Thursday, June 13, 2019

Wine Bottle Weight, Shape, Glass and Label Design Changes Over Time (Post 2): Chateau Mouton Rothschild


Wine Bottle Weight, Shape, Glass 

and Label Design Changes Over Time 

(Post 2): Chateau Mouton Rothschild



Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2024 Label
by © LeDomduVin 2019
Tribute to Jean Carlu



Apology letter 



To the owners of Chateau Mouton Rothschild


My deepest and most sincere apologies to the owners of Château Mouton-Rothschild, Philippe Sereys de Rothschild, Camille Sereys de Rothschild and Julien de Beaumarchais de Rothschild, (for whom I have profound respect and did not mean any harm to, more especially that I had the chance to meet your mother, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild several times during my 28 years career and had lots of admiration for her lively personality, her strength of character and her addictive "joie-de-vivre"), for taking such liberty and presenting my work for the label of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 2024 vintage in such manner (😉). 

But, it is a tradition for me to begin my posts with an illustration of mine (usually a photo, or a drawing, or a collage, etc...) specially made to introduce the subject of the post; and I thought about a (funny) tribute to Jean Carlu to celebrate the centenary of the iconic label he created back in 1924. I personally love his 1924 label (from the Art-Deco / Cubism era), which was used as the background for the coat of arms, (with the rams on each side), appearing on the label of the following vintage, 1925, and has remained there ever since. See in my creation an unintended subliminal message may be... 

Also, as this post is mostly about Chateau Mouton-Rothschild label design changes, (which have occurred over the last 120 years), I wanted to add a dash of humor by creating this "imitation" label to see if people will fall for it, at first sight, looking at a potentially genuine label (you never know, some people not looking too closely at first glance might think it could be....). 

Moreover, as most of my illustrations usually tend to be either funny or sarcastic, or, a bit more cerebral sometimes with "rather-french" 2nd-degree jokes and metaphorical sense of humour... (I see some of you scratching their head sometimes, when looking at my illustrations, prior to getting the joke only after a few seconds of consideration...), sort of gimmicks to amuse my readers and a more "ludique" (playful) way to help digest all the contents of my posts, often too long, too detailed and irritably too often derivating from and hence losing focus on the original subject... (sorry, that's the way my mind works and that's also my writing style in both French and English....sigh...), I could not resist the temptation to start this post on such an iconic Bordeaux wine with a label of my own creation.  

I hope you will forgive me and be merciful for the liberty I took to create this label for a vintage that has yet to come and without you commissioning me to do it. Yet, I'll appreciate if you could consider it as a potential candidate label for this particular vintage.... (No worries if you don't, but I had to ask... you never know...😉)

Thank you for your understanding. 

Deepest regards,

Sincerely yours, 

LeDomduVin      





Ok, now that my apology is out of the way, and without further ado, let's move on to the post. A lengthy post again, but with some really interesting details, facts and stories, as I always try to provide you within most of my posts.


FYI: I did the collage below of Mouton Rothschild bottles and labels (over the last 120 years) and, (as usual), started to write quite intensively (in a previous post), about the history and design evolution of these particular labels of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, when I realized how long this previous post was already. So, I cut the content of the previous post on Chateau Mouton-Rothschild (post 1), and paste it in this brand new post (post 2), solely dedicated to the history and design evolution of the labels of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild over the last 120 years, to which I added a few more chapters on the bottle shape, weight and glass used for the Mouton's bottles (like I did for Chateau Latour in the previous post). Read the previous post (post 1) on the bottle's weight, shape, color and glass (featuring among others, Château Latour)  here 



  



Chateau Mouton Rothschild





Chateau Mouton-Rothschild Label Designs over the last 120 years 
by ©LeDomduVin 2019



Château Mouton-Rothschild is probably the best example to take for the bottle and more especially the label changes, as it is one of the only (if not THE only) Châteaux or wine estate in the world that has changed its label design so many times over the years.

Like all great stories, it begins by "Once upon a time,..." Baron Philippe de Rothschild commissioned Jean Carlu (1900-1997), a graphic artist, famous for his poster works regarded as an expression of the dominant artistic movement at that time called the "Cubism", to create the label of the 1924 vintage.

