Friday, September 15, 2017

“Clavis Orea” a brand new Saint-Emilion Grand Cru showing a promising debut…

“Clavis Oréa” 

a brand new Saint-Emilion Grand Cru showing a promising debut…

Clavis Orea Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Label @LeDomduVin

Clavis Orea is the brand new project of two men passionate about wine:

Lahcene Boutouba
(Picture courtesy of his Facebook profile 😉)

Lahcene Boutouba
A knowledgeable Sommelier who has been working very closely with restaurants, wineries, producers and even negociants for the past 28 years, including working for Michel Rolland and more recently working for/with Jean-Luc Thunevin

Franck Jugelmann (Picture courtesy of Copains d'Avant) 

Franck Jugelmann
A talented Maitre de Chai / Consultant (winemaker) that has sharpened his skills and craftsmanship over the years since 1992 by working for illustrious Chateaux such as Landiras, Haut-Brion, Mission Haut-Brion, Lagarosse, Candale, Roallan, Rocheron, Belair, L'Enclos et Fonplegade

Except his name, I do not know Franck, but his background and experiences lead me to think that he is a very competent and talented winemaker. 

As for Lahcene Boutouba, he is an old friend from my London years, back in the mid-90s, when we both were Sommelier in the English Capital restaurant scene.

Fairly recently, Lahcene contacted me and briefly talked to me about his new wine project “Clavis Orea” (“Clef d’Or” in French or “Golden Key” in English) with Franck Jugelmann.

Both inclined to quality and aiming to succeed, they have carefully selected the grapes from specific vineyards around the Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Appellation in order to craft their wine.  

I could sense that Lahcene was very excited and almost impatient for the world to discover his wine. 

He told me that he will send me 2 samples of their first Vintage (2015) for me to taste them with the team of the wine division of the company I work for and also the Sommeliers of the various restaurants the company owns, more especially “Le Pan Apicius” and “Dynasty Garden”.

The samples arrived about 2 weeks ago, yet, on the suggestion of Lahcene, I waited at least a week for them to settle down after their DHL trip from France to Hong Kong. 

In fact, I have waited two weeks and just opened them today, a few hours ago, after previously taking them out of the wine fridge where I have placed them to rest in ideal temperature and humidity conditions to recover from traveling.

Clavis Orea Cork in the Bottle

After taking a few pictures of the bottles, I uncorked the bottles and was really pleasantly surprised by the refined and agreeable perfume of this wine that immediately impregnated the surrounding air. 

Clavis Orea Cork

I pour myself a glass. Looked at the dense and opaque color. Swirled the glass a little. Inclined it to look at the color and density of the legs. Put it back to my nose. Inhaled a few times, analyzing the various components of the aromas. Then I tasted it…. Once, twice, three times… analyzing each detail from beginning to the end, long lasting ending I must admit….

Clavis Orea Opened bottle with Glass

Then I left the glass alone for at least half an hour as well as the bottle uncorked for the wine to breathe before going back to it for a second round.

I took my time for the second round to immerse myself into it as I like to do it usually when tasting wine…   

Here is what I can say about this wine:

Clavis Orea within the glass ©LeDomduVin

2015 Clavis Oréa Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Bordeaux France

Approximate retail price 23-25 Euros (750ml) available in France and UK (so far)

Fresh, perfumed fruity nose right after opening, offering very enticing fruity aromas of dark and dark red berries mingling with floral and slightly spicy, peppery notes with a dash of oak (coffee/mocha/tobacco) and pain d’épices nuances. 

It boasts a dark and concentrated color in the glass, usually a sign of a substantial wine. 

The palate is clean, focused and racy, opening up with dark fruits enhanced by a refreshing acidity, then build up into more dry dark berries, oak, earth, spices in the mid-palate balanced by the acidity and structured all along by youthful tannins lasting towards the long (slightly dry) finish. Overall, a very well made and promising wine, which combines balance, structure, and texture from beginning to the end with a pleasing, juicy and refreshing attitude. Although approachable now, this wine will definitely benefit from 3-5 years in the bottle.      

The tannins are fairly well integrated already and not aggressive for such a young wine. Yet, they will need a few more years to get more rounded and integrated, as they are still quite present on the tongue and the gum in the finish, bringing a slight touch of bitterness, which should mellow down with more time in the bottle.  After all this a 2015 vintage sample.

Lahcene and Franck, BRAVO! For this very promising wine at a very reasonable price. A beautiful new project to keep an eye on.


