Thursday, October 18, 2018

Memories of my grandfather and my childhood in the vineyards

Memories of my grandfather 

and my childhood in the vineyards 

My Grandfather old "Pressoir" at my mother's house @LeDomduVin2013

Not sure why, but I'm thinking about my grandfather and my childhood in the vineyards (*). Probably because I was recently looking at old family pictures, like this old "Pressoir" at my mother's house (in the picture above). It was the one my great-grandfather and, in turn, my grandfather used back in the days, and it reminds me of this period of my life, growing up in a small village of the Côtes de Bourg, with my grandfather, surrounded by the countryside and vineyards.

In any case, I always think about my grandfather and will always remember him. He was like a father figure to me and taught me so much about life, food, and wine, and so much more. He taught me invaluable principles, values, and morals about life and people and how I should try to conduct myself with myself and others, with respect and humility.  He taught me that simple things in life are always the best and that a happy life is not the result of what you can earn or buy, but what you make of it.  

Growing up in a lower-middle-class family, we did not have much money and were not doing much traveling, but we had a decent life overall, without extras or excess. We did not need any extras or excess anyway, or any other superfluous things money can buy, as we were happy, our own way, and thankful for what we had. We had each other and life was simple. It was the life of the countryside rhythmed by the seasons and the vineyard's life cycle. 

My grandfather holding some bottles and his dog in front of his garden @LeDomduVin 2010

Despite having worked as a construction worker, my grandfather was also a "vigneron", a person who tend the vines and take care of the vineyards, as well as a winemaker, in the region of the "Côtes de Bourg" (north-east of Bordeaux on the northern part of the right bank), where I grew up.

Originally from Vendée (a department in the Pays-de-la-Loire region in west-central France, south of Nantes, facing the Atlantic Ocean), he moved further south to the Gironde department later on to live the rest of his life. He has lived all of his life in the countryside and never really liked the big cities. In fact, even if only 50 kilometers away, going to Bordeaux was a chore to him and he seldom driving there if he could avoid it.

He was a man of simple taste and small needs. He had been a blue-collar his whole life, and his daily attire consisted of his "Bleu de travail" (commonly known as the French worker jacket or "chore" jacket... coming back in fashion by the way), that he was wearing on all occasions, seven days a week, even well after retiring, as in fact he never really stopped working, and at the end of the day it was the only clothes he really felt comfortable in.

As you probably noticed on the picture above, another essential part of his daily outfit was his "Béret", (from the word "berret" in Occitan (Gascon) meaning “cap”), the unavoidable soft, round, flat-crowned black hat worn by most countrymen (and even women sometimes) in the southwest of France (and other regions of France too). This traditional Basque Béret never left his head no matter what he was doing or wearing (except maybe at night). He very rarely dressed in a suit, only on special occasions, weddings and funerals mainly, and it was a real burden for him to have to dress up. However, even wearing a suit, the Béret had to be on too. Most men of his age at that time dressed the part the way he did.

Côtes de Bourg Old Map - 1949 © by L. Larmat

Throughout his life, he lived in different houses prior to settling in the house I've always known. He even lived in the dependency of a Chateau at some point, when he was working at Chateau La Grolet, a 17th-century manor house producing a classic Côtes de Bourg wine, with a very good ratio value for money, where my mother and her siblings grew up for the most part of their childhood.

He settled down in the little village of "Comps" (you can see it on the above map), near the house of my great-grandfather on my mother side (a house that mother inherited at some point when I was still a toddler and where I spent most of my life between the age of 10 to 18 years old, and she is still living here nowadays).

Back in the days of my youth, Comps was a charming and tranquil "bourgade" of less than 300 inhabitants living in houses outspread in the vineyards, with a few patches of green fields where cows, cheeps, horses, and even a donkey were grazing quietly. There was even a wild-boar farm, where one could stop by to feed them through the fence. The village has a quaint little church in which (I can proudly say) I got married back in 2005. It felt very intimate and private.

My mother's house (also in Comps as mentioned above), was only a few parcels of vineyards away from my grandfather's house and therefore I was often at his house. It was rustic and showed sign of the passage of time, but I felt comfortable there with him.

It was a decent size farmhouse with quite a few dependencies, surrounded by a garden comprising lots of varieties of fruit trees (Apple, Pear, Cherry, Fig, Prunes, Nuts, Chestnut, Lemon, and even Kiwi), a vegetable garden where you could find pretty much all vegetables as well as a wild variety of flowers, plants, and herbs too. (You can see some of the pictures I took of his garden in a previous post I wrote back in 2010 where I was also writing about my grandfather, read it here)

Some of the vegetables and fruits of my grandfather's garden @leDomduVin 2007

This collage of pictures of some of the vegetables and fruits from my grandfather's garden brings back some sweet memories of him and of my childhood. Even the blue dots (or drop stains) on the tomatoes above bring a smile to my face, as it is what we call in Bordeaux "La Bouillie Bordelaise", a blue-colored mixture of  "Sulfate de Cuivre" (copper sulfate) and some "Chaux" (lime), that my grandfather used to prepare himself prior to using his old portable copper "sulfateuse" to spray it around, while I was watching all of it with big eyes hoping that he would let me try....

In case you don't know, "La Bouillie Bordelaise" is used as a fungicide sprayed in vineyards and gardens to prevent eventual damages caused by downy mildew, powdery mildew, and other fungi.

Old Copper "Sulfateuse" to spray "La Bouillie Bordelaise" ©LeDomduVin 2007

Apart from a multitude of vegetables and fruits in his garden, his farmhouse was also full of animals. Hens and roosters, rabbits, guinea pigs, turtledoves, goldfishes, cats and a dog were all living in harmony in this peaceful garden of heaven on earth. It was really fun for a child growing up in the countryside like me. I liked to pet them and feed them. Although all well fed, the hens were always hungry, running after me when I visited their "enclos à poule" (chicken coop) and always checking what I had in my hands for grains or other stuff to eat. The rabbits and more especially the guinea pigs were the same, you couldn't enter their coop without being harassed for food. And evidently, they eventually ended up on the table for the Sunday lunch or in Patés jars...  (hehehe...  evil or mischievous quiet laugh... well, sorry, not my fault if we, as humans, are at the top of the food chain...I love them... in my plate too 😊)

As you can start to understand (after reading the above), I did not grow up like some kids from rich parents, going on vacations, by the beach all summer long and skying in winter and traveling all the time (and whatever else rich kids used to do). Nope. In fact, I was rich too, not of money, but of what Mother Nature had to offer and the freedom of doing pretty much all I wanted, as I spent most of my school year's vacations and summer vacation, often alone at my mother house and visiting my grandfather leaving nearby, while both my parents were working. My parents divorced when I was 6 and half years old, and therefore school days were usually at my father's house and weekends and vacations were at my mother's house (for the most part).

