Friday, January 29, 2010

Bettane & Desseauve

Following Thierry Desseauve’s visit, who came to re-taste our bottled 2007 and 2008 pre-bottling for « Le Grand Guide des Vins de France », it was the opportunity for the whole Saint Emilion sales team to taste and comment these wines.

Unanimously, Clos du Beau Père 2008 stood out being so delicious, soft, almost like 2009. We enjoyed drinking this wine so much that I drank it for dinner with Murielle the same day…
Also chosen by my team Blanc N° 1 « Murielle » 2008 and Clos Badon. For me La Dominique 2008, which we drank the next with our meal : old roses, heavy and warm, caramel and power, rare in this part of Saint Emilion. A success… I could have told you, actually I can prove it having bought a large amount of cases en primeur for my wholesale business.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Futures tasting

A club with no name

Yesterday evening we had the first meeting of our group at the Château de Pressac (10 people). We didn’t yet find a name for this association, despite all the proposals I received on my blog as well as exchanges of ideas, but we did spend a bit more time to think about it and this, thanks to the friendly participation of Rodolphe Wartel, associate director for the magazine Terre de Vins (Thanks).

In fact :
We forget Saint Etienne de Lisse, Saint Emilion being our strongest link.
Therefore, we try to use Saint Emilion/ Grand Cru/ our geographic proximity, the quality and beauty of our hilly terroirs / our differences / the difficulties to bring our customers, press in this sector, East of Saint Emilion (8 km, 5 m).
The number 5 which could be brought down to 4 or increased to 6 ?
Transform of our differences an argument, make the link with our terroir, the quality of our wines, etc…
With what funds ? we already planned on a budget (50 to 100 00 Euros). Where spend it ? When ? in which media ? the wine press, culinary, lifestyle, people, internet / paper / TV /visio / trade shows / agro tourism .
We have plenty to work on, but how to put it in place ? (I proposed Grand Cru & Cie)

In the meantime, this group will be presented at my place in Saint Emilion during the futures campaign, from March 29 to April 2 included.

10 female winemaker from Castillon show their assets at the Assemblée Nationale

On February 2, 10 female winemakers from the appellation Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux will present their wines to the members of the French National Assembly.
Last November 6, Anne-Marie Galineau organized a tasting of wines from Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux with 10 female winmakers from this appellation, in her wine shop-restaurant Le Comptoir de Genès in Saint Gènes de Castillon. Attendants were charmed by these charming wines with character – and their amazing value for money – as well as these dynamic and modern women who created them. Amongst the participants, Jean-Paul Garraud, member of parliament for the district of Libourne, enjoyed his time so much that immediately invited these “energetic women, proud of their work” to come to the Assemblée Nationale (French Parliament) to present their wines. In such time of crisis, especially in Bordeaux wine industry, it is worth praising this unusual initiative showcasing the dynamism of women!

Meeting noted for Tuesday, February 2 février 2010 at 7pm, in the reception room of the Assemblée Nationale, in the Hôtel de Lassay.

Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux appellation
Situation : located at 45 km (almost 28 m) from Bordeaux, bordering in the West by parcels from its prestigious neighbour Saint-Emilion – Some properties are actually « straddling » both appellations – North with Francs Côtes de Bordeaux appellation, South by the river Dordogne and East by the Dordogne department. Area : 3 000 hectares (7413 acres) Average size of the domains : around 8 hectares (19.77 acres) Winemakers : 360 Average production per year : 160 000 hectolitres (4,226,752.59 US gal) – red exclusively Varietals : Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon

Wines presented
Blanc de Valandraud - 2006 from Murielle Andraud-Thunevin 2. Château d’Aiguilhe-Querre - 2002 from Gaëtane Querre 3. Château La Rose du Moulin - 2007 from Marie-Hélène Ortolan 4. Château Peyrou - 2006 from Catherine Papon 5. Château Filliol - 2006 from Sandrine Ferrer 6. Domaine de l’A - 2006 from Christine Derenoncour 7. Château La Rose Poncet – 2003 from Elisabeth Rousseau 8. Château de Laussac - 2004 from Alexandra Robin 9. Château Lapeyronie- 2004 from Hélène Thibaut 10. Ugo Maury - 2004 from Marie-Christine Arguti

PR Contact : Agence Cap & Cime
Jennifer Potts
+33 (0)1 55 35 08 16 Adeline

+33 (0)1 55 35 08 14

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


One of our good accounts, the French retail chain Vin et Bière, organized a trip for a group of 20 employees and franchises of the company.