Dominique Noel a.k.a. LeDomduVin

A recommended article to discover a bit more this "Clavis Orea" project

And a tasting video (in French)

Clavis Orea Back label

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

THANK YOU for the views and likes....

THANK YOU for the page views and page likes....

WOW.... 1211 Pageviews within the past week (meaning within the last 7 days) is more than I ever get in the last 5 years.. which is quite normal as I did not write much over the last 5 years. In fact, I wrote more this past month than I wrote over the last 5 years....

....and 1211 page views are maybe insignificant for the most successful bloggers out there who may have more than 100,000 of page views in 7 days... but for a small and rather discreet blogger like me, 1211 is a milestone that I did not achieve to reach since the early age of this blog.

So THANK YOU for the views and page likes to you all.... hoping that you enjoyed reading the last few posts and that you will also enjoy the ones to come because I'm back on the blog writing scene with the intention to write more than ever before....

Thanks again to all the readers....

Santé and stay tuned for more posts and stories coming soon....

LeDomduVin a.k.a. Dominique Noël

Polite, civilized, behaved, accommodating, patient, agreeable, respectful...

I just retrieved this post from 2010, when I was working as Store manager in a wine store in New York. I published it at the time, then removed it into the draft folder thinking that maybe it was too much, but that said, I just re-read it (7 years later) and finally decided to re-publish it again... First, why not?.. And second, because I think it still applies to people attitudes and behaviors toward one another in general, and not only in New York, but in most big cities where I have worked over the last 25 years (i.e. Paris, London, New York and now Hong Kong).... However, you'll tell me what you think about this mild yet incisive "Coup de Gueule".... 

Coup de Gueule

Polite, civilized, behaved, accommodating, patient, agreeable, respectful, well-mannered… those forgotten words, which barely have any meaning anymore in our society due to most people attitude and behavior towards each other.

Yesterday was one of those days, busy, hectic and convoluted. The store wasn’t necessarily extremely busy during the day at first, yet quite a few customers celebrating the Jewish New Year (September 9th 2010) rushed in at the last minute and the phone kept ringing and ringing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining! No, on the contrary, it was great to see customers back in the store after a very quiet summer, therefore very good for business and for the moral of the employees.

However, sudden and slightly overwhelming business day like this can somewhat impart your judgment or reactions with other employees and can overlap on the customers too. I usually keep my cool and I am even more efficient and in control when busy, but yesterday, I think I lost control for a minute. You’ll tell me.

As I said, I was busy and couldn’t necessarily help all the customers and my colleagues were also pretty busy, so inadvertently, despite trying our best, we missed a few questions and immediate acknowledgment of some (not many but a few unfortunately). But overall, I think we’ve handled the situation pretty well. For my part, I managed to divide myself enough to cover most interrogation marks from customers within the store and on the phone.

However, in the middle of this chaotic afternoon while I was trying to put together 2 or 3 orders at the same time and answer the phone too, a man in his 50’s, surely a new customer because I never saw him before, entered the store. As usual, like for any person entering the store, I acknowledged him from behind the counter while I was answering the phone with my usual: “Hello sir! How are you doing today?”. But obviously he couldn't bother looking at me or even acknowledging the fact that I just greeted him, as he was self-absorbed in his thoughts and didn't even noticed me or heard what I said as I was probably invisible to his eyes.

You see, everyday, I greet all customers entering the store to be polite and welcome them in the store, yet you’ll be surprised, as only few and rare are the ones who care to answer me or even acknowledge my greeting or even myself. It is weird, I know, because normally the customers are the ones complaining about the greetings and services they get in retails and/or restaurants and/or offices.

However, over my last 8 years spent in New York wine retails, I realized that lack of manners and impoliteness happens too frequently for my taste and it is frankly irritating. The New York attitude is a well-known fact and New Yorkers can be quite rough and impolite at times. I think that when you say hello to someone or acknowledge a person when you enter or leave a place, that person should in return say hello back to you or at least acknowledge you, whether they know or like you or not, at home, at work and wherever else.

It is called being polite or even being civilized, having social manners, but in New York (or in most big cities in the world for that matter), forget about it, customers have as much attitude, ego and self-awareness as the staff persons assisting them in most retails and restaurants and offices. In clear, nobody really acknowledge anybody else anymore. Of course, people are entitled to respond or not, and it is their prerogative to give back your greeting by an answer, a smile or even just a little sign; yet nowadays, it has become a very rare thing.