And despite part of my family and a few cousins, I did not have many friends living around in the countryside, but I did not mind either.
  • If raining, I usually spent my days drawing all sort of things or writing stories and poems (that I never published, unfortunately...), while listening to vinyl discs. Or otherwise, I was reading French/Belgium Bandes Dessinées and American comics, and eventually some books too... but not too many... (as I preferred to write stories rather than reading stories).  I was also watching a bit of TV sometimes, but when I was young only 3-5 channels were available and the programs were not that great - and I did not have Canal + either - so, I was not watching much TV after all - and I did not have a computer or a Minitel either... and smartphone did not exist... sigh....  Nowadays city kids will never understand... 

"Les Carrières" (or stone-pits in English) near Prignac-et-Marcamps and Tauriac (Gironde) -
Photo courtesy of

  • And if sunny, I was riding my bike everywhere in the neighboring villages (and further away, up to Bordeaux sometimes - roughly 50 kilometers far) for a while. Sometimes stopping by the Gironde river bank, near Prignac-et-Marcamps and Tauriac, to admire the scenery and landscape. Sometimes walking in a nearby forest overlooking the river bank to access and get lost in "Les Carrières", the numerous stone-pits found everywhere along the famous limestone plateau going roughly from the Côtes de Blaye (to the north) down to the Côtes de Castillon (to the south), from which the world renown "Pièrre de Bordeaux" was extracted to build the beautiful city of Bordeaux as well as most villages of the Gironde (Saint-Emilion being probably the most famous village built entirely with these limestone stones). The carrières were my hideouts (very similar to the one on the above picture courtesy of  

However, whatever I did, after a few hours I usually ended up visiting my grandfather for lunch and spent most of the rest of the day with him, most days. That is how I spent most of my vacations (including summer vacations), for some people, it must not sound exciting, but back then that's all I knew and could do anyway, as we did not have the money for me to go anywhere else or do anything else. I had my bike and the countryside and vineyards to myself and was keeping my grandfather company. 

It was instructive to be with him, as he was doing pretty much everything himself and knew how to do pretty much everything (more/less). He was part of these old generations who grow up and lived during the war. He lived through hard times with far less than what our society of consumption imposes us to have or buy (directly or indirectly) for our daily needs nowadays. 

Dominique Noel (me) in my grandfather's garden at the back of the house @LeDomduVin2007

All (or most should I say) fruits, vegetables and herbs we ate at his house came directly from his own garden, where he nurtured them daily with careful and close attention. It was great to have to wait for the right season to eat certain fruits and vegetables, it makes you fancy them even more (not like nowadays where you can buy pretty much anything you want at any seasons).

Here, this little table shows you the vegetables and fruits you should expect to find only in season at a French Market.

Rarely he bought his vegetables or fruits at the local Saturday or Sunday market, yet it was still going there regularly to buy meat and fish, talk with the people he knew and often ended up buying a few vegetables and fruits to help the little "artisans" 😊. Sacré Papi, he was a genuine and generous man, always trying to help and please people, one way or another.

The eggs came from his hens. The "Paté de Lapin" came from his rabbits (mixed with pork meat he used to buy from a local butcher or at the market). He also used to make his own jams from various fruits found in his garden, his eau-de-vie of prunes and pears, as well as all of his "bocaux de legumes" (vegetable conserves) for winter. There was always a "Jambon de Bayonne" (cured ham leg) hanging and slowly curing "dans la remise" (the dependency behind his house where he stored all kinds of things), which was always coming handy for afternoon snacks or when it was time to take "L'Apéro".

Cured Ham Leg - Photo courtesy of here

L'Apéro (short for "apéritif") is a typical French traditional and cultural ritual, consisting of a non-formal gathering before dinner, marking the end of the day and usually inviting the family and friends or guests present in the house to stop all activities and have drinks and snacks while casually conversing about anything and everything prior the dinner... It is a great way to talk, open up, relax and cool down after a hard day at work or full of activities...

Just imagine, you leave your smartphone, tablet, TV, and computer aside and you communicate to and with "real" people while enjoying a drink or two and snacking goodies (charcuterie, cheese, pickles, olives, nuts) as a prelude to the dinner. You've got to love the French way of living... just for that... 😊 should try it some days, it is usually a cheerful moment worth having at least 3 times a week (Fri, Sat, and Sun).

Sunday lunch was traditionally a family lunch and usually the day of my grandfather's classic roasted chicken, or his famous sauteed rabbit with garlic and parsley, or the popular "Entrecôte Echalottes" (with shallots on top) grilled on the Sarments (the vines shouts cut then collected into ballots during winter), usually served with vegetables fresh from his garden. The french fries made with his potatoes were so rich and tasty and a delight with the Entrecôte (I remember picking them in "La Remise", then wash them, peel them, cut them prior frying them). Everyone invited was giving a hand to prepare Sunday lunch, and we always ended up being 6 to 8 to 10 people sometimes around the table. Family gathering were always fun (I miss these days deeply....).

My grandfather cooking his very popular "Entrecôte Echalottes" (with shallots on top)
grilled on the Sarments (the vines shouts cut then collected into ballots during winter) ©LeDomduVin 2007  

Look at those rugged hands... I love these hands. My grandfather hands. These are the hands of a man who worked hard all of his life, in construction at first, then in the vineyards, showing signs of the passage of time as he was handling everything with his bare hands (on the construction sites, in the vineyards and at the cellar, in his garden, with his animals, repairing tools and machines when broken, etc..). Like most countryside men, he was not afraid to get his hands dirty and was accustomed to physical labor since his very early age.  

In fact, my grandfather was a humble and quiet man, more comfortable working with his hands than delivering a speech or writing an essay. A man of a few words in general, except when he was talking about the good and bad memories of his life prior, during and even after World War II. He had countless stories about this period of time, which fascinated me. The hideouts, the resistance, the Nazis, the wine, the scarcity of the food and supplies, how some people help to quietly fight, their own way, and how some people collaborated with the enemy. How difficult things were back then and how people learn how to be strong, how to do everything themselves and learned how to survive and continue living despite a certain danger at their door.

