Domaine de l’Arlot: launch of the new website

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Domaine de l'Arlot
Domaine de l'Arlot

We have just launched the new website for Domaine de l’Arlot: www.arlot.com. You can read and visualise far more about Domaine de l’Arlot by linking to the site than by reading anything I can say here, but as someone who looks after vineyards in several very different places, I can say that I find Domaine de l’Arlot to be very special.

Although AXA Millésimes is probably more readily associated with giant properties such as Château Pichon-Longueville Baron, Château Suduiraut or Quinta do Noval, Domaine de l’Arlot is nonetheless at the heart of what we do, and quite illustrative  of our approach to viticulture and winemaking. I was recently interviewed by Jane Anson for the South China Morning Post for a very interesting piece she wrote about Bordeaux and Burgundy, in which she interviewed several people who work in both places. I recommend you link to it to see her conclusions about the differences between Bordeaux and Burgundy.

I do not consider myself to be Bordelais Burgundian or indeed Portuguese for the obvious reason that I was born somewhere else, no matter how much I love working in all three places. Although of course there are huge differences, I am in fact as an outsider working on the inside  more struck by the recurrent themes and points of resemblance, than by any notion that these great regions and the winemaking theories that underly their greatest wines are somehow opposed to one another.

Whether working in the Douro Valley, Pauillac or Sauternes, the vital importance of the place from which the wine comes is something that one understands as a progressive revelation as time goes by. Naturally there are points of comparison with one’s neighbours, who can make very different wines from vineyards that are sometimes just a few metres away; but it is also an observable fact that within these great vineyards certain parcels produce wines of definable characteristics that can be consistently recognised in the tasting room, allowing of course for vintage variation.

The importance of place in determining the nature of a great wine is probably the principal lesson I have drawn from my experience of the past twenty years. Of course the wine does not make itself, and the dedication of many highly skilled and hard working people is necessary to enable that particular piece of earth to express itself in a glass of wine, but I believe that without the terroir all those efforts would be in vain.

And of course Burgundy is earthly paradise for any one who believes this. I do not think there is anywhere else on earth with such extraordinary diversity of terroir, expressed in such a fascinating and individual way by so many great producers and their wines. Within our own property you have the striking example of our two Clos Monopoles: Clos de l’Arlot and Clos des Forêts St Georges. Both part of the same property, on the same hillside, separated by a hundred metres or so, planted with Pinot Noir and cultivated and vinified by the same people, these two wines have strikingly different personalities, which are observable year after year when the wines are young, and which persist as the wines age in bottle. If you want a perfect illustration of what terroir means, buy a bottle of Clos de l’Arlot and Clos des Forêts St Georges from the same year and taste and enjoy the difference. Better still: buy a case of each, if you can find them, and repeat the experience often over the next few years!

Clos de l'Arlot
Clos de l'Arlot
Clos des Forêts Saint Georges
Clos des Forêts Saint Georges

Effeuillage at Château Pichon-Longueville Baron

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Château Pichon-Longueville Baron
Château Pichon-Longueville Baron

This week we are in the vineyard with Joël Dupuy, the chef de culture at Château
Pichon-Longueville Baron, who will show us what we are doing in the vineyard at the moment, the effeuillage.

As you will see, this process demands a lot of careful manual work: it is
designed to give the bunches of grapes maximum access to the available sunshine,
at the same time giving them protection from the hotter afternoon sun by only
removing leaves on the side facing the rising sun. It is just one of the myriad
tasks that must be meticulously performed in order to achieve the goal of having
the most perfect grapes possible at harvest time for making the wine of Château
Pichon-Longueville Baron.

If you have trouble watching this video, view the web version here

Château Pichon-Longueville Baron: the Traditional Racking Process

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This week, we are in the cellars of Château Pichon-Longueville Baron with Alexandra Lebossé who will explain to us the procedure of racking the wines as we do it here.

If you have trouble watching this video, view the web version here

If you haven’t visited Château Pichon-Longueville Baron before, or have not been here recently, this new underground cellar, which was completed in 2006, is a magnificent place both to work and to visit. It is situated under the stretch of water in front of the chateau, so that sunlight passes through the water, through the skylights and so down to the cellar below.

But as you can see, during the process of racking, Pierre Bustamante’s attention is focused entirely on the wine. It is vitally important work, one of the many repetitive tasks that demand the total attention and dedication of the people entrusted with the work, without which we would never be able to achieve the desired final quality in the bottle.

Château Pichon-Longueville Baron
Château Pichon-Longueville Baron

Noval Black

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Black chilled_bdV2

We were on the road in Paris with Noval Black a few days ago and filmed these two videos of two star Parisian barmen mixing their perfect cocktail featuring Noval Black as an ingredient.

Video n° 1 stars Joseph of the cocktail bar at the Forum in Paris:

If you have trouble watching this video, view the web version here

I think he called the cocktail “Le Douro Hollandais” in honour of the newly elected president of France.

Video n°2 stars Jeremy at Le Bar, Shangri-La hotel, Paris:

If you have trouble watching this video, view the web version here

Both of them were delicious but I think require fairly specialist skills in preparation, but they do show that it is possible to have fun with Port in this way, and that’s the main point.

Noval Black was launched in January 2010, with the specific aim of bringing Port to people who might not otherwise have tried it, although I have had some good comments from regular Noval drinkers as well. I had thought for a long time – and still do – that the image Port can sometimes have, linked to traditional images of old fashioned gents passing the Port in their clubs, has very little to do with the exciting vibrant wine that Port can be. The whole idea of the Noval Black project was to bring a Port to the market that would bridge that gap. It has been quite a success.

You can check out the website on this address:  www.novalblack.com

Apart from the film which is a lot of fun, there is a full explanation of what Noval Black is all about, as well as some more cocktail recipes, specially devised for Noval Black by the great Jim Mehan of the New York PDT Bar. But don’t forget that it is also extremely delicious on its own. Enjoy!

QR Code Château Suduiraut

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The new mobile site of Chateau Suduiraut has a lot of unmissable information.

There are some great moments we would like to share with you in the vineyard and in the cellars. Enter the world of this great wine of Sauternes with our QR Code.

The QR code is on the back of the bottles of all Château Suduiraut’s wines from 2010 vintage onwards.

QRCode Chateau Suduiraut
QRCode Chateau Suduiraut
Chateau Suduiraut IPhone
Château Suduiraut's mobile website