Upside Down Fermenting?

I heard about this while I was in Bordeaux and thought it was a neat idea, but I didn't have all of the details at the time. The image above is the <> fermenter, created by the team at Tonnellerie Radoux, one of the world's best-known cooperages. The idea behind the <> fermenter is that it will improve the color and tannins of a wine by allowing winemakers to extract the wine in a more gentle fashion than traditional punchdown methods.  

The <> fermenter takes advantage of gravity and a conical shape, that is very much in fashion with fermenters, to improve the quality of the wine.  Of course, all of this is in theory -- fortunately Jean-Luc Thunevin put it to the test with the 2015, vintage.  

Here is how the test worked:
The first experiment with this new vinification tool was carried ...

Antonio Galloni

The United States were in the place of honor yesterday with us. After the visit, a tasting of a few wines by our group centered around one of our oldest american customers, visit of our historical winery and a meal at home with Virginie de Valandraud 2009 and Valandraud 2004 to accompany an asparagus soup, sirloin with fries, comté and strawberries with raspberries flavored with vanilla from Tahiti followed by macaroons from Fermigier.
Valandraud 2004 is finally starting to reach a level of maturity. Just at the beginning of this level, this wine is made to last a long time.

Then a tour and tasting of our wines by Antonio Galloni. We were pleased to see him tasting with interest and passion. I took the opportunity to follow his lead and although I am nearly always anxious, this helped me to relax.
A rare thing indeed was that we then took the time to leave the house at Saint-Emilion and visit Valandraud together at Saint Etienne de Lisse to see our vines, the winery and to visit our good friends Fleur Cardinale, Rol Valentin, Pressac, Faugères and Mangot. I can't wait to read his comments on our wines but also on the other Bordeaux 2013s!

Primeurs 2013!..

And so it begins with Château Pontet Canet with lower quantities and a price that hasn't changed.

Visits and dinners, with journalists of course, but also with importers who have come to find out what the vintage is worth and to taste our other vintages already available. There are still excellent 2011s and 2012s for those wanting to skip the 2013 Bordeaux. 

2013 looks like an excellent vintage in the Roussillon. 


A week long trip to Brazil for media and business events organised by and for our clients, the pictures posted on Facebook really show that the working atmosphere is full of smiles, happy, that business partnerships change over the years into friendships. Wine helps all of this.
The trip went through Lisbon and the TAP. Bordeaux-Lisbon then direct to Belo-Horizonte with the return from Sao-Paulo-Lisbon with more than a day's delay. The passage with the TAP was probably not the best choice although the staff were very kind.

I know Belo Horizonte well but I went to Rio de Janeiro for the first time, staying at the Sol Ipanema hotel just off of the beach with a superbe view. Unfortunately I didn't have the chance to put on my swimming costume and try out the sand and the water.

We were here to work, two dinners, one invited to a restaurant at the golf course with an excellent decor, tropcial temperatures, to meet with a future investor in our own Bordeaux wineyards and the evening at a restaurant, which was really nice for tasting our Bordeaux wines already distributed in Rio as is the wine of our friends Fleur Cardinale which goes through another distributor.

Then on to Sao Paulo for three days with an event organised at the Brazilian Sommeliers Association, the ABS, with an exceptional tasting of our Valandraud 2012 which is still in the barrel and our range of wines available in Brazil. 

Good mediawork with the excellent Adega wine bar boasting a Enomatic machine dedicated to our products, a meeting with Ed Motta, the jazz-soul star and of course lots of Brazilians that we have met before here and in Saint Emilion.


The World Cup, for your information, isn't everybody's cup of tea here...


First Vinipro salon, the next is planned for in two years time, as a sort of alternative to Vinexpo, except that only wines from the South West are represented.

The first day was a bit hard; with the weather, the rain, the storms, with the normal difficulties accessing Bordeaux Lac... I have been told that next year the tram should go all the way to Bordeaux Lac which is a good thing because at the moment it is difficult and the surrounding areas are less than clean and the roads full of (big) potholes!

There were a lot of people on Tuesday and they included good contacts, because of course we have a lot of good friends, students and suppliers who stop by but the aim is to find new customers and I think that we did better than at Prowein 2013.

I came to make Xavier Planty happy, one of the organisers, and he did well to convince me to come. For info, there are a lot of sweet wines at this salon.

There was a nice article published in the glamour magasine Lui, an icon from the 60s, written by Frédéric Beigbeder about our Virginie de Valandraud 1998 drunk at the L'Ami Louis restaurant. Merci, merci!

SOS UK and Belgium!!!

With Grappe, our software system, we are able to do a lot of analysing and as we have just finished with our latest balance sheet (very nicely balanced) I tend to check to see with which countries we are doing the most business.

Once again this year, France is in first place with 36% of our turnover however the numbers for the UK (2%), Belgium (1%) and Russia (1%) leave a lot to be desired.

Otherwise, the countries where we are doing 'well' are USA, Japan, Brasil, Canada, Ukraine, Sweden, Switzerland and Thailand, although both Thailand and the Ukraine are suffering at the moment.

Next week we shall be at the first edition of Vinipro in Bordeaux with many other wineries, please come and see us!

Neal Martin and the 2010s

Neal Martin has just published his ratings and comments on the 2010s on the Wine Advocate's website. Concerning Saint-Emilion:

..."Saint Emilion might be slightly over-shadowed by the peaks of Pomerol, but the appellation conjured outstanding wines in 2010. What I find fascinating in conducting a blind tasting is to contrast the performance of the newcomers, the garagistes (such a quaint term nowadays) compared to its long-term residents. So whilst Pierre Lurton hit the ball out of the park with a sensational Château Cheval Blanc, so did Jean-Luc Thunevin with a sublime Château Valandraud.
Modern vs. traditional.
Who cares? They are both just great wines.".....
"2010 Château Valandraud 96
Tasted blind at the Southwold Bordeaux 2010 tasting. Jean-Luc Thunevin has hit the ball out of the park with the 2010 Valandraud. It has an alluring, beautifully defined bouquet with mineral rich black and red fruit,: great tension, poise and focus. The palate is well balanced and succulent in the mouth with extremely well judged acidity. Somehow understated at first, but complex and sophisticated, the Valandraud is beautifully focused with a long tender finish with perfect equilibrium between dryness and sweetness. Tasted January 2014."
Merci ! :)