I loved my grandfather for who he was and what he represented to me, for his knowledge and skills. He learned a lot of things through age and experiences of course, like anybody else, but because, younger, he mainly only had a dictionary and a few books from a collection of something similar to Encyclopedia Britannica to read. (Imagine if your kids had to read the dictionary every day? ).

My love for food first and then later for wine came from him, as he was an excellent cook (he raised his 3 kids practically alone, so he had time to experiment...) but he was also a winemaker, making his own wine and wine for other sometimes too. I must admit that his wine was not a very good wine, it was one these Cotes de Bourg wines of the late 70s early 80s, made in quantity not necessarily in quality (like it was back then). It was what we call in France "du picrate" or  "de la vinasse", basically a simple, not necessarily bad but not that great either, everyday wine. Drinkable it was and it served its purpose, being an accompaniment to the food on the table. My grandfather himself even used to cut it with a bit of water to cut the edges of it (acidity, tannins, bitterness, etc...), and finally, it was not so bad after all. We got used to it. 😊 

At the back of the house, in what he called "La Remise" (a huge dependency) that he used as a room to store all sorts of stuff, from the "patés" to conserves to ham but if you ventured to the back, this is where he put his barrels.

My grandfather and my son in the back of the dependency behind my grandfather's house ©LeDomduVin 2007

Aside of working in the vineyard

Work in progress and I will make changes and add to it, but I wanted to publish it anyway, as it is (once again) a very long post.... (and more personal than usual too).... it is not finished, I will write more...

And Papi, wherever you are now, know that I am thinking about you very often and I will never forget you. I'm ending this post with this classic posture of yours once you finished your meal... falling asleep on your chair for a little "siesta" after lunch... I love you Papi.

My grandfather falling asleep on your chair for a little "siesta" after lunch ©LeDomduVin 2007

That's all folks for today...! Hope you enjoyed this post and always remember, that people only cease to exist in your heart and in your mind when you stop thinking or talking about them... so always remember and continue thinking and talking about the ones you loved and lost...

Cheers! Santé!

Dominique Noel a.k.a LeDomduVin

(*) Probably as well as it has been 21 years since I left France to live my life abroad, and it has been 5 years already that I have not been to France on my own or for work, and 7 years with my kids, for several reasons. Thinking of it, it is insane and sad for a French (American) guy like me. One day I will go back... one day... soon I hope... 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The 1955 Classification of Saint-Emilion Wines - Will They ever get it right?

The 1955 Classification of Saint-Emilion Wines

Will They ever get it right? 

D: Prior to talking about the 1955 Classification, let's clarify a few important points about the classification of the wines of Saint-Emilion in general...

It is important to know that, since 1984, there are only 2 Appellations in Saint-Emilion
  1. AOC Saint-Emilion
  2. AOC Saint-Emilion Grand Cru
The AOC Saint-Emilion Grand Cru is then divided as follow 
  1. Premiers Grands Crus Classés A
  2. Premiers Grands Crus Classés B
  3. Grands Crus Classés
  4. Grands Crus

J: Wait a minute... How come there are "Grands Crus Classés" and "Grands Crus", are they not the same thing? 

D: I know it is confusing for most people, and that is why I wanted to clarify this point. 

A Saint-Emilion Grand Cru is not necessarily a Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classé

The request to be part of classification is at the initiative of the Chateau owners/producers. To be part of the classification, they must file an official record for each vintage and the vineyard conditions and management must respond to very specific and strict mandatory criteria fixed by the INAO.

For example, to benefit the "Saint-Emilion Grand Cru" Appellation, the estate vineyard's yield must be at 40 hl/ha and the wine ageing 12 months minimum. (If you understand and read French, you can find all the specific details of "Cahier des Charges des vins de "Saint-Emilion" here). 

As the classification ranking is reviewed every 10 years, producers must submit these official records for all the previously graded vintages. That way, new producers can submit their files to enter the classification and existing producers continue their efforts to maintain (or retain) their rank.

D: For you to have a clearer idea, I made this Saint-Emilion Classification Pyramide (a visual is often better than words)... 

Saint-Emilion Classification Pyramide © LeDomduVin 2018

N: Ah, I see, definitely clearer now... so, what about the 1955 Classification? 

The first classification of Saint-Emilion Wines... and the following ones... 

The Classification of Saint-Emilion wines is a controversial and complicated subject that has been written about countless times by journalists, wine critics and wine columnists, since its creation back in 1955. 

N: Wait.. 1955? Are you sure? I thought it was created in 1954, wasn't it? 

J: Well, I thought it was 1958... so, not sure in fact... but everybody refers to it as "The 1955 Classification" ... 

D: Well, guys, let me try to explain it to you in the most simple way and tell you what really happened to put an end to the polemics about when it was created... ok? 

N: Thanks D, it would be good to know because it is quite confusing...

D: The history of this classification began in 1954... 

It all started when the "Syndicat de Défense de l’Appellation Saint-Émilion" (Syndicate of Defense of the Saint-Émilion Appellation) requested the "Institut National des Appellations d’Origine" (INAO) to proceed to the classification of the crus of this appellation, via the decree of October 7th, 1954. 

Created in 1935 and controlled by the government under the Ministry of Agriculture, food, and forestry, the role of the INAO is to ensure the recognition and protection of official signs identifying the quality and origin of agricultural, food and forestry.

The INAO (nowadays called "The Institut National de l'Origine et de la Qualité") is the French organization in charge of regulating French agricultural products and implementing French policy on official signs of identification of the origin and quality of agricultural and food products, with Protected Designations of Origin such as: 
  • AOC: Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée 
  • AOP: Appellation d'Origine Protegée (PDO: Protected Designation of Origin), 
  • IGP: Indication Géographique Protégée (PGI: Protected Geographical Indication), 
  • STG: Spécialité Traditionnelle Garantie (TSG: Traditional Specialty Guaranteed), 
  • LR: Label Rouge 
  • AB: Agriculture Biologique (organic farming)

D: So, the INAO started the classification in 1954... 

N: Ah! You see J, I was right...

J: (sigh...)

D: Well, you were both right... As it started in 1954 and was officially recognized when it was first published in 1955, but it was not homologated until 1958... 

J: Ah! You see... well, that makes us even now N...

N: (sigh...)

