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Bordeaux-Bound!

For the third time this year I’m off to Bordeaux. I spent a week there during the primeurs tasting the 2011 vintage, and another three weeks there during the summer visiting several estates including Lafleur (pictured below), Tertre-Roteboeuf, Bauduc and a few others (for which profiles are yet to be published/updated). This time I’m returning for a multitude of reasons – a rare example of killing four birds with one stone.

First and foremost, and not of much interest to readers, I have a personal project I’m working on which will keep me busy Monday and Tuesday. So I’m not sure I will get much visiting or tasting done on those two days, but I do have an appointment at the mairie in Pauillac on Monday afternoon so who knows, maybe I’ll get some ‘drive-by’ photographs of Grand-Puy-Ducasse (which is right next-door to the mayoral office in the centre of Pauillac) to add to my image bank.

Second, I have some visits arranged on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and as I did during my summer visit I have a mix of famous and not-so-famous estates lined up. The former group includes the likes of Sociando-Mallet and Phélan-Ségur.

Château Lafleur

Third, unlike my October visit in 2012 (which was a little later in the month) this time I should catch a little of the harvest. Last year the fruit was brought in fairly early, and for various reasons my visit began on or around October 22nd or 23rd, if I recall correctly. On a re-run of 2010 this would have matched perfectly the Sauternes harvest (which was what I was hoping for), but in 2011 I managed to miss even that! This year, however, although the whites are all in, the reds won’t start with the Merlots until next week at the earliest. The Sauternais are sitting tight at present.

Fourth, there are one or two 2011 tastings I would like to make or repeat. I’m struggling to fit this in around my other commitments though, but Ideally I would like to squeeze in Latour, Ducru-Beaucaillou and Calon-Ségur.

Anyway, here’s hoping. Whatever happens, I will be busy, and so I’m going to suspend the main site updates next week, but I will post on my blog most days, with notes on my visits and hopefully a few pictures of the 2012 harvest.

Luneau-Papin 2012 Vintage Report

I am pleased to be able to bring you some news on the 2012 vintage from Muscadet, from Marie Chartier-Luneau, of Domaine Luneau-Papin. It looks as though 2012 will be superior to 2011, which was a vintage bedogged by rot (although the 2011 Luneau-Papin wines showed no such problems rot was evident elsewhere, including some leading domaines), although quantities are down. So, good news for us, provided quantities aren’t so tiny that the wines are unobtainable (that isn’t a problem I have ever encountered in Muscadet, even after the miniscule frost-bitten 2008 vintage), but not a perfect vintage for the vignerons who have less wine to sell.

Here’s Marie’s report. I’ve edited it only slightly:

The big ballet of pickers started on last Monday, the 24th at 8am and we propose you a small survey of this vintage 2012 before tasting, together, the freshly pressed juices or this winter, after a few months on their Lies.

Pruning started at the beginning of November, in a wintry atmosphere the temperatures of which often flirted with the negative. At the end of January the beginning of February, the frost, the snow (rather rare to us) consolidated the presence of heaters in pockets and fires of fireplace! (There are some pictures of the snow-bound vineyards in the update linked above, taken when I visited Luneau-Papin in February 2012 – Chris)

This period is a good time for waterfowl and ground-game cooking and to open and taste great wines from friends, winegroovers (I’m not sure if that is a typo or not – anyway, I rather enjoy the idea of ‘winegroovers’ so I have left it as is – Chris) in their own countries!

The spring began early, too early according to “grandma Jeannette” (the mom of Monique and memory of our plots. March and April replaced the sun with the rain and the wind! Gloomy weather continued until July in the Nantes country.

Luneau-Papin - 2012 grapes

The flowering was not thus able, this year, to generate the full yield of grapes, having been disturbed by the rain. At the end of July, the summer finally arrived, and the shone with one thousand lights!

In August it was warm and since then the higher temperatures and the blue sky have not weakened. The freshness is felt in the morning, from today, but the sky remains beautiful and the bunches look delightful too!

Luneau-Papin - 2012 picking

We estimate 12° – 12.5° in the juices harvested today, and we wait for a reduction in the acidities on several plots; what we call the optimal maturity.

On Monday (this will be Monday 24th – Chris), 35 pickers and 5 carriers plunged their hands into our rows of vines.

Conclusion: this year, we are going to make good quality but little! You can already plan to stash away some bottles for keeping but we shall harvest and will thus serve first and foremost our regular customers: you!

