Insider’s Guide to Bordeaux – Vintages: Jean-Michel Garcion

Jean Michel GarcionJean-Michel Garcion is the wine-maker at Demour – a family owned negociant that owns a number of Bordeaux estates including Ch. La Croizille (St. Emilion), Ch. Haut Breton Larigaudiere (Margaux), Ch. La Tour Baladoz (St. Emilion), and Ch. Tayet (Bordeaux Superier).

Jean-Michel Garcion is a driven man. He did his studies in viticulture and oenology and later on a specialization in commercial business. He worked in a vine nursery (the choice of an adapted vine plant is primordial for the wine’s quality) and different French wineries making red, white (dry and sweet), sparkling wine (champenois and charmat methods) and distillation of wine and fruits for spirits. For a period of 10 years he followed practical training in different wine countries like Germany, Italy, Australia, New Zeland, USA and Spain to acquire his expertise and know-how.

With an open mind and a lot of experience, he became Jacques De Schepper’s right-hand man at Demour in 1991.

Today we interviewed him about his thoughts on Bordeaux vintages. Note: this interview was translated from French.

1. Which vintage of Bordeaux do you think is the best drinking right now?
There is a wine for every moment, for every mood, state of mind, a way of being. This perception is very personal.2. What was your favorite bottle of mature Bordeaux that you have had in the last couple of years?1989 Château La Mission Haut-Brion and 1950 Chateau Cheval Blanc.

3. Do you have a special bottle of Bordeaux in your own cellar That you are saving for a special occasion?

Yes, 2000 Château Haut Breton Larigaudière “Le Createur”.

4. Which vintage would you buy from 2001-2010 for your own cellar? And, Why would you choose this vintage?

It depends on the appellation. For a Margaux – I would choose 2001,2002,2005, 2007 or 2009 and for a St. Emilion – I would choose 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, or 2009.

5. Do you decant When you drink mature Bordeaux? Why or why not?

No. A mature wine is fragile aromas are at their fullness. They add oxygen may destroy it.

6. At what age do you think Grand Cru Classé (or equivalent wines) Reach Their Peak?

It depends on the vintage. A 2005 requires several years of aging, while the 2001, 2004 and 2008 is drunk faster. Other variables are also the characteristics of the wine such as grape varieties and terroir. The wines of the left bank, as Margaux and Pauillac, have a maturity slower. The wines of the right bank, as Saint Emilion, have a maturity faster.

We would like to thank Mr. Garcion for his time and generous answers.  If there is a wine mentioned in this interview that you would like to try – please contact me at cody@rooftopcellars.com and I will try and find it for you.

The Insider’s Guide to Bordeaux – Vintages: Axel Vallet

B&M_B5I6986Axel Vallet is a wine lover and negociant in Bordeaux.  He was born in the Champagne region with Basque roots 35 years ago. He describes his love of wine and how he got involved in the wine business in this way :

“I have been ‘tasting’ wine since a very young age with a father oenologist who was passionate about wine himself. After business and marketing studies in France and several years abroad in Ireland and Canada, I naturally challenged myself to become involved in the fine wine business. I have been working in this exciting environment for over 10 years.”

We interviewed him about his thoughts on Bordeaux vintages:

1. Which vintage of Bordeaux do you think is drinking the best right now?2001 – a forgotten vintage that shows excellent quality now

2. What was your favorite bottle of mature Bordeaux that you have had in the last couple of years?

1998 Vieux Chateau Certan and 1998 Trotanoy – side by side.

3. Do you have a special bottle of Bordeaux in your own cellar that you are saving for a special occasion?

Yes – shared with my father at Château Lafite Rothschild, his birthyear 1947 Château Lafite Rothschild.

4. Which vintage from 2001-2010 would you buy for your own cellar? And, Why would you choose this vintage?

2010 to cellar for decades. This is the most complex and complete vintage to me – the excellence on all aspects.

2001 to drink now and the years to come – great value

5. Do you decant when you drink mature Bordeaux? Why or why not?

It depends of the age and the quality of the wine. On top Bordeaux, when they are over 30 years old, I avoid decanting.

6. At what age do you think Grand Cru Classé (or equivalent wines) reach their peak?

Once again, it depends of the wine, the vintage and the AC, I would say from 8 to 25 years. This is the greatness of Bordeaux, you need to open bottles almost every 2 or 3 years to check the evolution and it can take many many years ! That is why you should always buy at least a full case !

We would like to thank Axel for his time and his generous answers.  If there is a wine mentioned in this interview that you would like to try please e-mail me at cody@rooftopcellars.com and I will try and find it for you.

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

IMG_8709This is an 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 vintages.

1. Which vintage of Bordeaux do you think is drinking the best right now?

For very prestigious wines, I like the 2003 vintage for its power and its fruitiness but, in general, I am a big fan of the 2005 vintage. Concentrated, fine, long-lasting; it offers everything.

2. What was your favorite bottle of mature Bordeaux that you have had in the last couple of years?

Château Margaux 2003.

3. Do you have a special bottle of Bordeaux in your own cellar that you are saving for a special occasion?

Chateau Beau-Séjour Bécot 1995.

4. Which vintage from 2001-2010 would you buy for your own cellar? And, Why would you choose this vintage?

We have had many amazing vintages this past decade, but I would choose 2010 for its strength, its balance, its fruitiness and its freshness. For sure an exceptional vintage to keep.

5. Do you decant when you drink mature Bordeaux? Why or why not?

We tend not to decant too much very mature wines (earlier than 95) as the bouquet will disappear very fast. In this case, I prefer to filter the wine in a caraf right before serving it.

6. At what age do you think Grand Cru Classé (or equivalent wines) reach their peak?

For me the pick is at 15 years as the fruit is still omnipresent but the wine is more velvety, more voluptuous and the aromas are much more complex.

7. Do you think it is a pity to drink a Château de Parenchère 2008 now (4 years after its elaboration)?

Château de Parenchère for sure has a much longer ageing potential (about 10 years and even more depending on the vintage), but, thanks to the work we do in the cellar, the wine is already quite open and silky, with a lot of red berries aromas. Of course, if you are more patient, the wine will get more complexity, but it already offers a lot of pleasure right now.

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 cody@rooftopcellars.com and I will try and find it for you.