Normally, in an ideal world and more especially if you've received a good parental/school education, you should always greet people, wherever you are, when you enter in a place already populated with other people: customers, staff members or whomever else they can be. As you should also greet anybody who enters after you, to make them feel welcome and keep the atmosphere and the “Feng Shui” of the place intact and without tension or awkward sensations. If you do not greet them, at least acknowledge them. As said previously, a look, a smile, a hand sign or simply a quick hello will do.

People don’t know how to look at each other without thinking about disturbance, annoyance or even harassment. Nothing seems to be good enough, but still everything seems to be due to everybody. Cell phones and text messaging have replaced most direct communications between individuals. People are even busier than ever, not with others but with themselves. Busy typing, answering emails and texts, constantly checking their posts, likes, comments, and other messages on various social networks, evolving in self-awareness, growing their self-importance, ignoring a bit more everyday the world around them to concentrate on their self-centered life resumed in a few words sent every few minutes to anyone who cares reading them and more especially dares answering them (i.e.: sender: “I’m watching TV and I’m bored” or" I'm eating a bowl of pasta...", followers: “me too” or “what u r watching?” or "having a dump...").

Means of communications via social networks initially created to increase interaction with one another are instead enhancing individualism, impatience, anxiety and needs for recognition and immediate responses to trivial and even insignificant matters conveyed to the world by means of nondescript pictures and short sentences....  

Does anybody really care about what someone else is doing every 5 minutes? Does people at work really work? or are they so socially involved with so many other people around the planet focusing on their everyday little life that they don't have the time to be productive and proficient in their job? Does social networking generate so much lack of attention? Does it increase misbehavior and wrong attitude? Is social networking a form of ADHD or is it what created it?

How many times did you enter in an office or a retail or any other place where the first person you encounter is plunged into his or her cell phone, searching the web or typing a text or posting on social networks or even just having a long phone conversation without paying much attention to you or even acknowledging you, while he or she is supposed to not only acknowledge you, but also greet you and help you and at least provide you with a service? How many times really? Especially within the last 5-6 years...

By now, Blackberry, I-Phone and Samsung logos (in the backside of the eponymous cellphones) must be indelibly carved in the palms of millions of hands around the world. Pretty amazing, isn't it?. What if tomorrow a blackout occurs and electricity can't come back for a while (anybody watching revolution?)? What will they do? How could they survive without their computers, phones and gadgets? Don't get me wrong, I also use internet and send quite a few messages myself to my wife, family and friends; but just by walking down the street, thousands of people don't even pay attention to where they are going anymore, too absorbed by their so important task to answer banal and trivial messages, or playing game or literally sinking into their so captivating social networking chatting with people they so called "friends" living miles away around the world without having meeting them at least once.

Some people are more into it than other. It is the fruit of our generation and I'm not against it.. I'm not better than anybody, I must admit that i spend myself quite a bit of time on social networks, but I just think that it created more individualism, self-awareness, ego-centrism and loneliness for most people. And to a certain extent, I'm trying to restrain myself from being too much on my phone or social medias by trying to have real interactions with real people rather than with a smartphone screen.  

However, to come back to my new customer who just entered the store while I was busy (yet I still greeted him but he did not), he started hovering the alleys of the store. Seeing that he couldn’t find his way around, I asked him if everything was all right and if he needed some help to find something, Unfortunately, as I was still on the phone taking some orders in the mean time, and said that from behind the counter because I was already trying to finish different things and my colleagues were busy too, and although he heard me, he still did not acknowledge the fact that I was trying to help.

At some point, he came by the counter and asked me where the Portuguese section was and I pointed it with my finger and voiced a few indications for him to find it. Obviously, he was a bit lost and my finger-pointing complemented with my indications were not precise enough. So I decided to stop what I was doing to show him the section in person, despite the fact that I was busy and had to put the person on the phone on hold, as in any case customers in the store usually come first. So, now standing next to him, I told him that our section was a bit small for now, but that we will revamp it within the next few weeks while restocking the store shelves with new labels for the Fall-Winter season.

Already in his exploring mode, he wasn’t paying much attention to me anymore, so I went back to what I was doing behind the counter. After just about a minute or two, I could see that he couldn’t find what he wanted, so I came to his rescue and ask him: “What type of Portuguese wine are looking for?” And believe it or not but he answered me: “I’m looking for a Portuguese Shiraz”. His answer blew me away. It was the sudden realization that this gentleman was somewhat a prisoner of the globalization system like too many people around the world.