Yet, it is only in 1945, to commemorate the "Victory" and the end of World War II, that Baron Philippe started and established what will become a tradition with all the labels of the subsequent vintages, by commissioning another contemporary artist to design the label of Mouton-Rothschild 1945 vintage. This time, he commissioned a young, unknown artist named Philippe Jullian (1921-1977), who displayed early promise as a designer and became a successful dramatist. After Jullian submitted several drafts, Baron Philippe chose the one based on the famous “V for Victory” that Churchill used throughout the war to rally the forces of freedom.

And the tradition of commissioning a contemporary artist to embellish and revamp the label design of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild for each vintage was born. The rest is history.   


Brief history and details for each of the label design changes on the bottles in the collage above


In the collage above, instead of putting all the labels since 1945 (like on the picture further below), I wanted to focus only on the main label design changes of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild (***):

  • 1853 - Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild (1812-1870), of the English branch of the eponymous family, bought the Château Brane-Mouton for a sum of 1,125,000 francs (or roughly 172,000 Euros, a colossal sum at the time) and immediately renamed the Château "Mouton-Rothschild". The vineyard at this time was in bad shape as it had been no longer maintained for a few years, as the only building was an old dilapidated farm offering no living or sleeping accommodation possibility and thus the owners never lived on site and were just appointing someone as a manager to take care of the vineyards and the wine. Baron Nathaniel, living in Paris at that time, appointed Theodore Galos, a Bordeaux Negociant who also owned a few vineyards, as the estate manager. Within 2-3 years, Theodore rapidly upgraded and restored the vineyard and the cellars.



Chateau Mouton Rothschild Vintage 1855 Label -
©LeDomduVin 2019


  • 1855 - Exposition Universelle de Paris and Bordeaux Classifications - The Emperor Napoleon III requested from the members of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Bordeaux to produce a ranking of the most prestigious properties of Bordeaux, to be presented at the Universal Exhibition of Paris (World Fair), which took place from May 15 to November 15 1855 on the Champs Elysees. This classification was based on the reputation, the notoriety and the price of these properties (since, at least, ten or even fifty years according to some sources), these prices being directly related to the quality of the wines at this time. Despite the efforts of Theodore Galos to restore the vineyards and cellars in order to increase the value of the property (which was on the rise at that time), Mouton-Rothschild was not classified as a first growth, which seems logical considering that the selection criteria was based on the property prices over fifty years, and knowing the fact that the vineyards and the farm were left unattended for years by owners not leaving on site, thus diminishing the value of the estate. Not having a proper Chateau or mansion on site and being recently acquired by a British probably did not help either. However, Chateau Mouton-Rothschild was still classified as a 2nd Growth in the classification. From 1855 to 1888, the labels only mentioned "Mouton" (not yet "Chateau Mouton Rothschild") and bore the name of "R. Galos" named after "Roche Galos", the estate manager at that time.

NB: For those of you who might wonder (like I did), I was not able to find any info regarding the link between "Theodore Galos" and "Roche Galos", both supposedly being the estate manager of Chateau Mouton Rothschild at that period, and both appearing in many texts and references on the history of the Chateau. Are they two different persons? Or are they the same person? If anyone knows, please let me know, I will be very interested to know. More especially knowing that officially "Theodore Galos" was appointed by Baron Nathaniel as the estate manager and has been credited for restoring the vineyards and cellars; while "Roche Galos" is also mentioned in many texts as the estate manager and his name appears on the labels between 1855 and 1888. I read countless articles and even extracts of books on the subject, and I still could not figure it out. So, if you did, please tell me. 



  • 1880 - The son of Nathaniel de Rothschild, Baron James de Rothschild (1844-1881), began construction of the Chateau and named it: Petit Mouton


Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1889 Label -
Photo courtesy of picclick.fr

  • 1889 - "Baron de Miollis" Label - Baron Augustin de Miollis (1864-1939) was appointed estate manager, the labels still only mentioned "Mouton" (not yet "Chateau Mouton Rothschild") and from 1889 to 1920 bore the name of "Bon de Miollis". You can also notice the first few changes on the label:
  • The name of the appointed manager changed from "R. Galos" to "Bon de Miollis", "Bon de Miollis - Gérant", which translate to "Baron de Miollis - Manager" 
  • The name of the owner of the Chateau changed from "Baron de Rothschild, Propriétaire" to "Hers du Bon de Rothschild Propres", which is the abbreviation of "Heritiers de Baron de Rothschild Propriétaires"  
  • The wines were still not bottled and labelled at the Chateau at that time, but by a 3rd party, usually, a Négociant, buying the wine, then taking care of the bottling and labelling, and even the ageing sometimes; or by someone appointed as the estate manager also in charge of the bottling and labelling. 



Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1900 Label -
Photo courtesy of picclick.fr

  • 1900 - The turn of the century, still showcasing the "Baron de Miollis" Label (1889-1920) 




Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1920 Label

  • 1920 - The label is redesigned: The Baron introduced on the label the design of the stylized Château as well as a bundle of 5 arrows, but still without preceding the name "Mouton" with the term "Château", while the Négociants (Bordeaux Wine Merchants/Traders) already used the name "Château Mouton". It is interesting to notice that the notion of provenance is now clarified with the addition of "Pauillac, Gironde" on the label (then "Pauillac, Médoc" later on) to precise the Appellation of Origin. The owner's name has also changed to "Baron Henri de Rothschild", one of the 2 sons of Nathaniel de Rothschild, who took over after the passing of his father in 1870, but let the Chateau being run by the manager in place, Baron de Miollis, and the Cellar Master Gustave Bonnefours.   

    • 1922 - A new era began for Chateau Mouton-Rothchild: On October 22, 1922, the grandson of Nathaniel de Rothschild and second son of Henri de Rothschild, Philippe de Rothschild (1902-1988) took the direction of the property provided that he stops car racings. Philippe immediately came up with one of his most famous quotes, which he gave as a motto to the Chateau: "Premier ne puis, second ne daigne, Mouton suis", which translate to "First I could not, second I do not deign, Mouton I am". Under Philippe's direction, the estate will take off and reach the glory it deserved.


    Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1924 Label 


      • 1924 - First real label design change: In 1924, on the initiative of Baron Philippe de Rothschild, all the wines produced are, for the first time, bottled at the château (at the same time and in agreement with Château Margaux). To mark this event, the Baron commissioned Jean Carlu (1900-1997), a graphic artist, famous for his poster works regarded as an expression of the dominant artistic movement at that time, called the "Cubism", to create the label of the 1924 vintage. This same label has also been used for 1918, 1920, 1921 and 1926 vintage, (according to a source) some labelled that way due to late released bottles from the Chateau for the famous wine retailer chain (caviste) "Etablissements Nicolas" (founded back in 1822).




      Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1925 Label


      • 1925 - Once more the label is redesigned and resemble a little to what it will become later on. The lines are clean, elegant and refined, and despite being heavily criticized at the time, this label will be used for the 1925, 1926 and 1928 vintage, along with the other label designed by Jean Carlu above, which has also been used for the 1926 vintage for example. Notice the details of the "logo", specifically created for Chateau Mouton Rothschild, representing two rams, standing on an unmarked ribbon, on each side of a coat of arms shield featuring the details of the 1924 vintage label created by Jean Carlu, surmounted by a crown (and what could be vines atop the crown? not sure..) and a blank ribbon underneath.  




      Carruades de Mouton Rothschild 1927 Label



      • 1927 - The harvest was mediocre, therefore Baron Philippe decided that there will be no wine sold under "Château Mouton-Rothschild", instead, the wine produced on that particular vintage was sold under the name of "Carruades de Mouton-Rothschild". Baron Philippe commissioned Jean Carlu again to create a special label for this vintage. 




      "Le Second Vin" 1993 and "Le Petit Mouton" 1994
      de Mouton Rothschild labels


      NB: This specific label was re-used in 1993 for the 2nd wine under the name of "Le Deuxieme Vin de Mouton Rothschild", then again in 1994 under the definitive name of "Le Petit Mouton de Mouton Rothschild", a name that has remained the same ever since.





      Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1929 Label


      • 1929 - Back to a similar label than the one of the 1925 vintage, yet, with a redesigned "logo" (or "Emblème" or "Ecu" or "Blason" or "Coat of Arms", or whatever else you call it), I call it "logo", as a "Blason" or "Coat of Arms" is usually attributed to a family with royal, noble or military roots passed on generations, while the "logo" on this label was specifically created for Château Mouton Rothschild for the 1925 vintage label (see above). It was redesigned with larger and more defined details of the similar figures and details already present on the 1925 label. When comparing 1925 and 1929 label, both logos represent two rams, standing on an unmarked ribbon, on each side of a coat of arms shield featuring the details of the 1924 vintage label created by Jean Carlu, surmounted by a crown.  This label will be used for the 1929 to 1931 vintage. No wine was produced under Chateau Mouton Rothschild in 1930 and 1932, only under Mouton Cadet.  








