Chateau Pontet Canet

Located in Pauillac, just in front of Chateau Mouton Rothschild, chateau Pontet Canet is the leader among the Grands Crus Classes in terms of biodynamic. The conversion started in 2004 on part of 14 hectares. Under the influence of the technical director Jean Michel Comes who has in own vineyard run in biodynamic, he convince the owner Alfred Tesseron to try it at Pontet Canet.

After few years of test, it was decided to convert the 80 hectares in biodynamic agriculture. It was a real challenge and more than a technic it was a new philosophy for the Chateaux.

The biodynamic needs to understand better the vines, their devlopment and the diseases as the use of chemicals is not allowed. We can compare this to a Chinese medecine and anticipation of the problems. To run the vineyard they follow the moon calendar, they use natural extract of plants to spray on the vines. The idea is to be more respectful of the land, the terroir and the vines. 

A good example to explain and understand this, they started also to use horses instead of tractors (too heavy they compact the soil and damage the roots). Actually the chateau is using 5 horses, wich is far away not enough for the 80 hectares of vineyard and is builiding a brand new traditional construction in order to be able to accommodate 15 of them. 

Donkeys, chicken, sheap are also part of this very unique team ! 

Finaly, the vines are not trimed and there is no green harvest either done, the vines control themself their devlopment and yeild. The wine will age for a big part in the traditional oak barrels but also in very particular amphoras where the wine stay in a vortex movment all time long. 

The result is a wine very fruty with a light structure but still a long potential of aging. The ripe and generous nose combines very pure notes of blackcurrant, violet, rose and liquorice. Wonderful internal harmony creates a symphonic red which associates shimmering substance, exquisite freshness, noble tannins and radiant fruit. 

Come and visit this unique Chateau. The visit will start with a ride on a golf-car in the vineyard, will continue with the technical installation and finish with a glass of wine.

Chateau Mouton Rothschild the Labels History and Museum

One of the most interesting visit in Bordeaux is the visit at Chateau Mouton Rothschild. This one is unique in the sense of it is the only one that offer a collection of piece of art from some of the most famous artists in the last century : Miro, Chagall, Braque, Dali, Bacon, Koons,
even SAR Prince Charles did one for them.

Under the influence of baron Philippe de Rothschild, in 1945 to celebrate the victory on the Nazi, he decided to request the French artist Philippe Jullian to design the famous label showing the "V" for Victory.

Since, every year, a new artwork from a  famous painter, drawer or sculptor will complete the collection.
Some years and labels are more remarkables than other ones.

A label forbidden in US
Vintage 1993 by Balthus, showing a draw of a naked young girl. This label was ban in US because of puritan and was not printed on the bottles for this market. It shows a blank label with no draw on it so, if you have it in your cellar, keep it, it's a piece of collection.

Why 2000 as no label ?
Vintage 2000, no artist ! The bottle itself becomes the piece of art. It show a golden ram on it, from a reproduction of sculpture of Jacob Schenauer 1590.

Why the Picasso one is so big ?
Vintage 1973, Picasso. If you look on the size of the label you could see that the artwork is bigger than all the other ones. In fact the painting was not designed especially for the bottle and it is a reproduction of a painting made by Picasso in 1959.
Picasso died in 1973 that is why in order to celebrate his memory, the Rothchild ask if they could use one of its work and use it for the label of the vintage.

If you come to Bordeaux for a wine tours, ask us to book a tour for you at Chateau Mouton Rothschild. You will have the privilege to taste their wine and also visit this unique treasure located in the middle of the Medoc.

Visit & Wine Tasting at Chateau Lafite Rothschild

The Chateau Lafite Rothschild is one of the top 5 first growth (Premier Cru) classified in Bordeaux in 1855 as Latour, Margaux and Haut Brion. This chateau is certainely the most renown and famous one since few centuries. Thomas Jefferson himself, staid few nights at the chateau when he came in 1787 to visit the famous vineyards of the Médoc region.