We wish you all in good ealth and wish to clink glasses together to honour this great vintage!

Pierre, Monique, Pierre-Marie & Marie Luneau

Sweet Bergerac

Despite many years enjoying wine I have never fully explored south-west France; other than Jurançon, which can be a superb source of dry whites but also briliant sweet wines to rival Sauternes (if you don’t believe try and get your hands on a taste of the Cuvée Quintessence from Domaine Cauhapé – it is a breathtaking wine).

Even closer to Sauternes, both geographically and in terms of the varieties grown, are the vineyards of Bergerac. Here there are perhaps familiar names – I certainly know of Monbazillac, Saussignac and the Côtes de Duras in particular – but the domaines are less familiar. This turned out – as I discovered when in the region recently – to be a significant hole in my general wine knowledge, as these regions shouldn’t be considered as mere academic after-thoughts. There are some delicious, great-value wines to be found here.

Château la Maurigne Saussignac Mon P'tit Arthur 2007

I was particularly impressed by the elegance of the wines from Château Thenon, but as the tasting notes below indicate, a number of other wines – such as those from Château la Maurigne, above – were just as impressive.

Côtes de Duras

Domaine des Allegrets Côtes de Duras Cuvée Grandpierre 2001: From vines more than 100 years old. A rich, orange-gold hue here. A great botrytis character, with scents of almonds freshened up with citrus zest. Complex, deep, showing lots of noble rot scents. A polished and creamy confidence to it on the palate, with toasted almonds, crème brûlée, toast and vanilla cream. Delicious substance, with a counterbalancing streak of mild bitterness, and a supple, softly balanced feel. A good long grip in the finish too. Very good, and still with plenty of potential. 17.5/20 (July 2012)

Monbazillac

Château Tirecul la Gravière Les Pins (Monbazillac) 2006: From 50cl bottle. A rich golden hue here. The nose is a delightful combination of almond paste and hazelnuts with sweet orange elements. The palate starts off with a creamy, mellifluous character, and it shows the rich but balanced texture that fits with these broad, appealing, nutty, praline-like flavours. There is elegance and balance here too though, and great substance. Not bitterness but a fresh, bright and rich sweetness. Impressive. 17/20 (July 2012)

Jules & Marie Villette Les Coteaux de Bernasse (Monbazillac) 2002: From 50cl bottle. This wine has a particularly rich and golden-orange hue. The nose is in keeping with this appearance, displaying notes of orange caramel, baked almond biscuits and a touch of crème brûlée as well. The palate is the same; there is plenty of pithy depth here, the texture around it creamy and weighty, but the acidity is rather subsumed as a result. Notes of baked and caramelised oranges match those elements found on the nose. The finish is long, and does have a bitter streak running through its core to keep some sense of shape and balance though. But overall it lacks a little balance and freshness. 14.5/20 (July 2012)

Saussignac

Château de Thenon Cuvée Prestige (Saussignac) 2001: From a half bottle. An impressive golden hue here. The aromas are suggestive of oranges, with a bitter edge, along with notes of caramel and especially crème brûlée. The palate is rich, with a pithy substance, there are bitter oranges like those on the nose, a lovely substance and firm grip. The flavours of honey and oranges, all long and very fine. Lots of botrytis character here too. A lovely wine, showing elegant maturity and great appeal. Undoubtedly one of my favourites here. 17.5/20 (July 2012)

Château de Thenon Cuvée Adeline (Saussignac) 2001: From a half bottle. A deep, orange-old hue here, clearly richer than the Prestige. The nose is all botrytis, with notes of biscuits, crème brûlée, burnt caramel. The palate has that richer, sweeter density that betrays the presence of a wealth of botrytis and residual sugar here, all presented in a now-mature fashion, with caramelised oranges, hazelnuts and almond paste. Rich, sweet and compact, with a solid midpalate and similar character right through the finish. Very impressive, although I think the more finessed balance of the Prestige makes for a more accessible glassful. 16.5/20 (July 2012)

Château la Maurigne Cuvée Petit Charles (Saussignac) 2003: From 50cl bottle. This has a rich lemon-gold hue in the glass. The nose is suggestive of lemon meringue pie, all citrus vigour with a creamy sense coming in behind, the predominantly lemon fruit nuanced with hints of lime and grapefruit. The palate sings bright and clear, with lemon, mango and orange fruit here. Face cream polish and a sorbet-like intensity to it. Long and delicious. It speaks less of botrytis and more of passerillage than some of the other wines, an effect of the hot and dry vintage perhaps, but despite this different style this is still delicious. 17/20 (July 2012)

