Tag Archives: AXA Millésimes

The 30th Marathon du Médoc: the World’s Healthiest Marathon?

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Last Saturday was the 30th Marathon du Medoc. As usual we had a big Pichon Baron team,  with many distinguished runners including Jamie Goode, whose blog on the run you can read by clicking here,  and Yves Bruno the butcher from Pauillac, perhaps the thinnest and fastest butcher in the world, who was second in his category “V2M” in 2h53m42s and 2nd fastest on the Pichon Baron team.  I would also like to give a special mention to Patrice Taris who was the 1st of our runners to finish in 2h45m52s and Cédric Zilligen who was 3rd with a time of 3h38m22s.  The fastest of our lady runners was Céline Nicolle with a very respectable time of 4h10m35s.
Photo butcher
Caption “Yves Bruno the butcher from Pauillac”
As usual there was a joyous party atmosphere. I love this event – it hardly seems right to call it a race, as though many people train hard and run great times, the majority of participants are there just to have fun – because it is a celebration of the truth which seems self-evident if you participate in the event, that wine is a natural and healthy part of a balanced life, in the same way as exercise and physical fitness. The ambiance is festive without being excessive, and indeed how could it be otherwise for thousands of people who are running 42 kilometres on the day. There is an excellent rate of participation from the chateaux, many of whom offer tastings of their wine to the runners, along with more conventional marathon refreshments such as water, glucose and bananas. Personally I avoided the bananas.
The day was especially enjoyable for me as I was joined by my son Alexander at kilometre 18 where he had been waiting for me at Château Pibran with many members of the team from Pichon Baron who were serving Pibran to all the runners who cared to stop for a taste.
Photo CS and Alexander
Caption “Here is Alexander running alongside me.”
We carried on until kilometre 21, when I called it a day. I had a lunch to host at Pichon Baron, and some members of our team get back rather fast. Well that is my excuse for just enjoying the first half of the marathon, and I am sticking to it. We then walked across the vines to the garden of Pichon Baron, and welcomed the members of our team as they progressively came in.
It was a wonderful day, and as always a triumphant affirmation of the idea that a reasonable balanced approach to the pursuit of pleasure and to the enjoyment of physical fitness makes perfect sense, and a great deal more sense than a radical, puritan attitude to either subject. Everyone present had of course spent long hours training hard in order to be there, but the festive and happy atmosphere of the day showed that there is no incompatibility with that fact and with the idea that good wine and good company are part of the joy of life.

Last Saturday was the 30th Marathon du Médoc. As usual we had a big Pichon Baron team, with many distinguished runners including Jamie Goode, whose blog on the run you can read by clicking here, and Yves Bruno the butcher from Pauillac, perhaps the thinnest and fastest butcher in the world, who was second in his category “V2M” in 2h53m42s and 2nd fastest on the Pichon Baron team. I would also like to give a special mention to Patrice Taris who was the 1st of our runners to finish in 2h45m52s and Cédric Zilligen who was 3rd with a time of 3h38m22s.  The fastest of our lady runners was Céline Nicolle with a very respectable time of 4h10m35s.

Yves Bruno, the butcher from Pauillac
Yves Bruno, the butcher from Pauillac

As usual there was a joyous party atmosphere. I love this event – it hardly seems right to call it a race, as though many people train hard and run great times, the majority of participants are there just to have fun – because it is a celebration of the truth which seems self-evident if you participate in the event, that wine is a natural and healthy part of a balanced life, in the same way as exercise and physical fitness. The ambiance is festive without being excessive, and indeed how could it be otherwise for thousands of people who are running 42 kilometres on the day. There is an excellent rate of participation from the chateaux, many of whom offer tastings of their wine to the runners, along with more conventional marathon refreshments such as water, glucose and bananas. Personally I avoided the bananas.

The day was especially enjoyable for me as I was joined by my son Alexander at kilometre 18 where he had been waiting for me at Château Pibran with many members of the team from Pichon Baron who were serving Pibran to all the runners who cared to stop for a taste.

Here is Alexander running alongside me.
Here is Alexander running alongside me.

We carried on until kilometre 21, when I called it a day. I had a lunch to host at Pichon Baron, and some members of our team get back rather fast. Well that is my excuse for just enjoying the first half of the marathon, and I am sticking to it. We then walked across the vines to the garden of Pichon Baron, and welcomed the members of our team as they progressively came in.

It was a wonderful day, and as always a triumphant affirmation of the idea that a reasonable balanced approach to the pursuit of pleasure and to the enjoyment of physical fitness makes perfect sense, and a great deal more sense than a radical, puritan attitude to either subject. Everyone present had of course spent long hours training hard in order to be there, but the festive and happy atmosphere of the day showed that there is no incompatibility with that fact and with the idea that good wine and good company are part of the joy of life.

The wonderful world of Tokaji Aszú at Domaine Disznókő

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Today I would like to invite you to experience the wonderful world of Tokaji Aszú wines with a virtual visit to our property in Hungary, Domaine Disznókő. Everything about these great historic wines is unique: the individual harvesting berry by berry of grapes that are botrytised or dessicated to the extreme; the vinification based on the maceration of the noble grapes in must or in wine, which enables the winemaker to determine the richness and the balance of the wine; the ageing of the wines in barrel in deep caves dug out of the volcanic rock. To visit Disznókő during harvest time is a bewitching experience, and this remarkable series of short videos featuring Laszlo Meszaros, the presiding spirit and managing director of Disznókő, gives something of the feeling of the magical quality of these great wines, and of the devoted attention that is necessary to produce them.