Bewildered, I told him: “Although, they are quite rare in Portugal, you may find some Portuguese Shiraz, but you won’t find any in this store.” And I added: “It is your prerogative, but why a Shiraz from Portugal?” and he answered: “because they are good and cheap!

May be that was rude of me but I couldn’t resist saying: “but Portugal is making plenty of great inexpensive wines made with various indigenous grapes that are surely as good or even better than a Shiraz from Portugal…” little pose to see his reaction and I added “… there are some great cheap Shiraz from Australia or Syrah from France were they excel, why asking for a Shiraz from Portugal? It is like asking for example for a Cabernet Sauvignon from Spain where you can also find plenty of wines made from indigenous grapes, what will be the interest for me to buy such wine?

It was his prerogative to try to find this type of wine, and I wasn’t trying to convince him otherwise, I was just trying to aware him against globalization of taste and production. The way I see things, it is my prerogative as a conscientious wine buyer and wine boutique store manager not to fall in the globalization system of wines made from more international grape varieties in countries where you can still find unbelievably good wines made with indigenous grapes.

Naturally as the grandson of a winemaker from a small appellation, I will camp on my position for as long as I can on that subject. It is also my duty as a Sommelier and educated wine buyer to guide my customers towards the right wine that correspond to their taste and budget, but it is also my prerogative to also indicate when my customers are making less adequate choices and explain them why I think this way. Most generally agree, some disagree but at the end we always find a compromise ground on which we can discuss openly in order to make a final decision regarding the appropriate wine to buy to suit their need.

He didn’t agree or disagree but was obviously irritated by my answer. I told him that it wasn’t in the spirit of the store to buy such wine because we were trying to avoid globalization of taste and the spread of international grapes; that we were focusing on smaller artisanal producers often organic, biodynamic, sustainable or/and natural, which craft excellent wine gems with indigenous local grapes reflecting the unique characteristics of the terroir and the region of origin. Therefore, I insisted on the fact that we were not interested to buy such wine that could be interpreted as more international or commercial with lack of focus on the local market and the typicity of the country/region of origin.

Although I wasn’t trying to be, it was may be rude of me to answer like that, but I had good reasons for it. He obviously didn’t understand them and was offended by my remark. As he was leaving the store, he told me that it was a weird way from me to introduce the store to customers. It is just a matter of opinion and what we believe should be on our shelves in order to stand behind each label, bottles and wines that we buy.

It wasn’t intended, but I may have come a little off on this one because he obviously couldn’t understand why I had no interest or intention on buying such a wine, which, for me, represents no interest, even as great as it could be. I could have ordered it if he was a repeat or regular customer, and if I was sure that I could sell the rest of the other bottles; but I usually seldom buying a full case just to sell 1 or 2 bottles and for the rest of the bottles to seat on the shelves forever due to no interest. Consequently, He rushed out of the store without a goodbye and definitely no thank you either.

As a customer, he was all right, regular and without attitude, but I guess he couldn’t comprehend why I wasn’t trying to agree with him and what he was saying about his Shiraz from Portugal.

In fact, I think a lot of wine buyers (amateurs, connoisseurs or professionals equally) would have reacted like me. Did you ever try or buy a Shiraz from Portugal? Maybe one day, I will try one by curiosity, if one of my sales rep. introduces me to one of those. But in my 18 years career as a Sommelier and Wine Buyer, I never tasted such thing.

After all, I didn’t disagree or wasn’t disrespectful with him; I was just trying to make him understand the focus of the store and the reasons why he wouldn’t find such a wine in the store.

The point that I’m trying to make, is that in a difficult town like New York where most people have huge ego, lack of patience, complete self-awareness without caring about the rest of the world in many ways, complemented by aggressive mobile phone addiction, short listening skills, “king-in-their-castle” attitude and way of thinking that everything should be due to them, sometimes it is difficult to discern who is right or wrong in certain situations.

Customers complain about the service in retails, restaurants and offices, which is often awful with no manners, bad behaviors and lack of attention and respect, but sometimes they do not think or realize that their own attitude and sometimes haughty demeanor may partly have something to do with it. And Vice Versa.

Where is the time where people used to be polite, civilized, agreeable and accommodating on both side of the counter? I’m far from being perfect myself, but as Wine Buyer and Manager of a retail store, I try to be as polite, agreeable, accommodating and understanding as much as I can be with everybody including my colleagues. As a rule, I imposed my co-workers to be as respectful as they can with all customers within the store, outside the store and on the phone.