Château la Maurigne Cuvée Mon P’tit Arthur (Saussignac) 2007: From 50cl bottle. A rich, golden-amber hue here, this wine clearly displaying plenty of richness; this comes through in aroma as well as colour, the nose loaded with scents of apricot, almond pastry and vanilla cream, along with a more subtle vein of honey-caramel. The palate is, as we might expect, rich and creamy, calling to mind the buttery pastries suggested by the aromatics, oranges and apricots. The texture is rich, and the wine full of vigour and life, and the two are very well integrated. Firm substance underpinned by a good grip and acid backbone,. Delicious. 17/20 (July 2012)

Château Lestevénie (Saussignac) 2007: From 50cl bottle. A fairly rich golden glow in the glass. This has orange zest and almond tuile on the nose, showing here a fresh, rich and deep character, with seams of golden fruit, biscuit and botrytis. The palate is no less characterful, concentrated yet bright, velvety and polished with a lovely nutty complexity, including nuances of pistachio and almond paste swirled in with the creamed orange fruit. Plenty of confidence here. Delicious. 17/20 (July 2012)

Vignerons de Sigoulès Légende (Saussignac) 2009: Stylish packaging but a very heavyweight bottle here. Bottle number 2844 out of 3700. A rich lemon-gold hue, redolent of lemon meringue pie aromatically, showing a fine citrus intensity but also a soft and creamy sense behind it. The fruit has a supple and appealing character, is bright and fresh, and there is indeed a creamy weight to it. The grip comes in the shape of a seam of bitter pith. Nice fruit intensity and presence here. Good, but not inspiring. 15/20 (July 2012)

Château Lardy (Saussignac) 2009: From 50cl bottle. A rich, orange-gold hue here. The nose is vibrant, very evocative, with notes of mango, apricot and orange, all washed down with a citrus cream. This very evocative style comes through on the palate which has a rich substance cut through by vibrant structure, leading into a grippy finish. Very attractive although perhaps not the lovely balance and definition of some cuvées, and a rather straightforward character. 16/20 (July 2012)

2012 St Emilion: Objection!

It’s not really news, is it? Did anybody really believe, despite all the changes put in place for the 2012 St Emilion classification, that the final listing would go unchallenged? Unlike the legal wrangling that came in 2006, however, this time the objections come not from proprietors threatened with demotion, but from an unclassified corner of the appellation.

As I indicated yesterday, it has been reported that Pierre Carle, of Château Croque-Michotte, is not content with the process of classification. His objections have now been made clear in a press conference held at the château; this is reported in Sud Ouest. The complaints are as follows:

1. The system of scoring, which I described in detail in my post on the 2012 St Emilion classification, was only made public in June 2012. This was eight months after all supplicants were required to submit their dossiers in application. This, says Pierre Carle, is like asking a student to take the exam before seeing the syllabus. And, according to Pierre Carle, the scoring system, once revealed, was seen to be defective. In particular, the criteria were not stringent enough (I assume not sufficiently rigidly defined) and open to interpretation especially as the markers moved through the supplicants’ responses.

2. The methods of tasting – time of opening and decanting bottles, serving temperature, etc. – were not disclosed.

3. Scores are awarded for the price of the wine, but following declassification in 1996 the prices obtained by Croque-Michotte fell. Thus it is the classification system itself, as it was in 1996, which has inhibited Croque-Michotte’s ability to regain classification in 2012.

2012 St Emilion classification

4. There are inconsistencies in the scoring of Croque-Michotte; these include a poor score for terroir, particularly for the water content of the soils, but then a good score for having a drainage system in place.

5. The scoring for terroir was based on a geological map drawn up by Professor Cornelis van Leeuwen (Cornelis, who goes more often by the name Kees I think, is a nice guy – I met him at Cheval Blanc once) is inappropriate. Van Leeuwen himself stated that any attempt to classify the wines (I assume based on the map) would be meaningless.

6. Developments at Croque-Michotte have been overlooked. No score was awarded for environmental work, but the vineyards were certified organic in 1999.