D: In fact, the Classification was homologated with the Order of August 7th, 1958 supplemented by the Order of October 18th, 1958 approving the classification of the wines within the "Saint-Emilion" appellation contrôlée (published in the Official Journal of August 20th, 1958 and the Official Journal of October 31, 1958)

D: the 1st Article of the Order says: 

"The classification of the wines of the Saint-Emilion appellation is approved in accordance with the provisions of the decree of October 7, 1954, as amended by the decree of 18 October 1958."

1955 Classification of Saint-Emilion Timeline by ©LeDomduVin2018

The first Classification of 1955 included the following (by Alphabetical order)

2 Premiers Grands Crus Classés A
  • Château Ausone
  • Château Cheval Blanc

10 Premiers Grands Crus Classés B
  • Château Beauséjour (Dufau)
  • Château Beauséjour (Fagouet) 
  • Château Belair 
  • Château Canon 
  • Château Figeac 
  • Château La Gaffelière-Naudes 
  • Château Magdelaine 
  • Château Pavie 
  • Château Trottevieille 
  • Clos Fourtet

63 Grands Crus Classés

Château L’Arrosée, Château L’Angélus, Château Balestard la Tonnelle, Château Bellevue, Château Bergat, Château Cadet-Bon, Château Cadet Piola, Château Canon la Gaffelière, Château Cap de Mourlin, Château Chapelle de Madeleine, Château Chauvin, Château Corbin (Giraud), Château Corbin Michotte, Château Coutet, Château Croque Michotte, Château Curé Bon, Château Fonplégade, Château Fonroque, Château Franc Mayne, Château Grand Barrail Lamarzelle Fiegeac, Château Grand Corbin Despagne, Château Grand Corbin Pecresse, Château Grand Mayne, Château Grand Pontet, Château Grandes Murailles, Château Guadet Saint-Julien, Château Jean Faure, Château La Carte, Château La Clotte, Château La Clusière, Château La Couspaude, Château La Dominique, Château Larcis Ducasse, Château Lamarzelle, Château Larmande, Château Laroze, Château La Serre, Château La Tour du Pin Figeac (Giraud), Château La Tour du Pin Figeac (Moueix), Château La Tour Figeac, Château Le Châtelet, Château Le Couvent, Château Le Prieuré, Château Mauvezin, Château Moulin du Cadet, Château Pavie-Decesse, Château Pavie-Macquin, Château Pavillon-Cadet, Château Petit Faurie de Souchard, Château Petit-Faurie-de-Soutard, Château Ripeau, Château Sansonnet, Château St-Georges-Côte-Pavie, Château Soutard, Château Tertre Daugay, Château Trimoulet, Château Trois Moulins, Château Troplong-Mondot, Château Villemaurine, Château Yon-Figeac, Clos des Jacobins, Clos La Madeleine, Clos Saint-Martin

D: And that's about it really... Is it clearer now? 

N: Yes, I better understand now, started in 1954, first published in 1955, homologated in 1958

D: that's right...

J: But this classification has been revised a few times since then, so what happened after the first classification

D: Well,... the 1954 decree stated that the INAO must revise the classification every 10 years. 

Six classifications have been established since 1954:

Saint-Emilion 6 Classifications Timeline by ©LeDomduVin2018

1955, First Classification  (refer to details above and/or check the full list of the classified Chateaux here)

1969, 2nd Classification (see the full list of the classified Chateaux here)

The 2nd Classification, homologated by the Order of November 17th, 1969, included 
  • 2 Premiers Grands Crus Classés A (Unchanged from 1955 - still Ausone and Cheval Blanc)
  • 10 Premiers Grands Crus Classés B, including the following changes
    • Promotion of Château Beauséjour (Héritier Duffau-Lagarrosse) (formerly a part of Beauséjour (Fagouet), split 50/50 in between the 2 children of Chateau Beauséjour's Owner Pierre-Paulin Ducarpe.
  • 72 Grands Crus Classés, including the following changes (compared to 1955 Classification)
    • Promotion of Château Baleau, Château Dassault, Château Faurie de Souchard, Château Haut Corbin, Château Haut Sarpe, Château Laniote, Château Matras, Château l’Oratoire, Couvent des Jacobins
    • Division of Château Cap de Mourlin in 2 estates: Château Cap de Mourlin (R) and Château Cap de Mourlin (J)
    • Division of Château Corbin in 2 estates Château Corbin (Giraud) and Château Corbin (Michotte)
    • Division of Château La Tour du Pin Figeac (Moueix) with Château La Tour du Pin Figeac (Bélivier)
    • Demotion of Château Petit-Faurie-de-Soutard

1986, 3rd Classification (see the full list of the classified Chateaux here)

The 3rd Classification, homologated by the Decree of May 23rd, 1986 (approving the classification of the crus of the wines of appellation contrôlée "Saint-Emilion Grand Cru" and repealing the provisions of the Decree of 17 November 1969 (Official Journal of 27 May 1986)), included

  • 2 Premiers Grands Crus Classés A (Unchanged from 1955 - still Ausone and Cheval Blanc)
  • 9 Premiers Grands Crus Classés B, including the following changes
    • Demotion of Château Beauséjour (Fagouet) renamed Château Beau-Séjour Bécot
    • Château La Gaffelière-Naudes changed the name to Château La Gaffelière 
  • 63 Grands Crus Classés, including the following changes (compared to 1969 Classification)
    • Promotion of  Château Beau-Séjour Bécot (previously named Château Beauséjour (Fagouet)
    • Promotion of Château Berliquet, Clos de L'Oratoire
    • Château Cap de Mourlin (J) and (R) changed name to Château Cap de Mourlin
    • Château Curé Bon changed name to Château Curé Bon la Madeleine
    • Château Grand Corbin Pecresse changed name to Château Grand Corbin
    • Château La Tour du Pin Figeac (Bélivier) changed name to Château La Tour du Pin Figeac (Giraud-Bélivier)
    • Demotion of Château Baleau, Château Cadet-Bon, Château Chapelle de Madeleine, Château Coutet, Château Grandes Murailles, Château Jean Faure, Château l’Oratoire, Château La Carte, Château La Couspaude, Château Trois Moulins

1996, 4th Classification (see the full list of Chateaux here)

The 4th Classification, homologated by the decree of November 8th, 1996, included