After all, the customers are the ones who pay you, think about it! Whoever you are and whatever position you have, if you are paid to do a job, it will mostly always involve direct (and/or indirect) professional relationship with customers, therefore your boss employs you but satisfied and loyal customers are the reasons you get the dough. And mutual respect and well-mannered behavior and attitude are necessary to achieve good results in communications and sales whether in a retail store, a restaurant or in an office. And mutual respect from both sides I mean, service provider as well as customer.

Think about it,


LeDomduVin a.k.a. Dominique Noel

Step into the Green! Drink more Biodynamic, Biologique and Organic wines (and spirits and food) from sustainable culture and respect the environment! Support the right causes for the Planet and all the people suffering all around the globe! Also follow projects and products from the Fair Trade, an organized social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries obtain better trading conditions and promote sustainability. Also support 1% for the Planet, an alliance of businesses that donate at least 1% of their annual revenues to environmental organizations worldwide.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

What is LeDomduVin?

The following post is one of the page of my blog (here) that I just enhanced with more details and pictures, and finally decided to publish it as a post too for those who might be interested by the origin of the name "LeDomduVin"

What is LeDomduVin?

"LeDomduVin" is many things, but above all it is a concept turned into a nickname initiated by a friend's joke during a dinner back in 1997 shortly after I moved to London.   

A young Sommelier back then, when we had dinners amongst friends at each other places, each of us was contributing to the dinner by bringing 1 or 2 bottles of wine or champagne (and/or food, cigars, port, cognac, etc...), and I loved opening the bottles and serving the wine for my friends during these dinners. 

As we had fun and conversations were in full swing around the table while eating and drinking, glasses were emptied quite fast and my roommate at the time who was a Bartender and who nicknamed me "Le Dom" (to make it more unique 😉) was always asking at the sight of the empty glasses for me to open and pour more wine: "Le Dom, du vin s'il te plait!" (which can be translated in English as: "Le Dom, some wine please!"). 

The nickname of "LeDomduVin" was born and stuck to me ever since... 

Shortly after, I started to realise that "LeDomduVin" was a great name, especially for a Sommelier and grandson of a winemaker with a passion for wine like me, as in fact LeDomduVin could mean or represent many things:

1. LeDomduVin is my nickname based on the expression of my friends "Le Dom, du vin !?!" (when glasses are empty 😉)...

LeDomduVin a.k.a. Dominique Noel
pouring Château Suduiraut in glasses
© LeDomduVin

2. LeDomduVin could also be the short name for "Le Domaine du Vin" (*) as "the field of Wine", meaning as a general subject of conversation or presentation about wine

LeDomduVin vs. Le Domaine du Vin © LeDomduVin

3. LeDomduVin could also be the short name for "Le Domaine du Vin" (**) as an estate or a property exclusively dedicated to wine (a winery or a wine store or wine museum)

Le Domaine du Vin by LeDomduVin NYC Boutique Store Style © LeDomduVin

4. LeDomduVin could also be the short name for "Le Dôme du Vin" as a place or a building where wines are under a dome (a winery or wine store or a wine museum)

Le Dome du Vin by LeDomduVin © LeDomduVin

As you can see "LeDomduVin" is quite versatile and can be interpreted whatever way you see it. 

LeDomduVin in a chronological order: 

1997 - Birth of "LeDomduVin" Nickname in London (UK)

First reference of the concept during a dinner with friends and establishment of the homonymous nickname given to Dominique Noël

2008 - Creation of "LeDomduVin" Blog (and unofficial start of Wine Consulting) in New York (USA)

"LeDomduVin" is an independent wine blog mainly about wine, but also including food, geography, history, travel, culture, tradition, book, music, photography, life in general and its many colors, aromas and flavors....

Tasted, written and edited by me, Dominique Noël a.k.a "LeDomduVin", a French-Bordeaux native naturalized American, as well as a professionally trained and seasoned Sommelier, often characterized as a Wine Lover, Food Enthusiast, Life Biter, and more especially knowledgeable Wine Buyer since 1992, with in-depth experience in some of the greatest wine markets in the world such as Bordeaux, Paris, London, New York and now Hong Kong.  (You can read more about the blog on the page "About LeDomduVin Blog" page) 

2012 - Official creation of "LeDomduVin" Sommelier | Wine Consulting in Hong Kong (HK)

"LeDomduVin" Sommelier | Wine Consulting provides services including 

  • Sommelier Wine Consulting Services 
  • Wine Tastings & Classes 
  • Market Analysis 
  • Stock Valuation 
  • Carte des Vins | Wine Menu Advice & Suggestions 
  • Wine Writing & Contribution to Articles in Websites and Magazine 
  • Wine Authentication and Inspections (Wine Quality Control) 
  • Brand Ambassador 
  • Broker (via 3rd party)
  • Oenotourism (via 3rd Party)
  • Producers & Wineries relationship 
  • Wine Trip Advices

Yes, "LeDomduVin" is all the above: a Sommelier, a wine blog, a consulting company and more. 

