Wednesday, October 31, 2018

LeDomduVin: Public Bathroom Behavior - The Ultimate Toilet's Signs and Rules (for men mostly...)

Public Bathroom Behavior:

The Ultimate Toilet's Signs and Rules (for men mostly...)

Like it happens from time to time on this blog, today's post has nothing to do with wine. 

It is a long-overdue rant against men's behaviors and hygiene in the toilets (public and/or private). 

The Ultimate Toilet's Signs and Rules (for men mostly...) by ©LeDomduVin 2018 (left side)

We are told that the world is doom, that men have no more morals, values, respect, or even discipline, and I couldn't agree more, especially when it comes to going to a public toilet (at work, at a mall, at a gas station, at a metro station, at a restaurant, etc, etc...). 

And personally, I cannot take it no more and I have to vent it out. 

And at the end of the day, how could men save the world when they are not even able to clean their own shit? How?

Men pollute the ground by burying all sorts of domestic and industrial trash ranging from organic and non-organic materials and substances to petrochemicals and nuclear waste... Men also pollute the water with the same trash dumped into the oceans, seas, rivers, lakes, etc... by millions of tons yearly... and men pollute the air with all sorts of nocive smoke, gas, spray, chemicals and other emissions... resulting in an ever-increasing hazy, blurry, thick, hard-to-breath, yellowish-brownish veil of pollution in the air hovering above most countries nowadays... and men have already started to pollute space with expired satellites, bits and pieces of rockets, spacecraft debris and other space junk... (sigh)...

But what men do best is to pollute and soil their own immediate environment, starting by one of the places they go the most often to on a daily basis: the toilet!   

How many times it happened you walked into a filthy public toilet where someone did not flush, peed on the floor and/or has left some floaties in the toilet's bowl and/or some yellowish drops (if not brown pellets) on the toilet's seat often leading to a puddle of piss in front of the toilet? Nearly every time, right? Or at least it feels like this. 

So, guys (men mostly... you know who you are...), get it once and for all in your tiny brain: your behavior, attitude, and hygiene in the toilet is atrocious, and more importantly 


Not your mum, not your sister, not your wife, nor your maid or anybody else should clean your mess. YOU and only YOU should clean it. A bathroom, toilet, lavatory, WC (water closet) or whatever other urban names you call it, is only as clean as you left it. 

And don't tell yourself either that "some people are paid for that" or "I don't care, someone else will clean it", as it is respectively not true and unbearably egoistic. 

People cleaning the toilets are not here to clean your shit but to clean a lavatory that is supposed to be dirty to a certain extent, ok, but not because of your leftover piss or shit. 

Personally, I think that if you conduct yourself like this in public, you probably do that at home too, but don't worry, your reputation precedes you (people around you know who you are and talk). And if you don't do it at home, so why doing it in public so then? But you probably don't care... 

So I prepared this little list below for you, yes, YOU... You know who you are and will recognize yourself. No point to hide or try to leave like nothing happened, we know and you know who you are and you know what you did. 

The Ultimate Toilet's Signs and Rules (for men mostly...) by ©LeDomduVin 2018 (Right side)

Whether at home, at work or anywhere else, Toilets are public places used by at least 2 and often way much more people. So, keep it clean and be considerate to others, by not leaving what you might think was "impressive" for others to see. Moreover, no one wants to smell your stench or see your leftover.  

Statistically, people, in general, go to the bathroom/toilet on average between 10-14 times a day, divided into (at the least):
  • 4-6 times at home, usually morning and evening/night  (1 of them including a number 2, per day for some or every other day for others) 
  • 6-8 times at work or other places (1 of them including a number 2, per day for some or every other day for others, when not done at home in the morning or at night)  

Toilet Daily Average Frequency per person ©LeDomduVin 2018

Which, as you can see in the table above, represents between 3276 and 5096 times per year going to the toilet (including both pee and poo), basically between 63 and 98 times a week. 

And the average time spent "in" (or "on" depending on how you see it)  the toilet is between

  • 3-5 minutes for number 1 (on average, some of you might be faster or longer) 
  • 15 to up to 45 minutes for number 2 (here again, it is on average, some of you might be faster or longer)
Toilet Daily Average Time per person ©LeDomduVin 2018

Which, as you can see in the table above, represents for a person going to pee 8 times and poo 1 time per day,  a minimum of 39 minutes/day spent going to the loo, or basically a minimum of 14,196 minutes a year (or roughly 236 hours/year or basically 10 days/year), or 273 minutes a week (or 4 hours 33 minutes/week) visiting the throne.