They arrived at L’Essentiel at 10 am and tasted a few wines including Sabines 2006 and Clos du Beau Père 2006. It’s an old story between these crus and I: V&B’s boss knew everything about this property, long before Murielle and I bought it in 2006.

Following, visit of Valandraud in Saint Etienne de Lisse and for me the opportunity to present Fleur Cardinale, Rol Valentin, Pressac and Faugères.
Quick visit of the cellar and vineyards, then lunch with couscous prepared at the château when receiving a large group, otherwise, Murielle would prepare the meal at home in Saint Emilion. A great couscous I enjoyed selfishly as I am pied-noir (born in Algeria). I bring up every time I can my origins and being Garagist in the world of wine in Saint Emilion.

Dentelles 2004, which worked well with this spicy dish, Clos Badon 2004 which was opening up and especially Bad Boy 2007 which was remarkably soft. This gave me the opportunity to talk about Bad Boy 2005 and 2006 which are powerful and massive, made to cellar. I noticed that clients drank this wine young and therefore, I had to adapt and make a Bad Boy for consumers in a hurry.
So, 2007 is soft, sexy, tempting, made to please. In my book, it is not a bad word; it reminds me this TV program where the successful writer Marc Lévy (born in 1961 !) said, with humor, his way of looking at life, his success, critics of the French intelligentsia (especially left field) and his desire to be a successful author today instead of waiting, as his mother would say, for pigeons to poop on his statue.

And Valandraud 1999 marked the event.

After this meal at Valandraud, we went to Château La Dominique. The construction done at Cheval Blanc, the neighbor of Château La Dominique, is starting to show. It so nice to be so close.
Visit of our cellar and tasting of Commanderie de Mazeyres 2001 and 2007, then La Dominique 2007 and for the first time, 2 samples of La Dominique 2009, one still in the vat, the other from the barrel. 2009 is, as I already wrote, unquestionably the best wine of all time at this chateau and will surpass the remarkable 1989. Even our enologist consultant finds it great, goes to say!

After this young and friendly group, tasting at the house in Saint Emilion of Blancs de Valandraud : vertical from 2003 to 2009, already 7 vintages produced and still plenty of questions. I’ll wait for Philippe’s report to develop.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Birthdays and modernity

Birthdays are excuses to enjoy a good time with friends around a good meal and wines.

With some delay, since it was January 17th, we celebrated Florence’s birthday at home with a dinner for 6 prepared by Murielle:
Lamelles de truffes en toast (Slices truffles on toasts)
Pata negra
Lapin cuit à la cocotte avec pommes de terre et échalottes (Rabbit cooked in the pot with potatoes and shallots)
Vieux comté (old comte cheese)
Gâteau à la noix de coco maison (Homemade coconut cake)

For the wines (we enjoy young wines) :
Bon Pasteur 2005, still too young for this vintage which will regularly be compared to 2009 (and yet, they are not comparable)
Haut Brion 2004, complete, full of aromatics, why can’t we drink it more often ? That’s the question.
Pavie 2003 : we loved this bottle, true that its modern style of big Grenache from Roussillon may shock traditionalists, but for us it was all good and I must say that, for me, it was the best bottle. The atmosphere, the moment and the wine, there’s nothing better.
Following, Valandraud 2003 seemed to be too fresh, too Bordeaux, for me. My guests actually enjoyed this wine but all these wines were not tasted blind. It would be nice to do this again, this time with the labels hidden.

