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.