I had the chance to visit the Chateaux few times already and it is always a pleasure to bring some guests there. The Chateau Lafite organize <b>visit and wine tasting by appointment only</b> and depending on their availabilities but if you are lucky and if you book long time ahead you could have the chance to be welcome for a wine tasting.

The Chateau is located in <b>Pauillac appellation</b>, northen part of the Medoc just between St Julien and St Estephe.<br />
The name comes from an old French word "La hite" which means the litle hill.<br />
The vineyard has 114 hectares and the chateau produces app. 500 000 bottles a year for half part dedicated to the first wine and the other half to the second label (Les Carruades de Lafite).

The blend is 70% cabernet sauvignon + 25% merlot + 3% cabernet franc and 1% petit verdot.
The avarage age of the vineyard is 40yo with some older plots of 80yo.

The wine will aged for 17-20 month in 100% brand new oak barrels. The barrels are all manufactured by their own cooperage and they produce app. 2000 per year.

The legendary vintages are 1945, 1947, 1982, 2000, 2005, 2009, 2010. The potential of aging of this wine is exceptional with a minimum of 15 years for  a classical vintage up to 50years and plus for top quality vintages. If you visit the chateau they will explain to you that they still have some bottles of 1797 and they taste regularly old vintages (60-70 yo) still very drinkable.

The tasting will take place is the magnificient barrel cellar design by Ricardo Bofill in 1987.
To come for a visit, you will have more chance during the low season from November to March. The chateau is closed the week, during the Primeur week (April) and from August to October.

Chateau Suduiraut a 1st Growth in Sauternes

Chateau Suduiraut was classified in 1855 as a first growth in Sauternes. This classification, same as the one for the Medoc, concerns also Chateau in Barsac and includes famous Chateau d'Yquem as first growth superior.

Suduiraut is a property of 200 hectares half part dedicated to the vineyard and the other half to the forest. This point is important as it helps to control a certain level of humidity and helps to the development of the "botrytis cinerea or noble rot".

The vineyard is composed of 90% of semillon, 10% white sauvignon. The semillon is perfectly adapted to the "noble rot", it will grow from September to November and will make the skin so porous than slowly with time, water will evaporate and will concentrate the berries in sugar.

The berries mature on the vines and are harvested only when they look dry enough.

The sauvignon blanc will bring the acidity necessary to balance the sweetness of the wine.

Harvest are done by hands and take place from September to November. It is long and late harvests, 100 pickers are used to do them.

The Chateau itself is also a magnificant domaine and the garden were design by the famous gardener Le Nôtre who also design Chateau de Versaille garden's.

Chateau Suduiraut organizes visits and tasting, come to Bordeaux to discover this unique wine and beautiful region.

Sauternes Wine Tour

Mouton 2014 label by David Hockney

Hockney, who was a close friend of longtime Mouton owner Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, has paid tribute to her by using the words ‘In tribute to Philippine’ both above and below the image of two wine glasses.
One glass is full and one empty. The estate said that this symbolised the ‘constantly renewed miracle of the birth of a great wine’. 
Since 1924 to celebrate the first botteling at the Chateaux, Baron Philippe de Rothschild ( father of Philippine), asked Jean Carlu to create the design of yhe label.
Since first painting label was too 'new" for the market and they deceided to do not do it again.
In 1945, this time to celebrate victory, Baron Philippe decided to create a new artwork label with the "V" for victory. French painter Philippe Julian did it and since avery years a new contemporary artist is choosen to draw the vintage label.
Braque, Miro, Cesar, Chagall, Warhol, Bacon, Koons ...labels are now shown at the Chateau in their very unique "Art & Wine" museum.

The Chateau welcome visitors all year long by appointment only to visit it and of course for wine tatsting.

L’Australie pays de vin et de vignobles!

