Tasting the 2018 Bordeaux Futures: a palate-expanding experience

Tasting red wine en primeur is not for the faint of heart or faint of palate. Wine tasters participating in Bordeaux’s annual spring “futures” marathon go long and go hard. They must push themselves physically and mentally. Tasting schedules can be gruelling, demanding ~14 days of heavy lifting and one hundred plus Grands Crus Classé…

Canadians in Napa! Steve Matthiasson: Farmer, Viticulturist, Winemaker & Guardian of the Galaxy….aka Grape

The 2017 Matthiasson Rosé. Photo credit: Matthiasson Wines Did I happen to mention Steve Matthiasson, venerated winemaker, chief viticultural steward and all round humanitarian at Matthiasson Wines, grew up on my street in Winnipeg, Manitoba, CANADA? It’s true. Napa’s guardian of the grape is indeed Canadian, spending his early years on Queenston Street, just around the…

Bordeaux’s Château de Reignac: a Case Study in Risk and Reward

If you’re of a certain vintage – or a student of advertising – you may be familiar with the seminal 1962 advertising campaign for Avis. The car rental company summed up their ‘customer promise’ in the pithy advertising tagline “We Try Harder”. Of course, consumers everywhere wondered try harder than whom? Without saying as much,…

Château Margaux in the Digital Age: There’s no Looking Back

Many years ago, before I started studying wine, I had an opportunity to drink a Château Margaux at an advertising client lunch. I declined, because I knew my associates would expect me to say something pithy about the wine, and the weight of that expectation was crippling. I could describe the colour, but after that,…

Bordeaux’s Château Cos d’Estournel: A Digital Future Guided by the Past

  “Is the wine as good as the architecture?” asked my professor-of-architecture friend when I sent him a photo of Bordeaux’s Château Cos d’Estournel. “And then some!” I say, as I attempt to absorb a lecture on “Saracenic style” – a mix of Indian, Islamic and classical architecture, a result of the British colonization of…

Bordeaux Breakdown: Do the Big Châteaux have Social Savvy?

You’re a prestigious, classified château in Bordeaux and you sell 90% of your wine without lifting a marketing finger (en primeur, anyone?). So why would a region with centuries old traditions embrace social media platforms? As it happens, the itinerary for my inaugural trip to Bordeaux was decided by a Twitter post exploring that very…

Culmina Family Estate Winery: The Triggs of the Trade

I don’t think it would be a stretch to describe Culmina’s Sales and Marketing Manager, Sara Triggs as a tour de force. Like Gordon Fitzpatrick who you met in my last post – Sara is a second-generation winemaker, and like Gordon, a descendant of Canadian winemaking royalty. Sara’s parents are Don and Elaine Triggs (see…

Second Generation Winemaking Families: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards Sparkle

Kiefer Sutherland, Kate Hudson, Angelina Jolie, Rashida Jones…….Sara Triggs? Gordon Fitzpatrick? What do they have in common? Some serious star power and a lot of familial fame. In the next two posts, you’ll meet the sons and daughters of industry legends who have stepped out of their parent’s shadows to carry on a family tradition….

Taste the Place: The Terroir Symposium & the Terroirnomics of Local

Terroir – muses Jay McInerney in his book, Bacchus and Me – is essentially the Burgundian inspired word for ‘dirt’ and dirt, he argues, is really just a proxy for ‘location, location, location’. Whether it’s the wine we drink or the food we grow – location and dirt are indeed at the root of all…