We finished with the always good Maury 2004 from our partnership in the Roussillon : Calvet-Thunevin, and where we are fortunate to have a beautiful cellar which you can’t miss. This is the only comment we got from the Journalist Jean-Emmanuel Simond in the last issue of Revue du Vin de France in the 9 page article dedicated on the Vallée de l’Agly in the Roussillon. In the same vein, the documentary directed by Sophie de Salettes on Cabardès only found 3 cellars… Poor thing, she must have done this piece at night?
It's a shame to finally devote pages on these 2 regions and have such limited information or being sectarian?

Friday, January 22, 2010


Below are some articles published between November and December 2009 in the Japanese media. I just want to thank my Japanese friends and show that Valandraud-Thunevin and Japan, has been a love story for more 15 years ... and if the garage Valandraud has become a Cinderella Wine and a cult wine, it is thanks to these media, journalists, retailers, restaurants, wine bars and customers I visit each year, once or twice a year, between promotional tours, contacts in Tokyo, Osaka, etc ....
And in the last years, the futures tastings organized at my recommendation with 2 colleagues and Bordeaux wine merchants as well as chateaux agreeing to be represented, have created a trend and helped us becoming an important brand.

Storytelling, game

"Il ne faut pas être un original et il faut pourtant être original " (Edmond Goblot) - Better not be an eccentric, still be original.

I read this saying in Pierre Marie C. theses. The following words also drew my attention :
Enfant terrible strategy
Eugenics (from a caste, one must pay attention to words)
Comfortable situation
And others that I did not understand even using Google translator!

I think about that because Wednesday at noon, I invited Lionel to eat at home, a friend who likes my wine, and who’s life seems to be somewhat different for a bourgeois: professional poker player and other games in his youth and maybe still today ...
You just need to be open available to meet amazing and different people. This is possible in the wine world (for whoever wishes it)
Vitisphère announced a future event (in French) for the “Ladies of Castillon”,


Following a “compète” (power) lunch, with 2007 Blanc de Valandraud No. 1, 2004 Val de Flores (Argentina) red and 2003 Fleur Cardinale, both great, we went to Carles to tast a few batches of 2009 which were quite good – as those who are already familiar with this property can imagine.
Richness, purity, power, a Syrah type of nose, rare in Bordeaux, violets, beautiful Merlot and Malbec making you want to plant some. Certainly the best ever made in this property. It will not be the only one claiming this success with 2009 in Bordeaux. Before, tasting at Haut Mazeris where there too, while in a different way, less sophisticated, the batches are beautiful. Actually some have not yet completed their fermentation, a few grams still remaining and purchase of a few additional new barrels.
The handicap this wine has, like the other one, is not to be in Pomerol or St. Emilion. In any case, as far as Haut Mazeris is concerned, it is on the list of 3 great Parisian restaurants including L’Atelier and La Table of Robuchon, and of course Apicius, and also through us, Haut Mazeris, Carles and Haut Carles are on the list at Ledoyen, one of my favorite restaurants with Tan Dinh.

There is so much work to be done to publicize these 2 great wines from Bordeaux Fronsac !

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

ISO 9001 & 14001 norms

Clotilde Tamisier and I had our 1st appointment yesterday with a consultant who has been auditing us all week and monitor the work undertaken since 2007. He will tell us what doesn’t work and especially identify areas for improvement.
Choosing to integrate these ISO standards during the economic crisis certainly does not make it easy, but today’s constraints will make life easier tomorrow. What is certain is that in our industry, some still work as in the dark ages and others already operate under the strictest industry standards. Report on all this on Friday.
Each area manager, wholesale-vineyards-cellars will know if they worked well, knowing that as soon as you start this kind of process, it becomes permanent, and anyway, I wanted to apply the ISO 14000 norms for quite a long time in the environment (and for those who work there!)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Valandraud 2001 - Sabines 2006

Following François Mauss tasting with his friends at Restaurant Laurent in Paris where he rediscovered Valandraud 2001, I decided, this weekend, to open a bottle to check how the 2001 evolved.
In fact, I always preferred 2001 over 2000 (and this also for many other wines), for this wine was very expressive the few years following bottling, in 2003 and 2004, then it closed up like an oyster. Austere, mute, hard, oaky, so I put it aside, focusing more on 1995-1999 and especially 1998.
Well, I certainly will open regularly bottles of 2001 which is now softer, fuller, with caramel and chocolate flavors similar to fine Grenache and aromas of warm blackberry and vanilla jam.
After a period of austerity, it has become sexy. Finally.