      • 1930 - I couldn't find any label of Chateau Mouton Rothschild on that vintage, but it is important to state that Mouton-Cadet (which is not a second wine, but a second label, meaning that it is a wine on his own, rather than being, like the second wine, related to the "Grand Vin" (common name for the "first wine" of the Chateaux in Bordeaux)), was launched with the vintage 1930. It presents a more complex label with more writings, with the signature of the Cellar Master, and the "logo" or "coat of arms" of both siblings: Mouton Rothschild and Mouton d'Armailhacq



      Chateau Mouton d'Armailhacq 1933 Label


      • 1931 - Comte Roger de Ferrand, owner of Chateau d'Armailhacq, launches the limited company "Domaine de  Mouton d'Armailhacq" regrouping 3500 shares of 1000 French francs each. Baron Philippe de Rothschild becomes a minority shareholder.
      • 1933 - the domain of Armailhacq is sold in life to the Baron de Rothschild and in 1934, the count of Ferrand dies.
















      💢 Work in progress, to be finished soon 💢





      Here is the collection of Mouton-Rothschild labels from 1945 to 2013 (photo courtesy of www.theartistlabels.com)


      Chateau Mouton Rothschild Labels from 1945 to 2013 -
      photo courtesy of www.theartistlabels.com














      💢 Work in progress, to be finished soon 💢







      Chateau Mouton Rothschild Full and Empty bottles
      1947, 1949, 1970, 1982, 1990 and 1995
      - photo ©LeDomduVin 2019


      Like for Château Latour previously, looking at this picture I took of various vintages of Château Mouton Rothschild, you easily notice the changes and evolution of the bottle and label shape and size, as well as the differences in the thickness and heaviness of the glass used. You can also notice the differences and evolution of the capsules.

      • Château Mouton Rothschild 1947 and 1949 - the bottle is tall, with broad shoulders and heavy, thick, dark color glass; the front label(s) is small (smaller than later versions) 
      • Château Mouton Rothschild 1970 and 1982 - the bottle is slightly smaller, leaner, lighter in weight and lighter in color too, and was made with less heavy and less thick glass than 1947 and 1949
      • Château Mouton Rothschild 1990 and 1995 - the bottle is about the same heights as 1970/1982, yet with slightly higher and broader shoulders, and slightly darker and thicker, heavier glass too. Still not as tall, broad, thick, heavy and dark as 1947/1949   



      💢 Work in progress, to be finished soon 💢




      Santé! Cheers!

      LeDomduVin a.k.a. Dominique Noël




      (*) Info about Chateau Mouton-Rothschild was taken or partly taken from the Château website at https://www.chateau-mouton-rothschild.com/, but also from a very interesting and useful online book (in French) by Philippe Margot, titled "L'intégral des étiquettes de Château Mouton-Rothschild de 1855 à aujourd'hui" that you can read here

      Thursday, June 6, 2019

      L'importance de l'Avinage : Aviner la carafe avant décantation du vin !!!



      L'importance de l'Avinage : 

      Aviner la carafe avant décantation du vin !!!



      Although the title of this post is in French, I will write this post in English, as I normally do, as the audience of LeDomduVin is international, and thus English being the universal language, it will be easier for most readers. *  









      So, 2 days ago, I made this little video (above) to stress and insist on the importance of the "Avinage" of the decanter (ou "aviner la carafe" as we say in French), which is basically a part of the preparation of the decanter prior to proceeding to the decantation of the wine (or the preparation of a new barrel prior putting wine into it).

      In my opinion, it is a crucial point (or step) of the wine decantation process that Sommeliers and other wine professionals (people in the wine biz in general) tend to forget or not do at all. And in my eyes, it is a terrible mistake not to do it. I have been in the wine business and a well seasoned and traveled, certified Sommelier for the past 28 years, and I have always done it (even at home).

      Call me "old school" if you want, but for me, the "Avinage" of the decanter (prior decantation) is a question of principle (as it is how I learned to do it at the Catering and Hotel management school of Talence, Bordeaux), and it is logical too (as it is common sense to clean a decanter that has been sitting on a shelf prior putting some wine into it, isn't it?), and thus, it should be a reflex for all people working in the wine industry, but obviously, it is not. And that is the main reason why I made this video in the first place.

