St. Emilion Primeurs Bio 2011 d'Aquitaine

This week’s blog is not a leadership session. But I do have to say…when you have a great team, great moments and great things happen. And being back here in Cardan has once again reminded me of that.

Our wonderful vigneron, Pascale Bervas has once again done an incredible job in the vineyard in preparing the vines for the season ahead no matter what the weather throws at us and I will write about that next week. Don’t forget to check out Facebook page for the latest photos then you will fully understand that last sentence! Over lunch on Wednesday as we discussed the progress and projects in the vineyard, she let me know that she had been able to secure two passes to Les Primeurs Bio d’Aquitaine. Every year in Bordeaux, there is a series of first tasting sessions – called a Primeur – for the wines produced from the previous vintage, in this case 2011. This Primeur was special as it was open only to Organic (Bio) producers from the Aquitaine region of SW France, featuring 50 of the region’s top organic producers, including newly certified Premier Grand Cru Sauternes Chateau Guiraud. As a first time visitor to such an event, I was like a young child in the sweet shop!

The selection of wines was breathtaking – this was not a “stand and drink” bar, this was serious learning, sniffing, swirling, sipping, chewing and spit it out at the end territory! Pascale took me round the massive tent to meet some key contacts and then we got started on the serious work! We learnt a couple of very important lessons as I talked, tasted and listened to the wisdom in the room.

Primeurs d'Aquiatine 2011 - the inside action

Firstly, I learnt that a significant percentage of these producers have been advised in organic viticulture by our own Albane Bervas, Pascale’s increasingly respected and very capable daughter who is our wine maker and viticultural adviser. We are clearly in the right place to get the best advice possible!

Secondly, I got to appreciate the openness, warmth and “down to earth” (no pun) nature of these owners and wine makers. We too must achieve that humility if we are to join this elite group.

Thirdly it was very clear that organic wine is not a passing fad or “greenwash” “feel good” idea. Ten years from now that tent of 50 producers will be twice the size if not more. Organic wine is the clear way forward and the quality of the wine supported that.

Fourth and finally…..Bordeaux is a much criticised and misunderstood wine region, largely because it is so big and therefore everyone has had a bottle of something from Bordeaux, ranging from a Euro 2 “Bag in Box” up to a Grand Cru. I was privileged to taste some really top quality red wines. Despite their youth and lack of roundness that will come with oak maturation, these wines were better than almost anything I have sampled elsewhere in the world. Bordeaux you are the best!

Now let’s see if we can arrange a visit to one of these producers to really see how they do it!