More about tasting. Following the visit of 2 American importers who tasted and chose 4 product from our portfolio, Xavier told me that they really liked Sabines 2006. I tasted the opened bottle with my meal and can tell you that it won’t have any problems to please. The price of our Lalande de Pomerol 2006 Domaine des Sabines will be a sure value from this heterogeneous appellation.
(27.50 Euros TTC on ThunevinOnline)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Off it goes again

Nice bottles were sold these days :
1 magnum Petrus 1947 (I won’t tell you the price !)
1 nice bottle of Yquem 1940 to celebrate a birthday and plenty of Bad Boy 2007 and 2006, and this, thanks to an article published in Le Monde and the unconventional design of the label.

Tastings, more...

Wine Spectator again
Bordeaux 2007, good notes for Troplong Mondot, La Mondotte, Magrez Fombrauge, Fleur Morange, Grand Corbin, Cheval Blanc, etc…

Wild boar
A boar was hit by Laurent’s car and fled (hit and run) without waiting to sign the insurance statement.
Result: a charge for the company for a car with all-risk insurance coverage?! If the same boar eats my grapes, hunting associations will reimburse my grapes. In our area, hunters have to pay to be able to hunt and incidentally, planting areas with corn feed, only increases the proliferation of reckless wild boars!

Alan Duran from Periodic Review of Bordeaux Wine
As every year, he came to our office to taste our wines. What a job! You must have faith. He tasted and noted the 2007 and 2008 vintages of Valandraud, Virginie de Valandraud and Franc Maillet Cuvée Jean Baptiste

Servais in Libourne
I drank in this good restaurant in Libourne “Chez Servais”, Château de Lussac 2004, superb power, maturity and finesse (29 euros ?!)
It is hard in Libourne selling bottle for more than 20 Euros. This bottle on the table is an incredibly good value.

La Dominique 2009
I tasted batches after malolactic, and sulfite added, in a period considered to be difficult. I could not spit. It reminded me tastings I did on a regular basis when Pierre Lurton arrived at Cheval Blanc. I could not spit Cheval Blanc 1990 tasted from the barrel .... I sound like a veteran, I know, but it’s to give an idea of the pleasure brought by the 2009 of Château La Dominique. In the same vein, I rediscovered an almost forgotten pleasure to taste “little Bordeaux”, Cotes de Bourg and other wines purchased for my business to make special bottles, large batches of inexpensive wines whose quality is amazing!
See you soon at the futures campaign.

Bad temper

François Mauss wants me to believe that he has to be “cautious” when saying good things about Valandraud because of my “bad” temper ; and this seems true when I read his last comments posted on the blog of the Grand Jury Europeen or during his last dinner in the famous restaurant Laurent in Paris, where the wines were tasted blind and Valandraud surprised by its finesse, structure, complexity and softness.

Don’t exaggerate Mister François Mauss!

Oh yes, I have 2 things to ad : I have to preserve my reputation and over the years it becomes harder and harder! Why are you surprised, especially you who, almost every time with the Grand Jury Européen, place Valandraud at the top, I also believe that if we compiled an average of all your tastings, Valandraud would be ranked in the top 5?
In fact, the strength of the image conveyed (garage wine requires ...) by Valandraud which, young, is often closed, clumsy, but if drank at the right temperature and decanted if too young, drunk after about 10 years, rarely disappoints, at least blind. So thank you for your tastings to help me again and again confirm the status of the Valandraud to evil minds and other miscreants.
The 2nd point is, which vintage Valandraud was drunk? because the photo is not sharp enough to identify the year even though I know this is a wine prior to 2003. Afraid to be 2001?
Thank you Francois, I am still not jaded by your compliments.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ad agency

Bernadette Vizioz writes on my blog 'I love, I love my Jean Luc ...».
Bernadette watch out, Murielle reads my blog and perhaps also the advertising agency for J'adore Dior!