Thanks, Cheers, Santé!

LeDomduVin a.k.a. Dominique Noël

#ledomduvin #dominiquenoel #wineblog #sommelier #consultant

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Souvenirs of a Dinner with Outstanding Wines - Encore un grand moment en compagnie de Grandes Dames…

Souvenirs of a Dinner with Outstanding Wines 

Encore un grand moment en compagnie de Grandes Dames…

The wine selection of the dinner © LeDomduVin

Over the last 25 years of my career as Sommelier and Wine buyer for restaurants, retails and private clients, I have been lucky enough to have the privilege to buy, sale, promote, look after, open, prepare, conditioned and taste some of the greatest, oldest and rarest wines in the world.

I have always felt very humbled by these pieces of history, reminiscent of the past, of an era, of a specific year or vintage should I say. 

“Mémoires d’une époque, moments d’histoire dans des flacons de toutes sortes arborant des étiquettes aux noms prestigieux et reconnus de par le monde” as I say in French.    

Yet, I must admit that I never seen, taken care of, prepared, opened and tasted as many of these old and rare gems as within the last 5 years that I have been working for Goldin Wines as Wine Quality Control Director and Sommelier.

Our Chairman is an avid connoisseur and collector when it comes to wine. He mostly buys and drinks the top 250 wines in the world, predominantly French, from Bordeaux, Burgundy and Rhone.

And the stellar wine collection in the company’s and restaurant’s cellars is very representative of his love for high quality wines (proof in my previous posts about the Display Cellar at the company’s French restaurant “Le Pan Apiciushere and here)

At this point of the game, when you reached the pinnacle and play around the richest men in the world, wine is a must, a necessity, a way of showing your wealth as part of a luxurious, well mannered and educated lifestyle.   

His wine sharing generosity with his guests, friends and others from his entourage, is a well-known fact in the industry. And he always selects great wines to pair with his dinners whether as the host or as a guest.  

Although, he has his own Chefs and catering team to take care of the food and service, when it comes to wine, he often asked me to be the Sommelier to take care of the wines for some of his dinners.

More especially, if the guests are important Chinese or foreign people, as it looks good for a Chairman of his stature to have his own personal Sommelier, moreover being French from Bordeaux and grandson of a winemaker... (nothing wrong with self promotion).  

Looking around the archives in my computer, I stumbled across pictures of dinner back in November 2015. I cannot tell you where it was, or who were the attendees or even what was the occasion. I cannot either show you pictures of the people or the place, as this kind of dinners are very private and it will be indecent to reveal specific details about them.

It is one of the main duties and responsibilities of the people working the front house of a restaurant or private dining room (like Maitre D’ and Sommelier and waiters), to always respect the privacy and secrecy of the clients while providing them with an attentive and flawless service.

Whatever you’ve seen, heard or witnessed, you need to keep your mouth shut and do not speak of it or repeat anything to anyone. It is a Golden Rule in the restaurant business.

However, what I can show you is the wine selection of that particular dinner. Once again it was a treat for the eyes and the palate for the guests and a Sommelier night to remember for me.

As always, images are stronger and louder than words, so let’s have a look at this amazing lineup of old and rare ladies (as I like to call them) 

Billecart Salmon 1961 Magnum @ LeDomduVin

All in magnum size (except for the Riesling Auslese) and in the order of the 1st picture above at the beginning of this post: 
  • Billecart Salmon Brut Champagne Vintage 1961
  • DRC Montrachet 1989
  • La Mission Haut-Brion 1959
  • Haut-Brion 1961
  • Lafite-Rothschild 1959
  • Latour 1961
  • Mouton Rothschild 1945
  • Petrus 1961
  • DRC La Tache 1990
  • Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel (#17) 

Encore un grand moment en compagnie de Grandes Dames……  

Billecart Salmon 1961 Magnum Cork @ LeDomduVin

First a selection of what will be drunk during the dinner was made.....  