L’Australie est bien sûr connue pour ses kangourous de toutes les tailles, ses Koalas nonchalants, son grandiose opéra dans la baie de Sydney, son gros rocher rouge sacré (l’Ayers Rock/Uluru), son Out-back où l’on rencontre les véritables et rudes « Aussies !»… mais l’Australie, c’est aussi un pays de vins et de vignobles !
Uluru ou Ayers Rock
Uluru ou Ayers Rock

À l’origine, les Aborigènes d’Australie ne connaissaient ni la vigne ni le vin. Ils fabriquaient des boissons fermentées, à base de plantes ou de miel, qu’ils buvaient lors de cérémonies. Les premières vignes sont arrivées en Australie en 1788 en provenance du Cap de Bonne-Espérance dans les cales du navire du Capitaine Arthur Philip. Ce capitaine « œnologue » les planta solennellement à l’emplacement de l’actuel Jardin botanique de Sydney. Mais il faut attendre 1830 pour parler d’une véritable viticulture, époque à laquelle l’Écossais James Busby, considéré comme le père du vignoble australien (et également un des « fondateurs » de la Nouvelle-Zélande!), va développer la viticulture et produire du vin dans la Hunter valley (Nouvelle-Galles-du-Sud) et dans la Barossa valley (Australie-Méridionale). En 1831, il fait un voyage en Europe pour recueillir des cépages (type de plant de vigne) principalement en France et en Espagne afin de bonifier le vignoble australien. Une des variétés collectées était la Syrah, que Busby appelle Scyras ou Shiraz. Ce cépage est devenu une des variétés les plus importantes en Australie. Encore aujourd’hui, le Syrah domine, bien qu’on trouve également en quantité importante du Cabernet Sauvignon, du Chardonnay, du Pinot noir, du Riesling et du Sémillon (liste non exhaustive!). Dès 1854, les Australiens réalisent la première exportation de vin vers le Royaume-Uni, qui a longtemps considéré l’Australie comme leur vignoble.
Vignoble du Sud de l'Australie
Vignoble du Sud de l’Australie

En Australie, le vin a longtemps été l’apanage de la grande bourgeoisie, la bière étant la boisson populaire par excellence. Il faut attendre la 2e guerre mondiale pour que le vin se « démocratise ». Aujourd’hui on trouve dans tous les pubs australiens, à côté de la bière, des vins rouges ou blancs. Les Australiens consomment en moyenne autour de 24 litres de vin par habitant par an, mais encore loin derrière les Français (premier consommateur avec en moyenne autour plus de 50 litres par habitant par an!).

La viticulture australienne a fait ses débuts voilà à peine un siècle et demi alors que l’Europe a deux millénaires de tradition dans ce domaine. Comme d’autres pays du Nouveau Monde, l’Australie apprend vite et progresse à pas de géant.
Les vins australiens, notamment les rouges, sont considérés comme des vins « pleins, corsés voir musclé, avec un goût du fruit, direct et sans détour ». En un mot, on peut définir ces vins comme « pleins de saveur »!
Les vignerons « Aussies » produisent un bon nombre d’excellents vins, dont quelques-uns de classe mondiale avec un degré d’alcoolémie de 13 à 13,5% vol. voir 14% vol. Cette haute teneur en alcool, qui n’est pas une exclusivité australienne, ne nuit aucunement à sa qualité.
Vignoble Australien près d'Adelaïde
Vignoble Australien près d’Adelaïde

