We made the comment three weeks ago about how having a great team is a superb starting point for making great things happen. One of the highlights of the recent Cardan, Bordeaux trip was a visit to Chateau La Croix Taillefer in Pomerol, one of the great big name wine producing communes of Bordeaux. What we saw and learnt will have a big influence on the size and direction of our vision for our new Merlot block of Hourcat Centre.
One of the things I really respect most about all of the owners and vignerons that I meet is their humility, kindness and willingness to share their knowledge with other quality focused producers. Romain Rivière at Chateau La Croix Taillefer is no exception to that rule and I have to add makes absolutely brilliant Merlot based wines (95% Merlot, 5% CabFranc). We really got a vision as to how a well managed organic vineyard and winery can produce incredible wine.
Our picture above shows their premium wine and, as is often the case, the value for money from Bordeaux is superb. La Croix Taillefer also produces a super premium quality wine called Romulus, based around Romain’s name, which would have to be one of the best wines I have ever tasted. A 2003 is maturing nicely in our Cardan cellar.
Over a two hour period, we discussed almost every aspect of La Croix Taillefer’s operations, learnt about their approach to “minicuvé” fermentation and winery management, organic viticulture, vine density, use of oak barrels, wine maturation, market analysis, harvesting and grape selection…… Whilst we may have difficulty emulating the level of excellence displayed at every step by our hosts, we did start to understand some key variables that we will try and duplicate with our small Hourcat Centre Merlot block. For the first time, I have that vision that we can definitely create something very special from our beautifully positioned block in Cardan. I can’t wait to revisit Romain again in the near future – firstly to taste and buy some more of his brilliant wines but also to compare how close our vision comes to meeting the excellence we witnessed in Pomerol in early April.
To Chateau La Croix Taillefer and Romain Rivière, a huge thank you, good luck for the 2012 season and we look forward to spending some more time (and learning) with you in the future.