Stephane Derenoncourt

Terroir and the Art of Assemblage: Vieux Chateau Certan

Terroir and the Art of Assemblage: Vieux Chateau Certan

Post by Devon Magee | April 4th, 2012

Vieux Chateau Certan

2011 is decidedly not 2010 or 2009, yet from our week of intensive tastings in Bordeaux, it is clear that Pomerol is at the least, one of the standouts of the appellation and the vintage. Might cabernet franc play a role? According to Alexandre Thienpont, Vieux Chateau Certan’s owner and winemaker, yes. Here in the gravel and clay soils of Pomerol, fully ripe cabernet franc gives the wine a distinctive violet perfume. And for the first time in more than a decade, the variety ripened fully and uniformly. Its success in Pomerol is a defining characteristic of this singular vintage.


A Date With Derenoncourt

A Date With Derenoncourt

Post by Chuck Hayward | October 27th, 2010

It was just a year ago when I left my previous job to join the staff at JJ Buckley, and I knew from the outset that I would get a quick introduction to the world of Bordeaux. I knew the basics: the blends, the properties, the appellations. And I knew the names of the major and minor players. But, did I really? One of the names frequently dropped by my JJB teammates was Stephane Derenoncourt, who I discovered was one of the top consulting winemakers in Bordeaux.

The JJ Buckley team in Bordeaux

JJ Buckley’s recent trip there to taste the 2009s in barrel was a revelation for me. Besides providing a great opportunity to learn about the vintage at an intimate level, I was also able to discern the imprint of many of the consultants who work in Bordeaux. It became clear that Michel Rolland’s wines have a certain style, wines of great power and body with luscious and full weight. When trying the wines from the properties owned by Gerard Perse, I noticed strong tannins with substantial texture. Stephane Derenoncourt’s wines stood out, particularly for the harmony of fruit and tannin. They showed an exquisite balance even in the young 09’s.


Accidental tourists: Lunch at Troplong Mondot

Accidental tourists: Lunch at Troplong Mondot

Post by Chuck Hayward | Friday, April 2nd

When traveling to a wine region, keeping to schedule is important in order to maximize your time on the ground. But a certain flexibility is required as you never know what accidents might occur or what special opportunities may present themselves.

Sometimes this is nearly the same thing.

So it was during a late night soiree hosted by Stephane Derenoncourt that we found ourselves invited to lunch the following day at the famed

At Troplong Mondot with Xavier Pariente

Chateau Troplong Mondot. What to do? We had a totally packed schedule, but hell, we were going to be in in the neighborhood that morning at Ausone…certainly we could find an hour to squeeze in lunch! Good thing too, as our hostess Christine Valette wasn’t going to take no for an answer.  So after leaving the caves at Ausone, we sped off to the beautiful town of St. Emilion to procure a flower arrangement for our hostess and then on to lunch at the Chateau.

A visit to Troplong Mondot is a special thing. Consistently among the best of their appellation, this was validated in 2006 when Troplong was elevated to Premier Grand Cru Classe. And it’s easy to see why as we walked about the hill of Mondot in blustery weather. With a commanding view of the village and the vineyards below, the estate has numerous terroirs with which to pick and choose the best parcels.

I could see why Shaun could not say no to our visit as we met Christine and her daughter Margaux, our guide about the property. Just returning from an extensive stay in Africa to help at the winery, Margaux explained that she is the oldest of Christine’s five (FIVE??) daughters which caused a collective gasp amongst our party. I managed to refrain from asking if a merger could be had with myself and my four brothers! We later met Christine’s husband, Xavier Pariente and as we stood before this calm, collected gentleman, someone asked how did he do it (raise five daughters, that is).

“I am god,” he replied.

Lunch was fantastic. Informal and relaxed, an assortment of workers and visitors sat at long picnic tables covered with checkerboard tablecloths. A buffet of salads, plats du foie gras, and lentils followed by cheeses and much bread gave us needed nourishment. We had a chance to try an assortment of older vintages highlighted by a double magnum of the 1992, a perfectly poised wine with a palate of youthful fruit yet beginning to reveal the secondary characteristics of earth and truffles. A bit of sauternes from an estate owned by friends and we were off!!

We had to stay on schedule after all.