That's a lot of times and time spent in the toilet, so please keep it clean and be clean, and, once again, if you missed, clean it!!!

These figures do not necessarily include people with serious handicaps for who it might be more difficult and may need more (or less) times and time. However, they give you a rough idea of how many times and how much time on average a person goes and spent in the toilet urinating and/or defecating.

The average time spent on the toilet vary greatly depending on what you have in your hands...

Toilet Average Spending Time by ©LeDomduVin 2018

So, for all that time spent on the public crapper, you should at least be considerate to others, make it your own and clean it from all your unwanted leaks and faeces leftover. You clearly have an unfinished business to take care of.

Here is the list again, just as a reminder...

The Ultimate Toilet's Signs and Rules (for men mostly...) by ©LeDomduVin 2018 (Full)

Personally, I'm cleaned and I have always been (I probably get that from my mother who is very cleaned too). Did I sometimes miss the toilet bowl on the number 1 (or even 2)? Sure, like anybody else, it happens, but I made sure to clean it properly every time. First, because of I considerate that it is not the job of others to do so; but more importantly because I do not want others to say something, comment or judge me for what I did not do. As previously stated above, your reputation precedes you and people know and talk. And even if it was not you, people assume and blame easily.


Of course, in some case scenarios, it is difficult when the toilet is really dirty and disgusting as someone dropped a massive bomb and you're likely stepping in a pungent puddle left, not only, by the previous persons, but also by a bunch of other dirty pigs who also contributed to the layers of excrements, pee droplets, and other unidentified defecations found all around the latrine.

Sometimes, I even wonder how some people do it? There is some everywhere inside and outside, on the seat, on the floor and even on the surrounding walls....?!? ...they must have been a few to do it together, not possible otherwise... ...unless, it was someone with a serious handicap or an even more serious digestive problem... which makes me also wonder in which states their clothes must have been...

I mean, let's take a few examples...   

Toilets Rules by ©LeDomduVin 2018

Toilets Rules courtesy of Dj@Party3 revisited by ©LeDomduVin 2018

So, unless you have a crossed-eyes condition, a serious handicap, a disease like Parkinson or urination anxiety that makes you jittery and shaky, as a grown-ass adult, stop peeing all over public toilet seats! And, please, clean your mess, for goodness sake.

I think I just became a bathroom blogger.....

Bathroom Blogger - Photo courtesy of here

Sorry for this rant, but I had to vent it out... now that it is done, I feel much better, even if I know that the dirty pigs and other culprits with bad bathroom behaviors will not change and will continue with their bad habits... (pissing and shitting everywhere, not flushing, not washing their hands, spitting, stinking the zone, redecorating the throne, etc....) ...but, at least, I got it out of my chest...

And let's be honest, we all live and work in and go to places where we constantly see disgusting things done in the toilet, left unflushed and uncleaned by strangers, colleagues, bosses, friends sometimes and even family members, for whoever is passing after them, and that's not only disgusting but also disrespectful and really disturbing.   

So I'm asking you the question again: 

How could men save the world when they are not even able to clean their own shit? How?

When men will start cleaning their own shit, obviously, but the way I see it, I doubt it will happen soon enough...

That's all folks! for today... and remember to keep the toilet clean, flush properly and wash your hands after doing so.

Thank you. 

LeDomduVin a.k.a. Dominique Noel

©LeDomduVin 2018

#attitude #bad habits #bathroom #behavior #hygiene #ledomduvin #men #mensbehaviorandhygieneinthetoilets #rant #throne #toilet #toiletrules #toiletsigns #wc #lesillustrationsadom #ledomduvin @ledomduvin

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 some 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 that I knew or met 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 my mother inherited at some point when I was still a toddler and where I spent most of my life between the age of 10 and 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.

The quaint little church of Comps - Photo courtesy of Jack Ma

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. My grandfather's house 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, Plums, 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 still 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 mischievous quiet laugh... well, sorry, not my fault if we, as humans, are at the top of the food chain... I love these animals... 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 the radio. 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). 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). Covering kilometers of galleries carved by men and running deep underground, the "carrières" (stone-pits)  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 very 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, my freedom 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 the whole year long and 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. Stop buying imported food, buy local and buy what's in season, it healthier for you and better for the environment.

