The Spirit Animals of Bordeaux 2016
“What is the percentage of new oak?”
“Compare your wine to another vintage?”
- “Lioness.” Mon Reybier, Château Cos d’Estournel
- “A caged lion.” – Hervé Berland, Château Montrose
- “An eagle. It is powerful and serene. It has nobility and aristocracy.” – Vincent Millet, Château Calon-Ségur
- “A phoenix.” – Basile Tesseron, Château Lafon-Rochet
- “A ram.” – Phillipe Dhalluin, Château Mouton Rothschild (obviously)
- “A shire horse.” – Hélène Jeunin, Château Latour
- “A stag.” – Jean-Charles Cazes – Château Lynch Bages
- “A griffon. It is a mixture between a bird and an animal.” – Christian Seely at Château Pichon-Baron, after I told him he could choose a bird or an animal.
- “A condor, for silkiness of the feathers.” – Nicolas Glumineau – Château Pichon-Lalande
- “A top model. Refined and intelligent,” proposed Jean-Hubert Delon of Château Léoville Las-Cases, although when I insisted that it must be an animal, they suggested Mowgli from The Jungle Book. But Mowgli is the young boy—so in the end, they chose the tiger, Shere Khan.
- “L’Ortolan.” [A French delicacy which some describe as “barbaric” since the small birds are killed by drowning them in Armagnac. Currently available at all participating branches of KFC in Bordeaux.] – Bruno Borie, Château Ducru Beaucaillou
- “A polar bear.” – Matthieu Bordes, Château Lagrange
- “A panther.” – Didier Cuvelier, Château Léoville Poyferré
- “An albatross for Gloria and a shire horse for Château Saint Pierre,” Jean-Louis Triaud, Château Gloria/Saint-Pierre
- “We had a cat that we found in the vineyard last spring that had been hit by a car. Its two hind legs were broken. We thought it would die but you know what, we still see him running about in the vineyard. So it is that cat.” – Thomas Duroux, Château Palmer
- “An alpaca” – Nicolas Audebert of Château Rauzan Segla, referencing his time in Argentina
- “A giraffe. It is very high and elegant with enormous visibility. Giraffes are very fast but humble.” – Alexandre van Beek, Château Giscours/du Tertre
- “A doe, a female deer.” – Edouard Miailhe, Château Siran. Unfortunately, he did not burst into a song from The Sound of Music.
- “A stag. It is a regal animal.” – Laurent Fortin, Château Dauzac
- “The Lion King. Because we believe in the legend that d’Issan was served at the marriage of Eleanor d’Aquitaine, who became the mother of Richard the Lionheart.” – Emmanuel Cruse, Château d’Issan
- “A panda.” – Florence Cathiard, Château Smith Haut Lafitte
“An albatross,” suggested winemaker Gabriel Vialard at Château Haut-Bailly. “No. A thoroughbred horse,” insisted Véronique Sanders. Cue lengthy private discussion outside and finally they decided to combine the two and offered: “A horse with wings.” In other words… Pegasus.
- “If 2016 Les Carmes Haut-Brion was a small animal, it would be a Monarch butterfly because when you see it, it is a small, narrow and tapering animal, of great length. But when it opens its wings in the wind, it covers an incredibly large space, with diversified but completely integrated colors. When it flies, we feel a sensation of balance and plenitude. For me, that is how 2016 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is.” – Guillaume Pouthier, Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion (via email, which is why his answer is more verbose than others put on the spot)
- “Un colibri. A hummingbird because it is bright, colorful, precise and lively.” – Frédéric Faye, Château Figeac
- “It would be a work horse, for its power and elegance” – Pierre Olivier Clouet at Cheval Blanc. Pierre Lurton disagreed. “No. It’s a jaguar.”
- “A leopard. The 2016 is powerful but very fine.” – Gérard Perse, Château Pavie
- “If the leopard hasn’t been taken yet, it would be our choice for Angélus!” replied Stéphanie de Boüard-Rivoal. Well, yes it had, by the other property that was promoted to Grand Cru Classé “A”. Why not two to keep each other company?
- “A lynx.” – Pauline Vauthier, Château Ausone
- “An oyster. It is a mineral like the plateau and when you open it you can find a pearl. And our winemaker Stephan works for an oyster family.” – Nicolas Audebert, Château Canon/Rauzan-Segla
- “For me, a lionness. The lion combines power and majesty, the lioness adds the feminine aspect.” – Jean-Antoine Nony, Château Grand Mayne
- “A black cat.” – Nina Mitjavile, Château Le Tertre-Rôteboeuf
- “A wolf.” – Jonathan Maltus, Le Dôme
- “An owl.” – Nicolas Thienpont/David Siure, Pavie-Macquin
- “A cockroach,” replied Clos Fourtet's Mathieu Cuvelier, off the cuff. Now, from a PR perspective, his answer is probably the stuff of marketing nightmares. However, that is just Mathieu’s refreshingly sarcastic humor. His train of thought was that in the event of a nuclear attack then the 2016 Clos Fourtet would be the only wine that survives. And if that was the case, I would have no complaints.
- “Peppa Pig,” answered Juliette Bécot of Beau-Séjour Bécot, as she is a young mom. Sure, her kids will be pleased. Peppa is always cool in my book.
- “A phoenix.” – Valmy Nicolas, La Conseillante
- “A panther.” – Jean-Baptiste Bourrotte, Clos de Clocher/Bonalgue
- “A Labrador.” – Ronan Laborde, Clinet
- “A black panther.” – Alexandre Thienpont, Vieux Château Certan
- “Two fledgling birds.” – Denis Durantou, L’Eglise-Clinet (referencing his artist wife’s latest work)
- “A Great White shark!” – Baptiste Guinaudeau, Lafleur
- “A killer whale.” – Olivier Berrouet, Petrus
- “Buffalo. It’s a dangerous animal.” – Christian Moueix (their offices are decorated with large and striking portraits of buffalo)
- “A unicorn, because it has always been a symbol of purity and power.” – Yseult de Gaye, Château La Création
To view my full Bordeaux 2016 En Primeur report, complete with an introduction, tasting notes and scores, please go to: France, Bordeaux: Make Bordeaux Great (Again) – En Primeur 2016
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