Grâce à un bon marketing, une technologie de pointe et une très grande qualité,  les ventes de vins ont décuplé sur les marchés d’exportation ces dix dernières années. L’Australie est le sixième pays producteur derrière l’Italie et la France (qui se battent régulièrement pour la première place), l’Espagne, les États-Unis et l’Argentine, alors qu’en superficie elle possède que le 11e vignoble mondial (selon l’OIV, organisation du vin et de la vigne).
Il est à signaler que l’industrie vinicole australienne est extrêmement concentrée, car 80% du vin est produit par quatre sociétés viticoles importantes : Penfold’s, BRL Hardy, Orlando et Mildara Blass.
À noter aussi qu’il n’y a pas encore là, comme en Europe, de réel système d’appellation contrôlée bien que depuis 1993 les choses ont pris une tournure plus sérieuse sous l’égide de l’AWBC (Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation). Ainsi, sous le contrôle de l’AWBC, les vignerons doivent se soumettre au LIP (Label Integrity Program), un label qui s’efforce de garantir le millésime, le cépage et la région de production. Les vins sont aussi parfois identifiés par un numéro de cuvée (Vat ou Bin). Ils sont issus majoritairement de mélanges en provenance des diverses régions de production.
La législation, comparable à celle des États-Unis, tient en quatre points :
1)si l’étiquette mentionne une origine, au moins 80% du raisin doit provenir de cette origine;
2)si l’étiquette mentionne un cépage, le vin doit contenir au moins 80% de ce cépage;
3)si le millésime est indiqué, au moins 95% du raisin doit être de ce millésime;
4)si plusieurs cépages sont mentionnés, le cépage dominant doit être mentionné en tête, à moins que les deux cépages soient présents en proportions égales.
Dans ce système typique des pays du Nouveau Monde, les vignerons ont plus de liberté pour concocter des mélanges, que sûrement les organismes de contrôle européens réprouveraient… Le plus souvent cette pratique concerne les vins bon marché, mais les grandes maisons l’emploient aussi pour des vins de qualité, avec des résultats parfois excellents. Par exemple, un des meilleurs vins du pays est obtenu par mélange de cabernet du Coonawarra et de syrah de Barossa…
Vignoble de la Barossa valley
Vignoble de la Barossa valley

Alors, n’hésitez pas à partir avec Planète Découverte en Australie, pour visiter les vignobles et déguster ces étonnants et succulents vins australiens. À déguster avec modération bien sûr!

« En voyage, je regarde la carte des vins pour éviter les bouchons. » – Raymond Devos

Chateau Leoville Poyferre

St Julien, 80 hectares, 240 000 btl, 65 cab sauv, 27 merlot, 8 Petit verdot

Due to a division of the large Leoville estate (Las Cases, Poyferre, Barton), Leoville Poyferre was created in 1840 and classified 2nd growth in 1855.
From 1920 it is the Cuvelier family who owns and runs the estate. Major investments was made, cellar modernized and facilities renovated.
Final blend is made after many tatsting and the Chateau wine is aged in 75% new oak barrels every years.
Final wine is extremely well balance with a great deal of finesse.
Price range : 60-90€ age at least 7 years each vintage before to enjoy.

1842 vintage tasting

Exceptional tasting Château Gruaud Larose 1842 !

Look at this color !
The wine stayed in the private cellar of the Chateau all this time, so the storage is a very important factor.
Unfortunately they don't still have precise informations about the correct blend but the truffle notes can indicate than Merlot where used.

Very light orange color, still alcoholic, light acidity, some truffle notes in the nose, no more structure, but amazing to drink this 170 years old wine.

I feel little bit younger now, may be it is the secret.

A big thank to the Chateau for sharing this exceptional tasting.

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Chateau Chasse Spleen

Today visited Chateau Chasse Spleen.

Located in Moulis appellation this one is one of my favorite. We had the 05 for X-mas diner and it was perfect after one our of decantation.

It's a family property run by Bernadette Villars from 1976 and now by her daughter.
The chateau is not included in the 1855 classification but listed as cru Bourgeois exceptionel in recognition of excellent quality.

As some famous winery they also do a small production of white wine (Blanc de Chasse Spleen)

Red is made from a blend of Cabernet sauvignon and Merlot, deep red color, generous in mouth and soft tanins. Should be pair with red meat in sauce or strong cheese.

Discover this nice property during on day wine tour in Bordeaux choose the Medoc area.

For more information visit the Chasse Spleen website