  • 2 Premiers Grands Crus Classés A (Unchanged from 1955 - still Ausone and Cheval Blanc)
  • 11 Premiers Grands Crus Classés B, including the following changes
    • Promotion of Château Angélus and Château Beau-Séjour Bécot 
  • 55 Grands Crus Classés, including the following changes (compared to 1986 Classification)
    • Promotion of Château Cadet Bon, Château La Couspaude, Château Laroque, Château Les Grandes Murailles
    • Château Curé Bon la Madeleine change its name to Château Curé Bon
    • Château Lamarzelle and Château Grand Barrail Lamarzelle Figeac become Château La Marzelle
    • Demotion of Château Croque Michotte, Château Grand Corbin, Château Grand Corbin Despagne, Château Le Châtelet, Château Mauvezin, Château Pavillon Cadet, Château Sansonnet, Château Trimoulet and Clos La Madeleine

2006, 5th Classification (see the full list of Chateaux here)

In September 2006, the fifth classification was announced but was challenged by producers that had been demoted from "Grand Cru Classé" to "Grand Cru" only:  Château La Tour du Pin Figeac, Château Cadet Bon, Château Guadet and Château de la Marzelle. 

Legal actions were taken to dispute the 2006 Classification and at the end, it was declared invalid. The classification of 1996 was reinstated between 2006 and 2009, and a new classification was made after that, but it took another 3 years of backs and forths (indecision, delay, dispute, disagreement, etc..) prior the Classification of 2012.   

It included:

  • 2 Premiers Grands Crus Classés A (Unchanged from 1955 - still Ausone and Cheval Blanc)
  • 13 Premiers Grands Crus Classés B, including the following changes
    • Promotion of Château Pavie-Macquin and Château Troplong-Mondot
  • 46 Grands Crus Classés, including the following changes (compared to 1996 Classification)
    • Promotion of Château Bellefont-Belcier, Château Destieux, Château Fleur-Cardinale, Château Grand Corbin, Château Grand Corbin-Despagne, Château Monbousquet
    • Demotion of Château Bellevue, Château Cadet Bon, Château Curé Bon, Château Faurie de Souchard, Château Guadet Saint-Julien, Château La Clusière, Château La Marzelle, Château La Tour du Pin Figeac (Giraud-Bélivier), Château La Tour du Pin Figeac (J.M. Moueix), Château Petit Faurie de Soutard, Château Tertre Daugay, Château Villemaurine, Château Yon Figeac

2012, the 6th and latest Classification (see the full list of Chateaux here) 

The 6th Classification took much longer than expected to be finalized due to legal wrangling. It was published on September 6, 2012, and was homologated by the order of October 29th, 2012. It resulted from a new procedure, entirely under the authority of the INAO, with the assistance of the Ministries of Agriculture and Food.

It includes: 
  • 4 Premiers Grands Crus Classés A (including 2 promotions)
    • Château Angélus (promoted in 2012)
    • Château Ausone
    • Château Cheval Blanc
    • Château Pavie (promoted in 2012)
  • 14 Premiers Grands Crus Classés B (including 5 promotions)
    • Château Beauséjour (héritiers Duffau-Lagarrosse)
    • Château Beau Séjour-Bécot
    • Château Bel Air-Monange (including Château Magdelaine) (*)
    • Château Canon
    • Château Canon la Gaffelière
    • Château Figeac
    • Clos Fourtet
    • Château la Gaffelière
    • Château Larcis Ducasse (promoted in 2012)
    • La Mondotte (promoted in 2012)
    • Château Pavie Macquin (promoted in 2006 then 2012)
    • Château Troplong Mondot (promoted in 2006 then 2012)
    • Château Trottevieille
    • Château Valandraud (promoted in 2012)

(*) Classified B since the first classification of 1955, Château Magdelaine was confirmed again and classified as Grand Cru Classé B, in 2012, by the INAO. However, the estate, acquired in 1952 by Mr. Jean-Pierre Moueix (a Bordeaux Négociant and wine merchant, founder of the Ets. Jean-Pierre Moueix in Libourne), was merged with Château Bel Air-Monange, the other first contiguous Grand Cru Classé B, acquired by the Ets. Jean-Pierre Moueix in 2008.

  • 64 Grands Crus Classés, including the following changes (compared to 2006 Classifiaction)
    • Promotion of Château Barde-Haut, Château Bellevue, Château Cadet-Bon, Château Clos de Sarpe, Château Côte de Baleau, Château de Ferrand, Château de Pressac, Château Faugères, Château Faurie de Souchard, Château Fleur Cardinale, Château Fombrauge, Château Guadet, Château Jean Faure, Château la Commanderie, Château La Fleur Morange Mathilde, Château la Marzelle, Château le Chatelet, Château Peby Faugères, Château Petit Faurie de Soutard, Château Quinault l’Enclos, Château Rochebelle, Château Sansonnet, Château Tertre Daugay, Château Villemaurine, Château Yon-Figeac, Clos la Madeleine
    • Demotion of Château Bergat, Château Cadet Piola, Château Corbin Michotte, Château Haut Corbin, Château Larcis Ducasse, Château Matras, 
    • Unchanged: Château Balestard la Tonnelle, Château Bellefont Belcier, Château Berliquet, Château Cap de Mourlin, Château Chauvin, Château Corbin, Château Dassault, Château Destieux, Château Fonplégade, Château Fonroque, Château Franc Mayne, Château Grand Corbin, Château Grand Corbin Despagne, Château Grand Mayne, Château Grand-Pontet, Château Haut-Sarpe, Château l’Arrosée, Château la Clotte, Château la Couspaude, Château la Dominique, Château la Serre, Château la Tour Figeac, Château Laniote, Château Larmande, Château Laroque, Château Laroze , Château Le Prieuré, Château les Grandes Murailles, Château Monbousquet, Château Moulin du Cadet, Château Pavie Decesse, Château Ripeau, Château Saint-Georges-Cote-Pavie, Château Soutard, Clos de l’Oratoire, Clos des Jacobins, Clos Saint-Martin, and Couvent des Jacobins

That's all folks! for today... I hope you enjoyed this post and I also hope the Saint-Emilion classifications feel clearer now (at least for some of you).... and if you enjoyed reading it, then stay tuned for posts like this one in the near future. 

Cheers! Santé!