The response from Jacques Bertrand, honorary president of the Conseil des Vins de St Emilion, was that the INAO was competent and the system was clearly robust. Having looked at all of Pierre Carle’s complaints, I see that despite a few possible inconsistencies here and there I don’t think – set against the robust system put in place by the INAO – that he has a very strong case. And unfortunately for him, his complaint does come across as sour grapes. Personally I suspect he will not benefit from taking his complaints any further, and I think he would perhaps be better off concerning himself with raising quality, rather than fighting against a classification that is likely to be ratified as it stands.

St Emilion 2012 in Brief

There has been a lot of confusion over the 2012 St Emilion classification, for various reasons. First, although most St Emilion proprietors probably knew in June whether or not they had been ranked as they desired (because letters inviting appeals against demotions/failed promotions were sent out), they were only formally notified by letter September 6th 2012. The formal unveiling wasn’t due, however, until late afternoon, but once the news was received it started to leak out in dribs and drabs, by email, Twitter, phone call and the like. As soon as I heard about any confirmed classification I Tweeted about it last Thursday (so I was Tweet-Tweeting all morning) and the result of this was that a list was slowly built up. The Revue des Vins de France also kept updating a list, published here, but as this began to fill out some people took it to be the final version. As Trottevieille and Belair-Monange were some of the last to ‘come out’, some erroneously thought they had been demoted when they were seen to be missing from the incomplete list.

In addition, some estates disappeared from the list not through demotion, but through having been absorbed into other estates. Of these, the most surprising was Magdelaine, in a merger with Belair-Monange which I think very few people were aware of. It will only take effect with the 2012 vintage. Again, this led some to conclude Magdelaine had been demoted from the Premier Grand Cru Classé rung.

St Emilion 2012 classification

Lastly, some publications serve only to further confuse the issue by publishing stories that are factually incorrect. For example, the Revue des Vins de France published this story declaring that Château Croque-Michotte would be challenging the classification, stating that the château had been classed in 1996 but demoted in 2006 (and that proprietor Pierre Carle fought against this). In fact, Croque-Michotte was demoted in 1996 and has never bothered the classification since. It was not one of the properties demoted in 2006 – see my 2006 St Emilion classification report for those. Pierre Carle is threatening to challenge though – I can only assume that Croque-Michotte was one of the 14 (96 applied, 82 were ranked) unsuccessful applicants.

All the details on the process are included in my new post today on the 2012 St Emilion classification, and should it be of interest I also have updated my pages relating to the St Emilion classification per se (mainly its history and early revisions).

If, however, you cant be bothered wading through all that (and I would have some sympathy with you!!) here is the 2012 classification in a nutshell:

St Emilion 2012 in Brief

82 châteaux now classified, with 22 promotions:

4 of the 22 promotions are within the classification:
Angélus
Pavie
- both move up a rung to Premier Grand Cru Classé A
Canon-la-Gaffelière
Larcis-Ducasse
- both move up a rung to Premier Grand Cru Classé B

18 of the 22 promotions are new names, including:
La Mondotte
Valandraud
- both now Premier Grand Cru Classé B, the other 16 are Grand Cru Classé

5 châteaux disappear through mergers:
Château Magdelaine plus four others from the Grand Cru Classé level

3 châteaux are demoted, these being:
Corbin-Michotte
La Tour du Pin (owned by LVMH, vinified alongside Cheval Blanc, pictured above)
La Tour du Pin Figeac (the Moueix portion)

A classification which tends to promote and rarely demotes is perhaps safer from legal challenge, I suppose. It will, however, lead to perhaps justified criticisms of the classification. What is the merit of a system documenting success or otherwise, when you can climb the ladder without difficulty, but it seems very difficult for anyone to ever be knocked off their particular rung? I can see a number of other names listed in 2012 that probably merit demotion alongside those three above. I expect this classification will be ratified by the Ministry of Agriculture soon. And then we can all come back to it in 2022. See you then!

Antech Limoux 2010-2003

Here are four notes on wines tasted during a recent visit to Bordeaux. The residents of south-west France should give eternal thanks for the likes of Antech. These wines are available for a song; all those I report on here are available off the shelf in French supermarkets for about €6. At that price point they wipe the floor with the competition which includes co-operative Crémant de Bordeaux (I should know, I tried it: I couldn’t think of a tasting note that didn’t include the phrase “urinal freshener block”), négoce Saumur and green and nasty bottom-end sparkling Vouvray. I only wish a more comprehensive range of these wines were imported into the UK.