In any case, you're right, why not think about organizing different events to clearly show our differences?
I will soon see Hervé Bizeul and Claudine and others to reflect on my side.
Surprising too, the lovely card I received from the other great communications agent, Jean Pierre Tuil, who celebrates his 25 years in communications. When communicators begin to communicate about their communications, it is probably not the easiest thing. He has fine and famous clients, Bordeaux Grand Crus, champagnes and even major media.
As for my part, I make the readers of my blog work to find a name and I have gotten many proposals, competition from the internet, complementary today and maybe another media in the future. Who knows.

Media, Media

I am spoiled.
I was going to write, I am too much spoiled and then not, I just wrote I am spoiled. Not only today January 12, 2010, I received articles in a Japanese magazine, a beautiful Chinese publcation (4 or 5 pages) and many Brazilian magazines as well as the wine list of the Brazilian airline TAM with our Lalande de Pomerol 2006-Fayat Thunevin served in business class. Thank you CIVB, SOPEXA, Trade Unions helping me promote my wines and those I distribute, which exports more than 70% of all Bordeaux wine appellations.

Ambush = Drawn into a trap overnight in Agen, our new employee responsible for improving our websites, created this word that I found very typical “south west accent”

2009 in Bordeaux
I tasted a few batches of 2009 with my friend Marc and a few Brazilian friends:
this vintage will please us and will also raise awareness of what has often been lacking in previous vintages: the obvious side, drinkable, delicious.New link in the list of recommended sites, it is enough to read and reflect: Rouge Blanc Bulles
A “bit” of practical info: we are currently reconfiguring our mailboxes, it is therefore not possible to contact us this way for now. Back to normal expected within 24 hours ... Thanks for your patience and feel free to call us!

Terre de Vins

He who loves well punishes well: Ostentatious and Rudolph Wartel

In the last issue of Terre de Vins, an article (in French) was published on the new cellar of Château Faugères and an interview with its architect Mario Botta who designed the new cellar at the request of Silvio Denz.In the title and the questions asked by Mario Botta Wartel Rudolph, the word ostentatious appears several times, used like a dirty word!I am surprised to read this comment on the internet, taken from Rouge Blanc Bulles, I’d like to quote Rodolphe Wartel’s conclusion (which I love) "for Terre de Vin will be the stylish and intimate magazine you leave ostensibly on the coffee table"

Ostentatious : intended to attract notice and impress others (display, affection)

Ostensibly: we do not hide or that you want to show (apparently)

Rudolph Wartel, deputy director of the magazine Terre de Vins, does not like, in my opinion, this ambitious cellar and seeing built there in Faugères, by Mario Botta. He is not the only one, but I am sure I am not alone finding it nice, so nice that I like to drive my clients on the small road that passes by the cellar to show it and letting people know.Would Silvio Denz commission Mario Botta, one of the most prominent architect in the world, to design a dull piece? Would he have spent millions on this project if it was not ambitious? Is it only reserved for Napa, Rioja, the Medoc to have cellars - modern cathedrals to vinify and communicate? Does the classification of St. Emilion by Unesco must freeze the landscape?

One of my friends pointed out to me with the money spent in this cellar, Silvio Denz could have done many, many trips, promotions, advertising pages and investment in quality, expansion of his properties, etc. ...Yes probably, but it will be interesting to see how many articles be published for free on this cellar and our association to bring the media and customers in this sector of Saint Etienne de Lisse, this is not the pretext that we missed?