Dominique Noël a.k.a. LeDomduVin 

Most info taken or partly taken from "Les Vins de Saint-Emilion" website at   and thank you to Mr. Franck Binard, General Director of "Les Vins de Saint-Emilion", for his cooperation (he will understand what I mean). 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Fake and counterfeit wines - Investigation series: Chateau L’Angélus 1970 and the "L' " of Angélus

Fake and counterfeit wines - Investigation series: Chateau L'Angélus 1970 and the "L" of Angélus 

Today, I would like to talk to you about fake Chateau L’Angélus and the "L' " of Angélus. This post was inspired by a post on Facebook posted by Fabien Pizzinat (*) on the Facebook page/group called "Wine Business", Saturday, September 2nd, 2018. 

Fabien Pizzinat posted the following picture...

Fabien Pizzinat picture of a rather peculiar Chateau l'Angélus 1970 
bottled by negociant Philippe Serrande & Co. 

.... then wrote the following below the picture: 

"Bonjour! J'ai récupéré des bouteilles de Chateau L’Angélus 1970 mise négoce Philippe Serrande. Quelqu'un connait-il ce négociant? Merci pour votre aide. Fabien" 

which literally can be translated by 

"Hello! I just got some bottles of Chateau L'Angélus 1970 bottled by a négociant called Philippe Serrande. Does anyone know this négociant? Thanks for your help. Fabien".

As you can see on this picture from Fabien's post, this is a rather peculiar label for Chateau L'Angélus 1970 (personally, it is the first time in my 27 years career in the wine business and trade, that I see such a label of Angélus). Yet, it is different as it is supposed to be a Négociant label.

For those of you who may not know what it is, a Négociant Label is a label that has not been designed, chosen and labeled by or at the property, but by the Négociant. In short, for the last 400 years, Négociants (French, English, Dutch, Belgian, Swiss, Irish, etc...) used to buy barrels directly at the property, then shipped the barrels to their warehouse (either in France or in their own respective country) to age, bottle and label the wines, prior selling them, often under their own label, rather than the Chateau label (if any).  

However, getting back to Fabien's post, the various comments to his posts were very interesting and some very pertinent, yet it seems that nobody had a clear answer. 

Fabien Pizzinat even said that he wrote to Chateau Angélus and received the following answer from Jean-Bernard Grenié, the cousin of Hubert de Boüard de Laforest (Angélus owner), who joined the company business in 1987, and knows Chateau Angélus as well as Hubert, saying: 

"Il s’agit d’une mise négoce. Je suis extrêmement surpris de ce millésime, car normalement à Saint Emilion la mise en bouteille au château est obligatoire depuis 1970. Je n’ai jamais entendu parlé de ce négociant. Donc prudence, nous n’avons aucune certitude sur ce qu’il y a dans la bouteille. En tous cas, ce vin n’a certainement rien à voir avec un Angélus d’aujourd’hui." - Jean-Bernard Grenié

which can be translated by 

"This has been bottled by a négociant. I am extremely surprised of this vintage, because normally in Saint-Emilion the bottling at the Chateau is mandatory since 1970. I have never heard of this merchant. So be careful, we have no certainty about what's in the bottle. In any case, this wine certainly has nothing to do with an Angélus of today." -Jean-Bernard Grenié 

My first reaction was that if Jean-Bernard Grenié says that he is surprised (as in the 70s Bordeaux Angélus wines were bottled at the Chateau) and that he never heard about this wine merchant, then what else to add? These are probably fake bottles and the case is closed. 

Yet, (and you know me by now), as a Wine Quality Control Director responsible for the wine inspection and authentication for the company I work for, I could not resist but to do my little investigation. 

After all, this is part of what I do for a living and I'm curious by nature, so why not? Moreover, when in doubt, I need to find answers (and this post will complement the other posts that I already wrote on fake and counterfeit wines and bottles that you can read here and here and here, etc...).

Time to investigate © LeDomduVin 2018

Time to investigate again.... and determine if these are fake or counterfeit bottles or if there is a slight chance that they might be real...

A. The Label

So, let's have a closer look at this rather strange looking label above and let's compare it to the original label of Chateau L'Angélus 1970 below.

Chateau L’Angélus 1970 Original Label © LeDomduVin 2018

As you can see there is a huge difference between the 2 labels (yet, as it supposed to be a Négociant label, anything is possible.... but if it is, then this particular Négociant really did a sloppy job on his own label) 

Let's enumerate all these differences: 

1. The label design is totally different from the original Chateau L’Angélus label. 

2. The color is white instead of the regular yellow

3. The color of the letters is mono-color while the letters of the words on the original label are written with multiple colors

4. The font of the letters is also drastically different

5. The "L' " is not in majuscule, like on the original label, but in minuscule (a detail of a certain importance... omitted by the Négociant)

6. The drawing looks like a village port with some boats... Could it be the "Quai des Chartrons" in Bordeaux? ...the pier along the Garonne river where Irish, English and Dutch wine merchants and négociants established their offices and warehouses as early as over four centuries ago... it does look like it, doesn't it? 

Drawing - Details of Fabien Pizzinat's picture of the rather peculiar bottles
of Chateau l'Angelus he just acquired (1/2) 

.....while on the original label the drawing represents respectively the arches of the collegiate cloister of Saint-Emilion..... (easily recognizable by its arches and double pillars like in the picture below)

Collegiate cloister of Saint-Emilion © LeDomduVin 2013

...and the bell tower ("Le Clocher" in French) of Saint-Emilion's church further in the background 

Saint-Emilion Church's Bell Tower (Le Clocher) © LeDomduVin 2013

7. The logo with a chateau above a river surmounted by a "wolf" (?) or a "lion" (?) and a crown above it has nothing to do with Chateau L’Angélus (yet, once again, it could just be a design by the Negociant for its own label).   

Logo - Details of Fabien Pizzinat's picture of the rather peculiar bottles
of Chateau l'Angelus he just acquired (2/2) 

... even this old picture of Chateau L'Angélus dating from the 1930s (below), courtesy of Wikipedia, shows that the logo of Chateau L'Angélus has always been a carillon bell... not some kind of "wolf" or "lion" atop of a Chateau with some kind of shape in the middle that could represent a bell.... (it does look like a wolf, doesn't it?) (so, even if it is a Négociant label, why designing a label so far from the original?...)