The Harvest :

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

The unique vinification of Tokaji Aszú:

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

The magic of the botrytis :

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

Eszencia :

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

Disznókő sous la neige
Disznókő

2011 was a Great Year at Chateau Suduiraut

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2011 was a great year at Chateau Suduiraut and blending those wines was really exciting. In fact, the last ten years have been something rather exceptional for the region. The last three years (2011, 2010 and 2009) were all magnificent. And before that we had a succesion of great vintages with 2007, 2005, 2003 and 2001. I am not sure there has ever been such a great series in the history of Sauternes. Let’s pay a visit to the vineyard and ask Pierre Montegut, who is in charge of Chateau Suduiraut, what happened during this year 2011 and why it is so remarkable.

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

The cot de retour
Château Suduiraut

A Vinexpo evening with a difference

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It was Vinexpo here in Bordeaux last week. A large number of the world’s wine producers and distributors together with international wine journalists and this year a good few high flying sommeliers descended on Bordeaux from Sunday to Thursday.

I actually thoroughly enjoy this week, though days can be a little bit long with dinners going on every night.

We decided to hold our own dinner at Château Pichon-Longueville Baron this year, but with a difference. We have often in the past held an AXA Millésimes event, either at Château Pichon-Longueville Baron, Château Suduiraut, or at Château Petit-Village. This year we decided that it would be fun to break with tradition and invite some leading Douro red wine producers to come to Château Pichon-Longueville Baron and show their wines, followed by a dinner with a Portuguese theme.

The wine Douro producers at Château Pichon-Longueville - Vinexpo 2011

Although Château Pichon-Longueville Baron was the main host, and actually organized the event, each Douro producer contributed and invited their own guests, so we were all receiving the guests together at the chateau. It was an extremely convivial event, with one of the most exciting wine tastings before dinner that I have ever attended: all 24 Douro producers showed three wines, almost all from the 2008 vintage, in Château Pichon-Longueville Baron’s circular cellar. Quinta do Noval was of course present, as was Quinta da Romaneira.

The full list of Douro producers was as follows:
Churchill’s, Quinta de Cottas, Quinta do Crasto, Duorum, Durham-Agrellos, François Lurton, Quinta da Gaivosa, Lavradores de Feitoria, Muxagat, Niepoort, Quinta do Noval, Pocas, Poeira, Quinta do Portal, Prats & Symington / Symington Family Estates, Real Companhia Velha, Quinta da Romaneira, Roquette & Cazes, Quinta de la Rosa, Sogrape Vinhos, Quinta do Vale Dona Maria, Quinta do Vale Meão, Quinta do Vallado, Wine & Soul.

Douro wines tasting in the vathouse of Château Pichon-Longueville

The overall quality of the wines was outstanding, and I think a revelation to many of the people there.  Officially the tasting was for two hours from 7 to 9 o’clock, but at 9.00 everyone was still enthusiastically tasting. It is quite rare at this sort of event to have to drag people away from the wine tasting to get them to come to the dinner, but it was so: nobody wanted to leave.

Douro evening aperitif in the park of Château Pichon-Longueville

Douro evening aperitif in the park of Château Pichon-Longueville

We then had some great Douro white and Rose wines as aperitif with various Douro hors d’oeuvres: cod variations, wok-grilled almonds, Portuguese charcuterie. Then we sat down together to a dinner with a Portuguese theme prepared by Mr Capdevielle. All the producers were free to bring older wines from their Quintas, and we finished off with Quinta do Noval Colheita 1997 and a number of other Ports from the assembled producers. It was a unique evening, and for me a lovely opportunity to spend time with so many Portuguese friends in the wonderful setting of Château Pichon-Longueville Baron. Everyone seemed to have a good time. You can link to the following blog by Evelyne Resnick to get an objective appraisal from one of our guests: http://www.winebrandsblog.com/2011/06/when-bordeaux-welcomes-portugal-wines/

Douro evening Portuguese dinner

the names of the Douro wine producers - Château Pichon-Longueville

Why launch this blog?

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Today we finally go live with this blog. Welcome and thank you for taking the time to visit.

As MD of AXA Millésimes I am responsible for a number of vineyards, in Bordeaux, Burgundy, Languedoc, Hungary and Portugal. I spend a large part of my time visiting them all, and I hope that this blog format might be an interesting way of revealing to interested wine lovers something of what we do, and of the life of the vineyards and of the people who devote their time to looking after them.

I shall try to post something regularly, and I very much hope that these postings will stimulate some questions, to which I shall try give useful answers, the aim being to make it as interactive as possible so that you can have a real feeling of accompanying me to the vineyards and get some feeling of  what goes on, and what is involved in the elaboration of  a Grand Cru wine.

We are going live now following the 2009 harvest. It has been a great year in Bordeaux, for the reds, Right Bank and Left, and also in Sauternes.  It was also a great year in Burgundy, of which more later. I started writing up a couple of things when I was in Portugal during august, so I post them up now, below, backdated as it were. But as from now, postings will go up as and when they happen.

I hope you will enjoy the site, visit regularly, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Christian Seely