I love this cellar, I like this crazy ambition wanting to move things forward. I love this cellar and I have not yet seen what will be done at Cheval Blanc, but for sure, the project will be ambitious. I like the work done at Latour, Cos d'Estournel, Ducru Beaucaillou, Pichon Baron superb.
Difficult not to be a little ostentatious with such projects if compared to gray, old-style Bordeaux as opposed to clean facades and new life no longer wanting to be has-been, but instead trendy, chic, and why not influenced by the Spain being so close.
Also in Terre de Vins, a big story on the wines from the South and obviously there too Bettane Desseauve signing this story probably made by Alain Chameyrat. An article may be collective, allergic to ostentatious wines from our friend Hervé Bizeul who would probably have preferred not to be mentioned instead of having to read the commentary on La Petite Siberie. On our side, with our ostentatious cellar and good notes from David Schildknecht from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate or Decanter and even Jancis Robinson, without forgetting our Japanese or Swedish friends, impossible for us to be mentioned, or our wine with their ostentatious style and who we will need to add to the current range made for Americans, Russians and other Bachibouzouk a few non-alcoholic wines with freshness to please part of the French press intelligentsia that I thought only Parisian and which end up joining the style of wines from the south journalists from the Revue du Vin de France like and those who want to be their rivals: Terre de Vins.

Fortunately I can, like Canal +, ask myself e a damn good question: why did the issue of Terre de Vins on the Roussillon he ignores our wines (or those of Bizeul) and why do they write about my project Baby Bad Boy still not available?Paradox ostentatious different.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Le Monde 2

Bad Boy is quoted in Le Monde 2, Supplement "art de vivre" from the newspaper Le Monde, dated Friday, January 8, 2010.
It is one of the rare cases where the article impacts our sales. It was the same for our Maury Calvet-Thunevin 2004, and it makes me think of this interview I did with Mathilde Hulot and she asked me lots of questions about the importance of media and the overflow of information, offers and articles.
It seems that today it is better to have a piece on my wines in a mainstream magazine like Express, Le Point, Le Monde or Le Figaro than in specialized publications, with fewer readers, as it no longer has the power to seduce them with their special selection. The reality is that the power of their words, too, have less impact from having been "too much" used.
It is without a doubt one of the important subjects for any advertising campaign: which media to choose? because it is financially impossible to take ads out everywhere.

PS: Since I forgot to buy it, I'd like to get a copy of this article published in the Supplement Le Monde 2 from last Friday, signed Bettane and Desseauve

Thank you Jean Charles Bischoff for sending me a copy of this article from Le Monde2 about BAD BOY 2007. Below, a few excerpts

"News from the Bad Boy of Saint Emilion.... ... Jean Luc Thunevin .. bad boy always ready for a laugh,, always ready to shake up the conveniences of Bordeaux world ... remarkable terroir which he tends with care ... The result is frankly brilliant ... ..
Bettane & Desseauve "
Le Monde 2 – Saveurs (flavors) – January 8, 2010

Friday, January 8, 2010

Saint Etienne de Lisse, sequel

Looking for a name… indeed and following Chamalaw’s comment :
“In fact, inspiration would come to all these good fellows racking their brains to find a name to this future association if you explained its goal…”

I should explain why this new association and try to define, before our meeting, our needs. I am always the man in a hurry…

5 chateaux / properties in the same area of Saint Etienne de Lisse whose location is distant from the center of St. Emilion, how to turn this handicap into an advantage?

How to find a link between these 5 properties? A classified cru, a garagist, a neo garagist, a historical cru, a new challenger, with different constraints and different approaches to wine.

The 5 are newcomers to the Saint Emilion landscape: North, North Africa, Switzerland, ...?
7km (4.35 m) from Saint Emilion in Saint Etienne de Lisse, but for a Chinese or an American, what counts is France or even Saint Emilion, seen from here or from abroad, this is all relative.

We need to communicate the fact that this sector has a real great terroir, of great quality which has already been known for a while (Pressac has existed for so long: its name is associated to Malbec, the 100 years war, etc ...)

