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 and I will try and find it for you.