Vegetables and fruits you should expect to find only in season at a French Market by ©LeDomduVin 2018 

My grandfather rarely bought his vegetables or fruits at the local Saturday or Sunday market (as he had pretty much everything he needed in his own backyard), yet it was still going there regularly to buy meat and fish, talk with friends and other 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). I loved his "Paté de Lapin" and helped him a few times to prepare it. It was my favorite food in the world. He was not necessarily following a recipe either, he was more preparing it on instinct and depending on the meat supply too (sometimes more rabbit, sometimes more porc).

He also used to make his own jams from various fruits found in his garden, his eau-de-vie of plums and/or pears, as well as all of his "bocaux de legumes" (vegetable conserves), "bocaux de fruits" and Patés 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), in a cured ham cage made especially to prevent flies and other bugs to get in while allowing for plenty of ventilation for the ham to properly age. This Jambon 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 washing them, peeling them and cutting 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 gatherings 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.

Picture of an American commissioned officer with farmers and bottles of wine in Normandie WWII -
Photo courtesy of 

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. However, most of his knowledge came from the fact that when he was young, growing up in a farm during the war, he only had a dictionary, a few books and some volumes of a collection of something similar to Encyclopedia Britannica to read. (Imagine how smart your kid will be if he or she had to read the dictionary and/or Encyclopedia Britannica every day?). I was always learning just by listening to him talk. 

As you surely understood by reading some of the paragraphs above, my grandfather was an excellent cook (he raised his 3 kids practically alone, so he had time to experiment...). He was always preparing more food than needed (because he was a generous man first, but also probably as the result of not having had enough during the war) and his door was always opened for impromptu guests passing by to say hello or trying their luck by inviting themselves. Life in the countryside always brings people together, and usually, family and friends do not live far. Moreover, in a small village like "Comps", everybody knew each other back in those days, so visits around lunch or dinner by family members, neighbors or friends were quite common and, in fact, necessary to keep up with the latest gossips and stories.

Impromptu guest for the lunch by ©LeDomduVin 2018

My love for food first, and, then later, for wine, definitely came from him. As he was also a winemaker, making his own wine and wine for other sometimes too, consequently I have been introduced to and acquainted with wine since my very early age. I remember having my first sip of wine when I was about 6 years old.

It was a beautiful and warm day, in the afternoon, a Saturday or maybe a Sunday, as the family was around. My uncle, my grandfather's son, was sipping a glass of red wine and I was watching him lifting his elbow to bring the glass to his lips and sip it slowly. He looked at me and asked me if I wanted some. I said yes, and I guess the members of my family gathered around me, surely waiting for my reaction (something like that in the US will probably be denounced/reported, but in France, it is a common tradition, maybe not that early though....). So, I put the glass to my nose... it was fragrant and nearly made me sneeze. Then, I brought the glass to my lips and drank too fast a generous sip of that red wine, which made me cough for at least half an hour after that. Of course, I ridiculized myself and my whole family around was laughing out loud about this risible situation. But I kept a great souvenir of it.

I must admit that my grandfather's 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 common practice 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, sure... but most importantly 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. 😊

My grandfather wine eduction or how kids get acquainted with wine in France by ©LeDomduVin 2018

And that's how from the age of 10 or 12 years old, I (and most of the kids I knew back then) started to have some wine in my glass when eating at my grandfather's house. First, I filled up my glass with water to which my grandfather added a few drops of wine to add color and some taste. I found it acidic and sour, but with food, it wasn't so bad. The older I got, the less water and the more wine the glass contained. By the time I reached 15 years old, I was drinking wine with no more water in it.

Same for beer, around the same age I started to have a touch of wine in a glass of water (10-12 years old), my grandfather also offered me to occasionally drink "Panaché" (a.k.a. "Shandy", basically a mix of beer and "limonade" quite famous back then in France, Belgium and Switzerland), a good alternative to beer, as it tastes more like a carbonated lemonade and the alcohol content is usually about 2% max (usually more about 1-1.5%), instead of 5% (and much higher) in general for beers. Anyone remembers "Panaché Chopp" made by the brewery "Kanterbräu"?.... no?... It was a classic back then in the early 80s. That is what I used to drink during the hot summer afternoons with my grandfather, seating on the bench in front of his house.

Here, this French Publicity below might remind you of something...  