Antech

A quick recap before my notes. Crémant de Limoux (an appellation created in 1990) allows for Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc, a minimum of 30% combined, maximum 20% of either, the rest Mauzac, whereas Blanquette de Limoux is more long-standing and ‘traditional’ (created 1938) and is at least 90% Mauzac, the remainder Chardonnay and/or Chenin Blanc. Quality from a few addresses – Antech is the best I know – can be very good, one of the go-to appellations outside Champagne for good quality sparkling wine. The wines reported on here are all made using the méthode traditionelle, although there is also an appellation which allows for méthode ancestrale.

The wines are all stocked by E LeClerc, should you happen to find yourself in need of visiting a French supermarket in the south-west or Bordeaux do keep an eye out for these. The 2003 Crémant and 2005 Blanquette were probably chance finds, old stock which had perhaps recently been uncovered in the warehouse. I suspect a hunt for the 2008 or 2010 Blanquette is more likely to be successful.

Tasting Notes

Antech Blanquette de Limoux Grande Réserve Brut 2010: A fresh and very primary nose here on this very young wine, with plenty of clean, youthful, white stone fruit. A good style on the palate, rather perfumed in character with notes of white peach, very primary as per the nose, and rather floral too. Later, some Mauzac honey comes to the fore, and there are little softly effusive seams of minerals to be found as well. A very attractive wine with lots of development potential. I would keep a five or six years to see it at its best. 16/20 (July 2012)

Antech Blanquette de Limoux Grande Réserve Brut 2008: A lemon gold hue and an exuberant bead here. A good Mauzac character on the nose, with honeyed fruit, tinged with little pebbly, stony notes. A good and confident style on the palate, where notes of lemon and stone fruit, especially white nectarine, mix with subtle notes of honey and musk, especially as the wine opens up. Fleshy and flavoursome, reserved and straight, yet ripe, this is a wine of great energy. Good. 15.5/20 (July 2012)

Antech Blanquette de Limoux Grande Réserve Brut 2005: A rich, lemon-gold hue here, with an effusive bead, although it is quite fine in character. The nose is honeyed and biscuity, with suggestions of orange zest and macaroons. The palate has a lovely character, maturing with biscuity and oatmealy notes, albeit with lots of energy and zip alongside. A very confident substance, with just a touch of cashew nut seduction behind the lemony backbone. A long finish too. Delicious. 16.5/20 (July 2012)

Antech Crémant de Limoux Grande Réserve Brut 2003: An incredibly exuberant mousse in the glass, the wine showing a huge foaming energy, although it does settle down eventually. It has a pale golden hue and aromatically it is clean and evolved, with scents of biscuit, honey and oatmeal alongside light citrus fruits. The palate shows a soft and mature style to match this first impression, although it has a fresh, lively, prickly mousse underneath lifting the midpalate and giving vigour and life. A fresh, approachable and interesting wine. In fact, considering the price, it’s fabulous. 16.5/20 (July 2012)

See my Antech profile for more on this producer.

Pocket Guide to the Wines of Bordeaux

Pocket Guide to the Wines of Bordeaux 2012Latest News

After several enquiries from Winedoctor readers in the USA who have been disappointed to find that US Amazon lists my Pocket Guide to the Wines of Bordeaux as out of print, I am delighted to report that the book is available for worldwide delivery from Magbooks.

UK readers can still buy it from the UK Amazon, and of course if it is the Kindle edition you would prefer, this is available without any difficulty wherever you are. If you’re after a paper copy though, and local retailers don’t stock it, it is available for a good price (not including delivery) from Magbooks.

Visit the Magbooks site

About my Book

A 146-page A5 pocket (a large pocket, obviously) guide to Bordeaux, this guide features the latest Bordeaux news, a report on the Bordeaux 2011 vintage, vintage summaries going back 20 years, selected châteaux profiles (not just first growths but good-value Bordeaux too), opinion pieces, a guide to Bordeaux and its classifications and guidance on buying, storing, drinking and enjoying Bordeaux. Although a pocket guide its coverage is broad, so it should appeal to Bordeaux experts looking for the latest gossip and developments, as well as Bordeaux beginners looking for help in the Bordeaux minefield. The price is low (much less than the price of a bottle of Bordeaux today – something I discuss in the book), so it should make the ideal stocking filler!

For more detail on what the book covers, chapter by chapter, see this previous post.