The Wine Selection of the Dinner selected in the private Cellar
© LeDomduVin

Then they had to be opened and prepared... 

The Durand Corkscrew with one of the corks © LeDomduVin

La Mission Haut-Brion 1959 Magnum © LeDomduVin

Lafite Rothschild 1959 and Mouton Rothschild 1945 Magnum
© LeDomduVin

Latour 1961 Magnum © LeDomduVin

Petrus 1961 Magnum © LeDomduVin

Then I had to double decant them... 

NB: double decanting a wine consists of decanting the wine in a decanter first, then put it back in the bottle, as presentation is better in the bottle in front of the guests

Dominique Noël decanting Lafite Rothschild 1959 Magnum © LeDomduVin

Dominique Noël decanting Lafite Rothschild 1959 Magnum © LeDomduVin

Et voila.... the bottles were prepared, decanted at least half an hour prior the dinner and were waiting patiently to be served... 

The Red wines selection for the dinner © LeDomduVin

Dominique Noël with the Red wines selection for the dinner © LeDomduVin

My god, what an amazing lineup!?!

It was definitely a very exciting night for a Sommelier like me and the wines being in magnum size showed beautifully and surprisingly youthful compared to their 750ml counterparts that I had the chance to taste previously in various occasions and places. It is not true for everything, but when it comes to the size of a bottle of wine, BIGGER is BETTER !?! 

The Macallan Vintage Selection

In terms of other beverages, a nice selection of The Macallan Vintage whisky was also available at the dinner including vintage 1939, 1940, 1953, 1954 and 1958

A selection of The Macallan Vintage whisky available at the dinner © LeDomduVin

The Cohiba 35th Anniversario Box

For the cigar aficionados (like me), a selection of Cohiba Cigars from a 35th Anniversario Box was also available.

Cohiba Cigars 35th Anniversario Box © LeDomduVin

Cohiba Cigars 35th Anniversario Box © LeDomduVin

The White Truffles d'Alba

I cannot show you the menu either, but all I can tell you is that there were a lot of white truffle shaves on the plates that night... Even the Chef Edward Voon ("Le Pan Apicius") who was cooking for that dinner, invited me to clean the truffles with him as they were too many for one man to handle (even for one skillful and talented Chef like him..😉)

White Truffles of Alba © LeDomduVin

Dominique Noël and Chef Edward Voon 
cleaning White Truffles © LeDomduVin 

Dominique Noël and Chef Edward Voon cleaning White Truffles © LeDomduVin

Dominique Noël cleaning a fairly sizeable White Truffle 
© LeDomduVin

Voilà, that's all folks... but stay tuned for more posts and pictures of old and rare ladies and grandes dames... 

FYI: For those who may have noticed the moustache, every November I participate and support "Movember", an annual event involving growing your moustache during the whole month of November to raise funds and awareness of men's health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men's suicide.


LeDomduVin a.k.a Dominique Noël

#billecartsalmon #1961 #drcmontrachet #1989 #lamissionhautbrion #1959 #hautbrion #1961
#lafiterothschild #1959 #latour #1961 #moutonrothschild #1945 #petrus #1961 #drclatache #1990
#fritzhaagbraunebergerjuffersonnenuhrrieslingauslesegoldkapsel #bordeaux #burgundy #germany #oldandrarebottles #oldandrarewines #oldandrarevintages #wine #wines #vin #vins #ledomduvin #cohiba #cigars #themacallan #whisky #whitetruffles

Friday, August 25, 2017

Le Pan Apicius Display Cellar - Yquem Collection

Le Pan Apicius Display Cellar - Yquem Collection 

On my last 2 posts (here and here), I was telling you about the Display Cellar of the French Restaurant Le Pan Apicius (Goldin Group) and the fact that it includes old and rare vintages of Petrus, Cheval Blanc, Latour, Lafite, Mouton, Haut-Brion, and other glorious wines.... 

...but more importantly, it includes one of the most unique collections of Chateau d'Yquem in the world outside the Chateau, dating back from 1825 to present with at least one bottle of each vintage produced in between (except between 1825 and 1856)..

Please note that Chateau d'Yquem did not produce vintage 1910, 1915, 1930, 1951, 1952, 1964, 1972, 1974, 1992 and 2012.. and therefore you will not find them on these pictures below. If you happen to find one bottle of one these unproduced vintages in the market, it is a fake... do not buy it (dugh)...