What should we do to bring our customers to Saint Etienne de Lisse? How to communicate the fact that 4 wines are able to join the next Saint Emilion classification? (Fleur Cardinale has already been promoted)


Looking for a name : I haven’t yet retained any of your proposals, but if one is chosen, its creator will be rewarded in “liquids”.
Otherwise, I wonder what kind of divine potion Philippe Margot drank to find “Saint Pneu neige” (saint snow tires)?

The Wine Spectator has already published a few notes on 2007 fine Bordeaux: Pape Clément, Haut Bailly, Fleur de Gay, Eglise Clinet, Léoville Poyferré, Gruaud Larose, Pontet Canet, Smith Haut Lafitte got 90 points or more. We’re still missing the others, especially those which sell under $30 retail, to boost their sales in the USA.

Our business is still soft, our revenues already reached 3.7 million Euros for the first 4 months of our fiscal year (and we received closed to 2 million in orders to be delivered in the next few months, until September for the next wine promotion campaigns).

Since January 1, 2009, we’re 30% under our projections, in other words around 5 million Euros for the year. I am convinced that our business – mine as well as my colleagues – will start again in April: a combination of normal demand, our bigger inventory while our client’s is getting low, and especially the enthusiasm generated by tastings and buzz for the 2009 vintage.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Saint Etienne de Lisse

I am looking for a federative name for a new association which, most likely, will include the following chateaux :
Fleur Cardinale
Rol Valentin
And Valandraud

Its purpose will be to promote our wines, all located in a district in the centre of the Saint Emilion appellation (7 km/4.35 miles, North-East of the village of Saint Emilion.

As I am unable to find one, maybe my readers will find a good name, a good idea… Like in 2000 when one of my clients found “L’Interdit de Valandraud” (the forbidden Valandraud) for my vineyards declassified at that time by INAO.

Thank you Thierry !

It snowed this morning in Saint Emilion giving us an almost Quebecois feeling !

Thierry Daraize wrote a comment on our cuvee Constance 2007 on the Quebecois site canoë.ca (in French) :

Thunevin-Calvet Cuv. Constance vin de pays Côtes Catalanes 2007 21 $

I hesitated a lot before recommending it to you… After careful consideration (sometimes we tend to a bit selfish and keep little secrets to ourselves) I bought some at the SAQ and now that I have enough for myself, I invite you to do the same. This wine was conceived and developed by Jean-Luc Thunevin (The Bad Boy of Saint Emilion) and Jean-Roger Calvet from the beautiful region of Maury, the result is impressive! A wine with real personality, produced in a spirit of perfection and respect for nature, bravo!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Stock in customs

London, Geneva or Hong Kong are not the only cities with zones under customs control.

Bordeaux has, today, 2 possible storage areas in customs zones, one put together by the Chamber of Commerce and some large wholesalers, the other by a private company specialized in storage, Mitsui, who some of my colleagues and I already work with:

“The new legislation concerning storage, and particularly for Grands Crus, is not the prerogative alone of Bordeaux Chamber of commerce. Grand Cru Storage was born 2 years ago by the shareholders of the Mitsiu Group to deal with the problems and products of our Bordeaux showcase. A 3000m² dedicated cellar is half buried under the ground, air-conditioned, in the middle of the vines. You will be able to find there all services expected by the wine industry.”

No need to make our life complicated, the wines can remain on the spot.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Holiday meal

On the evening of December 30th in the village, we drank as aperitif:
A very good draft beer Leffe Blonde,
A horrible white wine offered – as one of my friends would say : “à cheval donné on ne regarde pas la bride” (the meaning could be translated as - do not be ungrateful for a gift you received): Chablis flat, maybe stored too long in the fridge, a bad day, who knows?
Fortunately, the champagne Tarlant rosé comforted us before the new year’s eve dinner where I hope the wines we served will be up to the occasion!