Old picture of Chateau L'Angélus dating from the 1930s, courtesy of Wikipedia

8. The Appellation is "Saint-Emilion", which is fine, yet, the "Grand Cru" classification is not mentioned on this Negociant's label, which is really surprising knowing the Chateau L'Angélus was classified as "Grand Cru" in the classification of the wines of Saint-Emilion in 1955 (*), and therefore, even if it is a supposedly Négociant label (which I have a really hard time to believe it is), it should mention "Grand Cru", but it does not.....  (...a major detail omitted by mistake by the Negociant? again?)

(*) Read more about the 1955 Classification of the wines of Saint-Emilion here

9. The name of the owner, which appear on the original label (pride of the "de Boüard de Laforest" family, owner of this land and Chateau for the past 8 generations since 1782) does not appear on the label. Ok, I admit that it usually does not necessarily appear on Negociant's labels (as you will realize when looking at some of the Negociant's label examples below). Yet, I find it weird, because even if it was bottled by a négociant, it happened, (and more specifically in this kind of case scenario, with such an illustrious and renown family name in Saint-Emilion), that, sometimes, the name of the owner appeared on the labels of the bottles bottled by Négociants (of course, it depends on the agreement between the Chateaux owner and the Négociant, but for Angélus and the "de Boüard de Laforest" family, I doubt they will have authorized a Négociant label not mentioning their name... but maybe, who knows...?)

You see, as previously mentioned, prior to 1967 (when bottling at the chateau became officially mandatory in Bordeaux), some négociants / wine merchants were still buying barrels from the Chateaux, aging the wines and bottling and labeling themselves in Bordeaux (or even elsewhere like UK, Belgium, Holland, etc...), and we can distinguish 2 types of Négociant's label.

1. The additional label: 

Some Négociants kept the original label and added their name either on an additional label or directly on the label. Here are 2 examples of an additional label below the main label.

Like this label of Chateau Latour 1945 aged and bottled by Louis Eschenauer (Bordeaux) a Negociant house established in 1821.

Chateau Latour 1945 aged and bottled by Louis Eschenauer (Bordeaux) © LeDomduVin 2016

Or like for this Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1947 with the additional label of "Sichel & Co." a family owned Bordeaux Négociant house established in 1883, and still in activity after six generations of the Sichel family succeeding to one another at the company’s helm.

Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1947
with the additional label of "Sichel & Co." © LeDomduVin2018

2. The Négociant own label

Some Négociants designed their own label, some drastically different than the original (as it is supposedly the case for this Angelus 1970) and the name of the owner or other details from the original label did not necessarily appear on the Negociant's label (which could be the case for this specific label of Angelus 1970, you never know...).

Here are 3 examples of Negociant's Label:

This label of Chateau L'Angelus 1966 aged and bottled by Maison A. de Luze & Fils, a Bordeaux based Negociant house, founded by Baron Alfred de Luze in 1820, specializing in the maturing of great Bordeaux wines.

Chateau L'Angelus 1966 aged and bottled by A. de Luze (Bordeaux)

Or this label of Chateau Pedesclaux 1957 aged and bottled by Grafé Lecocq (Belgium), a Belgium Négociant house established in 1879 by Henri Grafé and his wife Léontine Lecocq, specialized in aging themselves wines bought in bulk from French estate in Bordeaux (predominantly) but also from other regions.

Chateau Pedesclaux 1967 aged and bottled by Grafé Lecocq (Namur, Belgium) © LeDomduVin 2018

Or even this rare label of Chateau Petrus 1947 aged and bottled by J. Vandermeulen-Decanniere (Ostende, Belgium), a house that was really active for roughly about 60 years between the late 1890s to 1955, and specialized in buying barrels directly at the property, having access to the barrel cellars of some of the best Bordeaux-Châteaux and Burgundy domains, then shipping these barrels to Ostende to let the wines mature in their warehouse, sometimes for even longer than they will have been aged at the Chateaux (3-5 years), prior bottling and labeling the wines with their own labels.

Chateau Petrus 1947 aged and bottled by J. Vandermeulen-Decanniere (Ostende, Belgium) © LeDomduVin 2018

So, as you can see from these examples above, we could say that Fabien Pizzinat's bottles might be real after all, as the labels on his bottles could simply be the real labels from a Négociant called Philippe Serrande & Cie.

Yet, looking at this 1970 Angélus label again, it seems to me that they are too many awkward details to believe that these bottles are real. And if they are, the negociant who bottled and labeled them, supposedly called "Philippe Serrande & Cie." really did a poor job with this label. The work of an amateur I should say with no respect for the brand or the name of the owner (if this label is real that is).     

Historically speaking, although, bottling at the Chateau was pioneered by some highly regarded producers and Chateaux owners as early as the 1920s, (like Baron Philippe de Rothschild who decided in 1924 that all the wines of Chateau Mouton Rothschild should be bottled and labeled at the chateau and asked asks Jean Carlu to design the label for this specific vintage)...

Château Mouton Rothschild 1924 - Jean Carlu label © LeDomduVin 2018 only became mandatory for Bordeaux Chateaux to bottle their wine at the Chateau in 1967. Yet, it is interesting to know, as a fact, that up until the mid-70s (and even late 70s, early 80s), many Chateaux in Bordeaux did not have the mean, the will, the place or the space to do the bottling, corking, and labeling at the Chateau (even nowadays some Chateaux and small producers still don't). 

Most of them were (and some still are) doing it by hand, one bottle after another, filling up the bottles and corking each bottle with a wine bottle corker machine (more modern this day than the one below, fortunately for them) (my grandfather used one exactly the same as the one in this picture).

French Antique Wine Corker "La Meilleur",
Paris, early 20th century - photo courtesy of 

Hand bottling and labeling were both time-consuming and tedious, and not all Chateaux could afford to have a bottling belt at the Chateau or the space to put it. Therefore, when not doing it by hand, they hired companies which own bottling belt mounted on the trailer of a truck, passing by, Chateau after Chateau, to bottle and/or cork (and even sometimes label) the bottles.

Bottling Belt © LeDomduVin 2013

Anyhow, let's go back to these Angélus 1970 labels..... now that we closely looked at all these details, the question remains: 

Could these bottles of Angélus 1970 be real or not?  

As the label could be a Négociant's label, it is very possible that they could be real, and I will give them the benefice of the doubt for lack of info and data on this particular Négociant, but deep inside,  I'm still very suspicious looking at these labels again...)

B. The Négociant

So, to further investigate, let's see what we can find about this so-called Négociant "Philippe Serrande & Cie". 

When googling "Philippe Serrande" nothing really interesting comes up except a Fine Jeweller in Canada. 