For those of you who will notice the date on the cork of the bottle of 1865 at the bottom of this post and may wonder about the pristine condition of the labels, the bottles of this collection were reconditioned (relabeled, recorked and even refilled (for some)) some in 1992 (and some in 2005 I believe).

The Yquem Collection on display in the cellar represent 143 bottles in total, including136 bottles of a unique vintage from 1825 to 2007 (the collection was bought in Auction a few years ago and also includes magnum size of some of these vintages, which have not been put on display, but that are kept sacredly in one of our other cellars).   

It is quite spectacular and amazing (I must say) to be able to see so many old and rare vintages in one place, more especially on display in a restaurant's wine cellar covering the entire wall of the corridor leading to the main dining room. 

To reassure some of you who may scream of horror seeing all of these lights on such treasurable gems, I just switched them ON for the pictures only. They are normally kept switched off (except some small ones in the background with no direct light on the bottles), and it is my job to make sure that they are kept switched OFF for the bottles to rest in the most ideal environment and conditions (temperature/humidity) to age slowly and properly, and be protected at all time against aggressive lights (even if LED).... 

Trust me, it was already very difficult for me to accept that these Old and Rare Ladies could be put in such display cellar in the first place (as it is far from ideal to preserve them due to many factors eventually affecting them). However, I had to resign myself to accept the unacceptable as it was a request from my chairman....    

In any case, such display cellar is quite unique for a restaurant and visually it is definitely a treat for the eyes of all wine lovers...

Well... I think that visuals are stronger and louder than words, so, here are some pictures of both the Display Cellar and the Yquem Collection for your wondering eyes....

NB: The pictures are unfortunately a little blurry due to the reverberation of the restaurant external lights in the window and the cellar internal yellow lights.. I tried to fix them a little but that is the best I could do... in any case, it gives a good idea of the Yquem Collection

Le Pan Restaurant Display Cellar © LeDomduVin

Le Pan Restaurant Display Cellar © LeDomduVin

Yquem Collection 1825 to 1870 © LeDomduVin

Yquem Collection 1874 to 1890 © LeDomduVin

Yquem Collection 1891 to 1901 © LeDomduVin

Yquem Collection 1902 to 1913 © LeDomduVin

Yquem Collection 1914 to 1925 © LeDomduVin

Yquem Collection 1926 to 1937 © LeDomduVin

Yquem Collection 1938 to 1948 © LeDomduVin

Yquem Collection 1949 to 1962 © LeDomduVin

Yquem Collection 1963 to 1970 © LeDomduVin

Yquem Collection 1971 to 1979 © LeDomduVin

Yquem Collection 1980 to 1990 © LeDomduVin

Yquem Collection 1990 to 2000 © LeDomduVin

As Wine Quality Control Director for the company and Sommelier of my Chairman, I'm the gate and stock keeper of this sanctuary, this Ali Baba cavern full of Liquid Gold. Therefore, I often visit the cellar and inspect these old and rare ladies to make sure they are aging gracefully and peacefully in ideal conditions and without getting harmed by external factors (i.e. light, dust, lack or excess of humidity, unideal temperature variations, etc...) and do not present damage due to these factors (i.e. seepage, leakage, change of color, label, capsule and/or cork degradation).

Here are two bottles that I inspected, 1865 and 1825, corked and reconditioned in 1992, for you to have a closer look....  

Yquem 1865 Capsule © LeDomduVin

Yquem 1865 Bottle © LeDomduVin

Yquem 1865 Capsule © LeDomduVin

Yquem 1865 Capsule © LeDomduVin

Yquem 1865 Capsule © LeDomduVin

Yquem 1865 Label © LeDomduVin

Yquem 1825 Capsule © LeDomduVin

Yquem 1825 Label © LeDomduVin

Yquem 1825 Capsule © LeDomduVin

Yquem 1825 Bottle © LeDomduVin

Yquem 1825 Bottle © LeDomduVin

Yquem 1825 Bottle © LeDomduVin

Et voilà...

Beautiful, aren't they? 

More posts and pictures like those coming soon, so stay tuned... 

NB: I didn't write anything about Chateau d'Yquem or even Pierre Lurton (that I had the chance to meet, eat with and chat with many times over the last 20 years in diverse occasions and countries) as countless articles and books have been written on the subject, and they already have a great website and other's prose tells the story and history of the Chateau like I probably never could...


LeDomduVin a.k.a. Dominique Noël

#yquem #yquemcollection #bordeaux #sauternes #lepandisplaycellar #lepanrestaurant #hongkong #ledomduvin