th anniversary of Saint Emilion’s induction in UNESCO’s world heritage.
Andreas Larsson (Best sommelier in the world) includes Virginie de Valandraud and Fleur Cardinale in his special selection.
Also, an article on blending including comments from Michel Rolland, myself, etc… on the village streets and the 2007 vintage.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

LCI Radio, suite

Some of the wines listed as good and not expensive by Thierry Desseauve were : Lousteauneuf in Médoc, Chantegrive red and white in Graves and La Dauphine in Fronsac. Vive Desseauve

Irrational ?
Regarding expensive wines, they can be compared to other things. You can say that they lost 50% of their value since the crisis, even are sold for less than their release price, but when they cost more than 50 Euros, it is still a lot of money for the average person.
It is important to understand that even if the prices for fine wine has dropped, there will still not be enough for all these rich people interested in wine – either to show off, for the taste or for speculation.

These wines will never be sold in retail for less than 50 Euros – Lets not dream, but instead find pleasure in the multitude of quality wine available everywhere today and serve them with the same “ritual” apparently used for famous grands crus: nice glasses, right temperature. A bit of “show” doesn’t spoil the pleasure, same with meals or humane relations. The form is not used to forget the core, but instead transcend it.

A blunder ?

Thursday, I was interviewed by LCI radio along with Angélique de Lencquesaing (Idealwine) and Thierry Desseauve to talk about expensive wines but also accessible ones.

I also had meetings with lawyers, Air France, dealt with visas formalities, had a visit from our faithful Japanese client, etc…

Alliance des Crus Bourgeois: We are finally seeing the end of the tunnel for Medoc’s “crus bourgeois” name, thanks to the conciliatory spirit, lacking in other places.

Christian Dalbavie left for the USA (Texas). He hooked up with Laurent Barbier for coffee who just finished his UGC tour for Chateau La Dominique.

A young woman who just retired from the wine merchant business, confirmed that there is a life after work. Ok, but probably not everyone has the talent to step back, like a friend of mine who is also getting ready to leave. Time passing is for me synonym with dead-end

I spoke to 4 Bordeaux brokers on the phone – one regarding Clément Pichon and an offer for an airline, another regarding Valandraud where my wholesale business is not working, another to tell me the pleasure he had tasting a few wines with one of his clients négociant who is interested in distributing my wines in a country we are not present…
And I have more than 12 sales reps in my company.

The last, a friend (in fact, it is possible to be friends with a broker ), told me how unhappy he was about my intention to change Valandraud’s distribution system announced on my blog. It’s true that it might feel strange, but I have been thinking about this new distribution system for months and spoke freely about it to everyone. It is true that if a friend of mine tells me that he is not happy, he has a good reason.
What can I do so my business transactions and sales puts every one in Bordeaux on the same level? When other brokers or wine merchant came to see me, anticipating and even proposing, or even better signing serious deals for Valandraud, Virginie de Valandraud and even 3 de Valandraud, even better for my wines from the Roussillon “Thunevin-Calvet” and some others were not even aware!

The “blunder” made on my blog helped us save time, time we all have before the 2008 en primeur campaign to plan our choices. In fact, nothing will happen before April-May.
Currently, we are contacting all our clients who regularly buy Valandraud (or Virginie) to see if they are interested in distributing Valandraud (or Virginie, etc.). We are also working with them to define sales networks in advance in order to avoid the kind of mess we are currently experiencing: ie. prices for some seconds are being offered below the release price and this is not all! (And I don’t say everything!)

Perhaps the form is surprising, but my method still leaves time for every one, brokers and Bordeaux wine merchants, to touch base with me to discuss the distribution of my wines.
I think that even my friends broker have forgotten the way I was excluded from the distribution of 2 famous wines when they reviewed the distribution system. It was not elegant, especially as it was for an important vintage in demand.
Changing my system doesn’t mean excluding and certainly not question work already been done, but merely trying to improve my distribution (for me and my clients), even if it isn’t easy.

Thursday evening, I drank with our Japanese friends: Clos du Beau Père 2006 which is better and better, and especially a very good Cheval Blanc 2001, which we drank with pleasure to the last drop. 2001 was such a good year. I admit that in that case, I appreciate the term Bordeaux “classic”!