The Insider’s Guide to Bordeaux – Wine: Richard Curty

IMG_8709This is the first installment of our Insider’s Guide to Bordeaux.  It is a series of interviews of people who live in Bordeaux providing their thoughts and tips on the wines, the city, and the food.

This interview was with Mr. Richard Curty the Wine Director of Ch. Parenchere.  He is a graduated oenologist and the wine-maker at Ch. Parenchere. You can visit him on facebook.

We interviewed him about his thoughts on Bordeaux wine.

1. Which wine is currently your favorite wine to drink?

Château Beau-Séjour Bécot 1998  1st Classified Growth of St Emilion): Power, Elegance, Authenticity… but he [the wine-maker] is also a friend …

2. Can you provide the name(s) of a Château (or Châteaux) that are on the rise?

It is hard to answer this question as, today, Bordeaux consists in 2 very different worlds. First, the world of the Grands Crus who, more than always, produce amazing wines like Figeac, but whose prices have risen so much that they are quite unreachable now. On the other side, you have a lot of “petits châteaux”, less-renowned, which, in the last 10-15 years, made unbelievable progresses. Between 8 to 20 Euros, those wine offer so much pleasure; it is really worth finding them. Examples of those great values would be Château Mangot in St Emilion or Château du Hâ in Medoc.

3. Can you recommend a Château from a lesser-known appellation that makes wines that consumers should pay attention to?

I like, for example, Château d’Aydie in Madiran which knows how to domesticate the Tannat.

 4. What is your favorite food match for Bordeaux Red Wine?

A juicy Prime rib from Bazas roasted over vine branches, fried porcini mushrooms picked in the Parenchère woods with a good glass of Château de Parenchère 2005.

5. What is your favorite food match for Bordeaux White Wine?

A sea bass from Archachon cooked in unilateral with a Parenchère White 2011.

6. Bordeaux is often associated with “Tradition”, with an image a little bit “Old school” for younger consumers. Is it an advantage or a disadvantage for Parenchère?

Tradition and History are for sure big strengths for French wines in general, and particularly for Bordeaux. Everyone envies our Châteaux, our Terroirs, our know-how….  But today, this is not enough and we need to constantly evolve. The taste of customers is changing, and so is the way of drinking wine today. We need to adapt without losing our identity. For us, the challenge is here as we never wanted to fall in the standardization trap. We have good strong tannins at Parenchère. We do not want to make them disappear as this is our identity, but we work a lot to soften them and to highlight the fruit in our wine. This is a step toward a more modern style rather than making a dusty, hard wine which you will have to wait for 5 or 6 years before drinking it.  We are using very modern techniques as micro-oxygene, optical –sorting … but the work on which we focus more is the understanding of our Terroir and the work in the vineyard.

Thanks to Mr. Curty for his time and generous answers.  If there was a wine mentioned in this post that you want to try – be sure to contact me at and I will try and find it for you.