A Second French Revolution: Château Guiraud’s Sweet Eco Manifesto

Xavier Planty and his son Luc Planty may not be direct descendants of the 16th century owners of Château Guiraud in Sauternes, but they definitely inherited their revolutionary spirit. In fact, if there’s one word that best describes the wine business modus operandi of the Planty family, it’s rebellious. Which is exactly how one might…

Digging into Bordeaux’s Green Movement

I’m back from Bordeaux. Yes, again. How many visits to Bordeaux in a year constitute an addiction? No need to answer; it’s a rhetorical question. But for the record, I’m up to three. Some of my friends are calling me a wannabe Bordelaise. I am happy to report that’s true. Disclosures aside, the focus of…

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…

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…