French Publicity for "Chopp Panaché" back in the 80s - Photo Courtesy of

At the back of the house, "La Remise" (a huge dependency that he used as a room to store all sorts of stuff), was a real cavern of Alibaba. Once inside, it is was like an organized huge mess. Food (from the "patés" to the conserves, the ham to the potatoes, etc..), as well as some old mopeds (including the legendary "Solex" and other cyclo-motors like the classic "Peugeot 102" and the iconic "Peugeot 103" or even the "Motobecane AV79 and AV88" and other broken junks and detached pieces (kept just in case...), mingled with a mountain of coal "pour le poêle a charbon" (coal burning stove) and some wood logs for the "cheminées" in the various rooms, as well as some old barrels and a old "pressoir".

Without realizing it, my grandfather was surely affected by a hoarding disorder, as he had real difficulties to discard an impressive multitude of objects of all sorts that he accumulated over the last few decades. I could always hear him say that they could be useful one day, yet, that day never came and more junks and old stuff kept coming and piled up as I grew older. In fact, a museum of all these stuff could have been opened as he had such a huge collection of them, and some were real treasure for collectors and amateurs.

However, if you ventured a little further toward the back, this is where he established his cellar and put his barrels to age his wine. As the vines that he was tending at my mother's house, were uprooted when I was about 9 years old and that my grandfather did not have any other vines to tend to, he only kept 3-4 barrels only in the back of "la Remise". Once bottled, he had enough wine to last him for a good part of the year. The rest of the year, he was buying his wine by the "cubi" (old glass bottle or plastic bottle containing between 3 and 6 liters) from neighbors and friends that still owned some vineyards and were selling their wines as bulk rather than bottled.   

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

I love this picture above of my grandfather and my son in the back of "la Remise" back in 2007, or maybe was it in 2008?... not sure anymore, as my son would have been about 1 year old, but he seems bigger on that picture, maybe 2 years old?... maybe it is the "Afro" that makes his head bigger than it normally is 😊.. I'm only kidding, I love my son's hair, beautiful "Afro" style... for those of you who may not know, my wife is Afro-American and my kids are mixed. We have 2 beautiful kids with great curly hair and an arousing skin complexion. Love my kids.  

I want and I could write so much more about my grandfather and my childhood in the countryside and the vineyards, but I think that I will stop here for this post, which is already long enough as it is. I will write the following of this post in another post later on this year or next year, will see...

Meanwhile, you can always read a previous post I wrote back in 2010 where I was also talking about my grandfather, his garden and his famous "Escargots a la vinaigrette" recipe (read it here)

As for you, Papi, wherever you are now, I hope that you are resting in peace and that the wine is also good up there (wherever that is...). Simply 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

@ledomduvin #mygrandfather #mychildhood #memories #souvenirs #thoughts  #myfirstglassofwine #mychildhoodwithmygrandfather #mychildhoodinthecountrysideandvineyards #ledomduvin #lesphotosadom #lesdessinsadom #lesillustrationsadom #lesaventuresadom #wine #vin #wein #vino #cotesdebourg #bordeaux #france #food #vegetablesoftheseason  #fruits  #patedelapin #frenchmarketseasonalvegetablesandfruits

©LeDomduVin 2018

(*) 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

LeDomduVin: 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? 

I wrote this post following a conversation I had with two friends. ("D" is me, obviously... 😀👍🍷)

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 have been 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 follows: 
  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 the 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 40 hl/ha, and the wine must be aged 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 can continue their efforts to maintain (or retain) their rank.

Also, to enter the classification, producers are also subject to a mandatory tasting of the last 10 or 15 vintages to determine the wine's quality, consistency, and evolution over time. Inconsistencies in taste and quality often lead to failure.

D: To help clarify, I made this Saint-Emilion Classification Pyramid (a visual is often better than words)... 

Saint-Emilion Classification Pyramide © LeDomduVin 2018

N: Ah, I see. It's 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, 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 agriculture, 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 between the 2 children of Chateau Beauséjour's Owner Pierre-Paulin Ducarpe.
  • 72 Grands Crus Classés, including the following changes (compared to the 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 its name to Château Cap de Mourlin
    • Château Curé Bon changed its name to Château Curé Bon la Madeleine
    • Château Grand Corbin Pecresse changed its 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 in 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 back and forths (indecision, delay, dispute, disagreement, etc..) prior to 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 in 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 the 2006 Classification)
    • 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).... 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). 

@ledomduvin #ledomduvin #saintemilion #grandscrusclasses #wine #bordeaux #saintemilionclassification #classification #vin #vino #wein #france #wineknowledge #wineeducation #lesillustrationsadom