      I watched dozens of videos on wine decantation and wine service on YouTube and realized that for 95% of them, none of the Sommeliers and other wine professionals proceeding to the decantation of wine (in these videos) did the "avinage" of the decanter in which the wine was about to be decanted in. None. And it drove the need for me to this video to remind people of the importance of doing it.

      And, for the anecdote, even the Best Sommelier of the World 2019, Marc Almert, did not do the "Avinage" of the decanter during the final (you can check it in the video of the final here at 2:59:38). In fact, 2 out of the 3 finalists did not do it... unbelievable! Maybe it is a generational issue and the new generation may not see the point or is too lazy to do it, go figure... or maybe, I'm just an old grumpy Sommelier too attached to the traditions and the Art of the service to be able to fully understand why they do not do it anymore...   or may it is a combination of both, who knows....

      Pardon my French, but I searched everywhere online and in various dictionaries, and, trust me, there is no literal translation in English for these two French words. Therefore, for those of you who may have no clue about what I'm talking about, here is a clue. In both words, "Avinage" and "Aviner", you have the word "vin" or "wine" in French.

      In general, the words "Avinage" (the noun) or "Aviner" (the verb) are terms more particularly used for wine, rather than any other liquids (e.g. with water only is call "rinsing", with detergent, is called "washing", etc...).

      Both, "Avinage" and "Aviner", refer to the same action, and by definition, "Aviner" is the action of the "Avinage", which consists of pouring a small amount of wine into a barrel for example (before fermentation or aging process, especially for new barrels) or in a decanter (prior proceeding to the decantation and fill it with wine), then swirling the bit of wine inside energetically, and evacuating it rapidly (in order for anything inside to come out with the wine), prior to filling the barrel or the decanter.



      LeDomduVin pouring wine into a decanter to do the Avinage
      prior proceeding to the wine decantation ©LeDomduVin 2019



      Or, basically put, "Aviner" is the action of soaking the inside of a decanter (a barrel or any other containers) with a small amount of wine, prior to filling it, (for the purpose of this post we are talking about pouring wine into a decanter), to either or both (at the same time):
      • Clean the inside of the decanter from the presence of potential dust, water, previous wine,  residues or any other unwanted foreign or harmful organisms, organic decays or other substances
      • Impregnate the inside of the decanter with the odors, smells, aromas, and flavors of the wine used, prior fill it with the rest of the wine in the bottle. 


      LeDomduVin pouring and swirling wine into a decanter to do the Avinage
      prior proceeding to the wine decantation ©LeDomduVin 2019


      Once the wine has been swirled around inside to coat the inner part of the decanter (or the barrel), the wine is poured out back in a glass (or another container), and only then, the decanter (or barrel) is now ready to welcome the wine that will be decanted (or racked) into it.

      Although this practice has existed for decades, (if not centuries), sadly, it has almost been forgotten and is rarely done nowadays. Yet, it has always been a very important part/step of the decantation process. And in my opinion, it should be done every time you use a decanter.

      Historically, it is hard to pinpoint when and where this practice started first. All we know is that it has always pretty much been done for cleaning purposes as well as the impregnation of the aromas and flavors, for sure; but maybe (and understandably), also for the protection and security of the kings, the nobles and the wealthy in order to rinse the decanter and eliminate all sort of potential danger (from vile enemies trying to murder them with poison or else for example). 

      In fact, nowaday's lack of cleanliness is the main reason why you MUST do it, because, even if decanters are "supposedly" cleaned regularly, on a weekly basis at the minimum, and even at a daily basis, or even twice a day for certain restaurants, this is unfortunately NOT the case in (and/or for) ALL restaurants...  and it is even worst in other places where the decanters are only used "occasionally" and often collect layers of dust by being put on display... (sigh)...