We were 13 for New Year’s eve dinner including my family and friends and also for lunch the next day. (to avoid any problems on the road, everyone stayed for the night at Valandraud).
Classic meal prepare by Murielle with deserts brought by my mother-in-law, oysters and salmon from Jean Paul, truffles from Guy, exotic fruits from Pierre, party favors from Ninon and everybody’s good mood.
Oysters from Marenne, smoked salmon, toasts with fresh black truffles, sauted potatoes “Sarladaises” with ceps from Medoc (thanks Philippe), beef sirloin grilled in the fireplace, my father-in-law’s endives salad, mature cheese, superb coconut cake, fruits and chocolate. Phew.
Rock and disco music
Champagne Magnum Ruinart blanc de blancs always good, easy to drink
Chevalier Montrachet 2006 from Bouchard, good fine wine
Ducru Beaucaillou 2005 for friendship and such potential, so young
Fleur Cardinale 2003, superb, our neighbors and friends, present in thoughts with us.
Interdit de Badon 2000, corked ! (there had to be one !)
La Dominique 1989, THE great wine from the property, always so great, can we do better in 2008 and 2009 ?
Haut Brion 1989 , the great, immense 1989 Bordeaux and one of my favorite wines.
Valandraud 2005 – as though we were still thirsty, still too young
And Maury 2007, a delight, a delicacy

The next day for lunch
Montrachet Louis Latour 2005, good wine, I expected more
Meusault Les Cras 2006 Buisson Charles, just to compare with the last one and for friendship. Good and complex.
Fleur Mongiron 2004, just to drink an exceptionally good value wine
Les Portes du Ciel 2001, coteaux du Languedoc, with truffles served on toasts, it was magical !
Pesus 2004 Ribera de Vina Sastre, a bit rustic, disappointing considering the price and the reputation, especially after drinking such a good 2nd cuvee from the same property!
Néo 2002 rustic, again from Ribera
Domaine du Mas Blanc La Llose 2002, refreshing wine, good for and by its difference.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Investing in a vineyard... continued !

As of now, I don’t recall Bordeaux properties from “village” appellations sold at a loss. I believe that Crus being sold and resold quickly are rare.
Today, an important investor who sells his properties is able to ask for a price substantially higher than his purchase price.
Though, it would be interesting to know how much he invested in the chateau, cellar, etc…

As Patrick Essa states, wine properties are rarely profitable considering the investment made and yearly profitability.
The profit expected selling a property is part of the evaluation when purchasing, including tax implication, status owning a chateau and probably a common farmer’s cautiousness, regarding future currency fluctuation and inflation?

Investing in a vineyard

In November 2009 prices for a Grand Cru were between 200,000 and 3 million Euros per hectare. In Saint Emilion, a “normal” good terroir fetches between 300,000 and 500,000 Euros.
Nice properties with great potential tend to sell fast in Saint Emilion, even in this period of financial crisis. These kind of properties are rare and in-demand and over-bidding is done, for such places, not only by rich French people or foreigners but also by locals. A friend of mine talks to me about a property for sale, I visit it and quickly give my OK. Unfortunately, the price shoots up as some big fish show up. Of course, it is impossible for my friend to fight.
Next to that, I hear that generic Bordeaux can sell for less than 10,000 Euros per hectare, when in Pomerol or Margaux, the average price is around 1 million. If you ad to this sum 3 years of cash flow necessary, rebuilding the cellar and house, it’s a costly purchase, regardless of the appellation.

A good recommendation for the end of year holiday: Domaine Buisson Charles

I don’t sell much white wine with my company, but we have the privilege to have an allocation of Burgundies from Domaine Buisson Charles we drink and sell to our customers. This series of fine white Burgundies still are sold at a reasonable price for Meursault fans, and this despite the good notes given by Wine Advocate.
The last notes given to the 2007 vintage confirmed their place in the top group of Meursault and gave Murielle the desire to vinify Chardonnay, even if we will never have the same terroir as in Meursault Goutte d’Or or Charmes...


May 2010 bring you happiness, health and success !