Jun 14, 2022
After a recent trip to the Médoc (the left bank of Bordeaux), I
came away with a whole new appreciation for the region. In this
show, I share what I learned and my main takeaway is simple: when
we are thinking about Médoc, never forget that there are real
people behind the bottle you drink and they care what you think
about the wine! It's a place of wonder, great modesty, kind people,
and exceptional wine.
Here is the list of SOME of the things I learned!
- Bordeaux is not “over”, “done”, “hopeless” or “doomed” for wine
and we need to stop talking about that possibility (me, included).
Jean-Baptiste Cordonnier from Château Anthonic in Moulis, and his
ideas around agroforestry is proof of that (the podcast with him is
forthcoming). As wine lovers, we need to stop buying into the
clickbait and know that the Bordeaux many of us know and love will
remain. There are people addressing how to adjust to the
- Real people live and work in the châteaux!
- For many of the smaller or medium chateaux, homes have been
passed down over generations. Although these people have
generational wealth, the chateau are their homes and they run the
business from these houses.
- For Château owned by wealthy people or banks, the homes are
more showpieces for the trade or public, but the people who head up
the wineries are real people (and they are employees – like working
there is their job – so they are regular, working people. Magali
Guyon of Château La Cardonne and Anne Lanaour of Château Meyney –
are outstanding, fun and very normal people who I thoroughly
enjoyed hanging out with and could talk about kids, inflation, and
culture with easily).
- There are quite a few families that moved to Bordeaux after
Algerian gained its independence from France. You can read more
about that time here. The way they
were treated when they came back was not great and some of their
families had been in Algeria for more than 100 years, so they
missed their homeland. That said, the success many had in Bordeaux
was a result of hard work and determination that still shows.
Château d’Arsac and Château Fonreaud/Lestage are both owned by
people who came from French Algeria and both owners are highly
At Château d'Arsac, Phillippe Raoux started
over after being raised in Algeria
- There are abandoned Châteaux in the Médoc – even in very nice
places! People (generally from outside of France) either invested,
thinking growing grapes was easy, or at one point had a family home
but could no longer afford the upkeep so they have left the
vineyards and the homes to nature.
- What is a technical director? The conductor of the Orchestra
(or winery! A technical director is in charge of the vineyards and
the cellar. They must know everything that is going on both worlds.
There is a cellar master and a vineyard manager, but the technical
director is in charge of final product, and must coordinate all
parts of making the wine.
Magali Guyon, Technical Director at
Château La Cardonne
- The Chateaux owners are frustrated by their image and they care
what normal people think about their wines! They want us to connect
with the wines and understand that there are people behind the
wines. They are not always savvy with marketing, but they want you
to feel welcome to come and visit! (it isn’t snooty, at least where
I went but still make sure you wear nice clothes and make
appointments ahead of time).
- Bordeaux is right near the BEACH! You could easily plan a trip
to do wine and beach. Although no one ever discusses it, it’s
something to think about. It’s worth visiting! There’s also a
forest for hiking.
- The FOOD is amazing, especially the seafood. But the veggies
are amazing too. Fresh foods, excellent preparation.
- Every appellation makes a fantastic wine that is unique.
Terroir matters a lot and it varies greatly. There were 10 million
year old fossils in the vineyard at Chateau st. Come in
Saint-Estèphe, which used to be covered by the sea.
- Vintage variation is a real thing – the place has weather and I
saw some of it in action.
Château Anthonic, AOC Moulis en
Château Siran, AOC Margaux.
With Edouard Miailhe, owner
Château d’Arsac, Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel,
Philippe Raoux, owner.
Château Chasse Spleen, AOC Moulis en
Jean-Pierre Foubet and Céline Villars Foubet, owners.
Château Fonréaud, Cru Bourgeois
Jean and Marie-Hélène Chanfreau
Château Meyney, AOC Saint-Estèphe
With Anne le Naour, Director
Château Livran, AOC Médoc
Edwige and Olivier Michon, owners.
Château La Cardonne, Cru Bourgeois Supérieur, AOC
With Magali Guyon, technical director
Château Phélan Ségur, AOC Saint-Estèphe
With Véronique Dausse, director
Château Mouton Rothschild, 1er Grand Cru
Classé en 1855, Pauillac.
Château Lagrange, 3rd Grand Cru Classé en
Château de Côme, Cru Bourgeois Supérieur, AOC
Guy Velge owner, José Bueno Director, and Maud Essertel commercial
Château Doyac, Cru Bourgeois Supérieur
Astrid and Max de Pourtalès, owners and Clémence their
Château Gadet Terrefort, Cru Artisan, AOC
Anaïs Bernard, owner
Thanks to Carole Vidal and Vins du Médoc for sponsoring my trip and
for putting up with me for 5 days!
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