      Therefore, you never know what you may have in the decanter. And usually, after a few days (or even worst, if it has been a week or more), there could be some : 
      • Dust if the decanter has not been used and/or cleaned for a while
      • Water if it has been rinsed shortly before and/or not dried properly and/or left standing up after being rinsed     
      • Detergent if it has been accidentally washed with a detergent and has not been rinsed properly enough (that is usually the worst case scenario, as if the avinage is not done prior decantation, the wine will immediately be affected by the detergent and become hazardous)
      • Organic decays or residues of the wine phenolic compounds remaining in the decanter, especially if has never been cleaned properly (you can see them when the decanter starts to have yellow or red markings or stains inside (at the bottom and the inner body part of the decanter), usually left by the layered deposits of phenolic chemical compounds (tannins, anthocyanins, etc...)), these can even attract living organisms feeding on them (fruit fly, wine fly, etc...). 
      • And in some case, you can even have a bit of the wine previously decanted, if the decanter has not been cleaned at all  








      I did a second video (right above) where I'm showing you how to do the "Avinage" of the decanter  (ou "comment aviner la carafe avant decantation"), from a different angle than the 1st video and with a close-up on the wine swirling in the decanter. 

      Why did I make this second video on the subject of the "Avinage" of the decanter? Because, in fact, I have not managed to find one on the internet or YouTube. In truth, there are many videos where wine professionals and Sommeliers can be seen doing wine decantations, but they do not do the "Avinage" of the decanter prior to the decantation of the wine.

      So, I felt the need to do this 2nd little video in addition to the video made previously (the first one on this post) on the same subject, to really insist on how to prepare ("Aviner") the decanter before proceeding to the decantation. 


      NB: I did this 2nd video in only one take and very quickly (and under pressure for some reasons), so please excuse me for the mistakes and hesitations in the explanations and overall presentation. More especially, pardon my French for repeating a few times in this video "on avine le vin avec le vin" (meaning "we clean the wine with the wine"), which is wrong, "on avine la carafe avec le vin" (meaning "we clean the decanter with the wine") of course. I put myself under pressure to do this video fast and without any disturbances and therefore did not carefully choose my words like on the first video (which I also did in one take). (I may redo it more relax soon). 









      I made a 3rd video (just above), by basically trimming the 2nd video, and focus on the "Avinage" part only, as, (at the end of the day), it is the most important part of the process prior decantation and the subject of this post too.


      So, the action of the "Avinage" or the approach you should take on how to clean the decanter  prior proceeding to the decantation of the wine ("Aviner la carafe avant de proceder a la decantation du vin") consists on the following process:
      • Open a bottle of wine
      • Pour a small amount of the wine into a wine glass
      • Smell the wine in the glass to ensure the quality of the wine and make sure it does not present any defaults/defects on the nose 
      NB: do not taste the wine and pour the little bit of wine into the decanter after tasting it as you will put your microbes/bacterias inside the decanter too
      • Pour the wine you've just smelled from the glass into a decanter 
      • Swirl the wine inside the decanter for a few seconds, in order to soak the decanter, so that the wine impregnates the inner walls of the decanter with its aromas and flavors
      • Evacuate rapidly the wine from the decanter back into the wine glass
      • Taste the wine (the best part of the process 😊) (as the decanter is supposed to be clean, prior being used, the wine should not be affected by anything previously contained into the decanter)
      • Leave the decanter by the empty bottle previously put with the cork and the capsule (if not put back on the top of the bottle) on a small plate or a coster on the gueridon or on the customer's table until it is time to serve the wine

      Et voila!


      And this process of "Avinage" only takes a few seconds to do, so you have no excuse not to do it. Moreover, it is the best and only way to ensure that the decanter is clean and free of any residues of any kinds (dust, water, detergent, previous wine, etc..) and that the wine will not be affected by anything foreign that could have been inside the decanter prior to doing the "Avinage". 

      In conclusion, please do yourself a favor, and please your customers at the same time, DO the Avinage !!! (and make sure your decanters are cleaned regularly, at least once a day)








      Anger Bottle by ©LeDomduVin 2019



      To answer the unfriendly, not to say nasty and unjustified comments I received shortly after posting this post



      To answer the unfriendly, not to say nasty and unjustified comments I received from some unknown peers in the wine biz (Sommeliers and other supposedly being "wine professionals"), a few days after I posted this post, more especially in reaction to the 3rd video above on the "Avinage of the carafe", I only have the followings to say (even if it is a repeat of what has been said above, and to make sure people understood the importance of this process):


      - 1 - In Sommellerie, the decanter is cleaned with a little amount of wine (thus "Aviné") prior to proceeding to the decantation to avoid eventual contamination of the wine by possible debris or liquids that may be found in the decanter, but also to impregnate the inside of the decanter with the aromas and flavors of the wine before decanting. And NO, this is not an ancient procedure from the past when people were more careless and washing technics as well as cleaning products were not as adapted and/or as efficient as they are now... And YES, this procedure should still be in use nowadays. (It is also stupid to think that people were more careless before than they are now, in my opinion, it is probably the other way around)