When googling "Philippe Serrande Wine" Vivino shows 2 results here, and for "Philippe Serrande & Cie", or even "Philippe Serrande & Cie wine" the pictures are more interesting showing various examples of well-known Bordeaux wines in old vintages ranging from the 50s to the 80s. 

Diverse Philippe Serrande & Cie Labels found on Google  - Collage by LeDomduVin 2016

So, it seems that Philippe Serrande & Cie. might have really existed and even was a Bordeaux based Négociant after all... yet, (as far as I could search and after asking the question to a few people), no historical data or any other info can be found on this Negociant House... 

And strangely enough, the first few websites offering these wines by Philippe Serrande & Cie are Chinese online auctions (like "ARTFOX" here and "en.51BidLive" here).... literally nothing in France... there is also an auction house called "DognyAuction" here (apparently, in Switzerland.... never heard of it in my life)

I'm cautious and suspicious by nature when it comes to wine... but that's normal for a Wine Quality Control Director like me..... so I looked a bit closer at some of these labels found on the internet, more especially this following one.... look at it closely.... (found on and courtesy of the Dogny Auction website)

Chateau l'Angélus 1964 - photo courtesy of

Now that's very interesting because, although it is "Chateau l'Angélus" at Pomerol, (the counterpart of the one at Saint-Emilion), this label is also very different from the original label of  Chateau l'Angélus Pomerol 1964 below (courtesy of and strangely enough (or...but of course!!! should I say...) it is part of the wines labeled and shipped in bulk by ("expédié en cercles par..." ) Philippe Serrande & Cie.

"Expédié en cercles" is an old French expression which literally means "sent/shipped in bulk/in barrels" (still used by some people in the wine trade, like in Switzerland for example).

"En cercles" literally meaning "within circles" referring to the metallic rings of the barrels (maintaining the staves).

Isn't it strange? Or is it just me....

Chateau l'Angélus 1964 - photo courtesy of 

I mean, look at both labels closely, they have nothing to do with one another.. because it is a Negociant's label I hear you say... well, maybe...  (Chateau l'Angelus at Pomerol is also a strange story... but this could be the subject of another post in the near future maybe....)

However, my point is that it seems that all the labels of the wines bottled, labeled and/or wine shipped in bulk ("Expédié en cercles") by Philippe Serrande & Cie are totally different from the original labels. And therefore, it is really difficult for me to define whether these rather peculiar labels are real or not, without more info on this Négociant (like at which period he used to exist and was in business?). 

But it still seems fishy to me, because it seems that all these wines are mainly sold via and/or through auction houses and that the only vintages that can be found are all between the 1950s and the 80s, meaning that they would be very easy to fake and counterfeit knowing all the uncertainty surrounding this rather unknown Négociant. Moreover, it makes these labels suspicious and therefore particularly prone to falsification.   

C. Conclusion

I will stop my investigation here for time constraint reasons and more especially for lack of information and historical facts about this Négociant and the type of business he was conducting and when. 

All I can say is that back in 1970, Chateau L'Angélus at Saint-Emilion produced, bottled and labeled all of its wines with the renown and easily recognizable yellow label that everybody knows. 

Whether some wines of Chateau L'Angelus were sold in bulk/barrels to this specific Négociant back in the 70s and whether he made is own specific label is not necessarily verifiable either, as even Jean-Bernard Grenié, the cousin of Hubert de Boüard de Laforest (Angélus owner), who joined the company business in 1987, and knows Chateau Angélus as well as Hubert, said that he never heard of this Négociant (and although he is in a good position to know these types of details, it does not mean that it did not happen....but it is still weird that Jean-Bernard does not know Philippe Serrande & Cie, at least by name....).  

Still, my guts are telling me that there is something fishy with these labels for all the reasons cited above... 

So, either, Philippe Serrande & Cie. is the spawn of a vile crook creating fake bottles to be sold by small batches and/or lots in unknown online Auction Houses in Switzerland and China (let's say, Asia,)... or he really existed, but did a sloppy job for the labels he created for all of the illustrious wines he was reselling with no regards nor respect for the reputation of the Chateaux and their respective owners.          

The market is still flooded with fakes and counterfeits bottles of Bordeaux and Burgundy wines, and it is up to the responsibility of people like me, dealing daily with wine inspection and authentication, to expose and denounce them, try to investigate to uncover the culprit if possible and if not, to at least point the finger at the imitations and free the markets from this abominations. 

The fight against fake and counterfeits wines continues.....

FYI: for those of you who might still wonder what is the difference between a fake and a counterfeit bottle of wine:

  • Fake wine bottle/label = a wine and/or a label that is not genuine; a forgery or sham, created to look alike or have similarities with other known wines from the same regions to deceive people into a scam (like the example above, which is potentially a fake wine, and more especially these 2 examples below wich are totally fake - seen in China)

Fake DRC Romanee Conti White 

DRC label imitation Chateau Lacaunette  Le Prince du Roi - Fake wine © LeDomduVin 2016

Pacurs instead of Petrus - Fake Wine

  • Counterfeit wine bottle/label = made as an exact imitation of a valuable bottle of wine with the intention to deceive or defraud someone (like the bottles and labels of Rudy Kurniawan below for example)

Rudy Kurniawan fake labels

Ah, and before I forget.... for the "L" of Chateau L'Angélus, it has always been on the label in majuscule (and not in minuscule like on this label of 1970 from Philippe Serrande) and has been removed back in 1990, as per Hubert de Boüard de Laforest (Angélus owner), to appear first on the alphabetical order listing of wines (wine reviews, wine critics, magazines, wine guides, wine tasting lists, etc....), purely by marketing strategy in fact, and it works...  

Once again, if anyone has any info or data on this Négociant, please send them to me. Until then, I will remain convinced that there is something fishy about these bottles... and seeing them mostly being available and/or sold on rather unknown auctions online does not make me feel that they are genuine either.... but you never know... prove me wrong if you can...

That's all folks for today... 

Hope you enjoyed this post... and if yes, stay tuned for more wine posts like this one (about real wine too sometimes :-)

If you are interested to read more about fake and counterfeit bottles, you can read previous posts I wrote on that subject here and here and hereetc...).

Cheers! Santé!

Dominique Noel a.k.a LeDomduVin 

(*) Fabien Pizzinat seems to work in close relation with a wine boutique store located in Switzerland, called "Yourwine Grands Vins et Vieux Millésimes"