Reader’s Reviews

I’m very grateful for feedback on the guide; here are some extracts from comments that have been posted on Amazon:

This is a really entertaining read and well worth keeping as a reference guide. The price is excellent too as you can own this book (although it is a pocket guide size) for little more than a cost of a single issue of Decanter.Liberace0425, Amazon

Well written, clear and incisive, it’s all a pocket book should be.TW Gisby, Amazon

It is quite impressive how it manages to be relevant for both the novice and the master at the same time.PeterPilot, Amazon

And a couple I have received by email:

Just wanted to drop you a quick note to say congratulations and thanks for your new Pocket Guide to Bordeaux. I wish this guide existed when I first dipped my toe into the wines of Bordeaux a few years ago!Anthony, Hong Kong

I am making my way through your excellent Bordeaux Wine Guide. It is most detailed and informative – I have found it an excellent read.Gerald, Hong Kong

(clearly it is selling well in Hong Kong!!)

Two 2006 Rieslings

Last weekend I attended a great wedding in sunny Cheshire – good company, decent wine, great food and an amazing live band. It was quite a party!

Having a few nights away from home obviously separated me from my cellar (oh, the trauma of it….), so I took along these two Rieslings – both under screwcap – for sipping on evenings either side of the wedding festivities.

Joh. Jos. Christoffel and Künstler Rieslings

Künstler Hochheimer Reichestal Riesling Kabinett 2006: Under screwcap. A richly coloured golden hue here. The nose is certainly suggestive of sweetness, with a candied feel to it, sweet and dried fruit, fresh and expressive though. It is a little oatmealy too. Lots of sweet and limey flesh on the palate, underpinned by lively acidity keeping it fresh. This is really appealing, with an almost chewy and very satisfying substance, and a very sappy sweetness into the finish. There is a lovely density to it, a soft and caramel-textured character in the mid- and endpalate, which is sweet and rich but fresh too, and very long. 17/20 (August 2012) AP number: 40 060 003 07

Joh. Jos. Christoffel Erben Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese 2006: Under screwcap. A fine, golden hue in the glass. The nose is rich in fruit and full of confident minerality. The aromas are reminscent of rich and vibrant tangerine fruit with notes of pear skin and sweet apple alongside. There is plenty of fine flesh on the palate, an appropriate weight for a spätlese, and plenty of vibrant, crunchy acidity running through the middle, accompanied by a very appealing minerally seam. This persists and dominates the long finish. And there is a really vibrant finesse on the end of the palate here. Delicious. 17/20 (September 2012) AP number: 2 602 041 005 07

Both are delicious wines. I’m not sure the Künstler would appeal to those seeking a very defined, correct, old-school Kabinett, but on the road (not literally) it served its purpose very well indeed.

Christian Chaussard dies

I was saddened to learn last night of the death of one of the Loire Valley’s more inspirational vignerons, Christian Chaussard.

Christian Chaussard

Christian Chaussard (pictured above at the Real Wine Fair, London, May 2012) has a place in the hearts of many Loire vignerons, having taught at the Lycée Viticole in Amboise for much of the 1990s. Although the syllabus naturally focused on ‘traditional’ (i.e. chemical-heavy) viticulture and winemaking, Christian had a reputation for slipping in references to organic and more ecologically-sound methods, which didn’t always go down too well with his superiors. Nevertheless it meant many saw him as an important figure in the more organic, ‘natural’ side of Loire Valley viticulture.

This was over ten years ago now, and much has changed in the interim. At that time Christian worked in Vouvray, but he was ultimately forced to quit due to financial difficulties. He also handed in his notice at Amboise, and spent some time travelling, which was when he met his partner Nathalie Gaubicher, a Swiss actress, comedienne and sommelier (quite a combination!). Together they returned to France, and in 2002 they eventually settled in the Jasnières region, establishing Domaine Le Briseau. A few years later came a négoce business, Nana, Vins & Cie. The wines feature Chenin Blanc (Chaussad’s original love, harking back to his days in Vouvray) and Pineau d’Aunis, and include labels such as Patapon and Kharaktêr, both of which will be very familiar to fans of Le Briseau and ‘natural’ wine. Christian was also president of La Mission de l’Association des Vins Naturels.

I understand that yesterday, September 4th, Christian was at work when he was killed in a tractor accident. I also believe he was currently battling cancer, which was in an advanced stage. A close confidant and friend – as I said, there were many Loire vignerons inspired and enthused by Christian – informed me last night of the tragedy. My condolences go out to Nathalie Gaubichet and their family.