      - 2 - NO, you should not assume that all your decanters are clean and impeccable. As, indeed, they may NOT be as clean and impeccable as you think. Bad smells, dust, water, detergent if accidentally washed with a detergent, (or others), could have found their way inside; and it would be stupid and ignorant from you to assume that it is not the case as it cannot happen, and even more stupid of you to think that all decanters are always clean and free of anything inside. I have worked in the restaurant business as Head Sommelier and Restaurant Manager long enough to know that it is not true and it is far from being the reality in most restaurants.

      - 3 - A lot of things that are supposed to be done (and are assumed to be done too) by the Sommeliers and/or other restaurant's staffs are unfortunately not always done or not necessarily done properly and not always checked by the Head Sommelier or the Restaurant Manager. And let's be serious, we all know people slacking off on the job, who constantly tell lies about things they do or did while they actually did not, unfortunately.  It is human nature. So, never assume they have done it, check!!!

      - 4 - A Sommelier's job is to make sure that the decanters are properly cleaned after each use and make sure that all decanters are cleaned at least once a day, if not, at least every other day. Yet, there again, it would be stupid, ignorant and innocent to a fault to believe that cleaning of all the decanters is done on a daily basis in all the restaurants, everywhere in the world. As I said above, I know the restaurant and hospitality world all too well, and I have seen too many absurd and even sometimes unspeakable things done by the restaurant and hotel staff. And trust me, even in the strictest restaurant or hotel in the world, where the staff receive excellent training and art of the table and service education and are disciplined, there are many things that should be done on a daily basis and that are not. So, please, stop assuming and check on what your staff is doing!!!

      - 5 - The "avinage" of the decanter IS and has always been a crucial part of the decantation process, unfortunately too often forgotten as not been taught in restaurant and Sommelier School anymore, due to the assumption that decanters are always clean and impeccable, and therefore that the "avinage" is no longer necessary. This assumption is terribly wrong, for all the reasons provided above:

      • Assuming all decanters are always clean and impeccable
      • Ignoring the potential presence of bad smells, dust, water, detergent if accidentally washed with a detergent, or others
      • Not accepting the fact that decanters may not have been cleaned properly and may not have been checked by the management
      • Trusting without checking people slacking off on the job and not doing what they are supposed to be doing
      • Assuming people are always doing their job without checking what they have done
      • Believing that the "avinage" is an old procedure that has no reason to exist any longer 


      This list is non-exhaustive and I could continue to add other arguments and reasons to why the "avinage" is still of major importance in the decantation process and why it should be done. But I will stop here, as I feel exhausted and disappointed to read all the nasty comments of so many people who believe they are right while they are actually wrong, and assume they know better than anyone else, when the reality of things around them in restaurant and hotel is telling them the opposite of what they believe to be true. So, once and for all, put in your pea brain that NO, not all decanters are always clean and impeccable, and NO, not all Sommelier and other restaurant and hotel staff are doing their job properly, and NO, do not assume that you don't have to check on them either.   


      I wrote this last paragraph especially to directly answer a Sommelier (of my age roughly), working supposedly as a teacher in a Sommelier School in Paris, and who wrote a list of really nasty, judgemental, arrogant and pretentious comments to my post (with the 3rd video above) on my LinkedIn profile, which really pissed me off and irritated me to the core, beyond believe (and it has been a long time I felt such anger against someone).

      To tell you the truth, I hate when people strongly judge and criticize when they don't even know or have no relation whatsoever with you or the person they are spitting nonsense about (the French are usually good for that, unfortunately). And I also hate nasty, judgemental, arrogant, pretentious, snob and up their nose Sommeliers! (And God knows they are plenty of them in this world.... sigh).

      Sorry for ranting like that, but sometimes it is good to shout it out instead of keeping it inside.

      Cheers! Santé!

      LeDomduVin a.k.a. Dominique Noël 

      Leave me a comment below to let me know what you think about these videos.
      They are in French, I know, it is a bit difficult if you do not speak/understand it, but I will try to make some videos in English too soon. 😊 


      * Anyhow, you also have the translation button option at the top of the right-hand side column if really needed 😉