Wed 03 Oct 2012

Free Advice from a Bordeaux Master


Denis Dubourdieu

Denis Dubourdieu

Denis Dubourdieu, consultant and eminent professor at Bordeaux University, better known to members as owner and producer, with wife Florence and sons Fabrice and Jean-Jacques, of Cantegril (Exhibition Sauternes), Clos Floridène, Doisy Daëne and Reynon, is the subject of the latest in a series of books by Gilles Berdin entitled Autour d’une bouteille avec…, or ‘Sharing a bottle with…’.

This series claims to gather ‘the words of the greatest winegrowers in the hope of passing on a little of their flame (passion or flair might have made a better translation here) and experience to the reader, and perhaps even some of their knowledge and know-how to future generations.’

In it, as well as providing all sorts of insights into what makes Dubourdieu’s wines different, Denis offers the reader some free advice on choosing a Bordeaux wine in a restaurant (and it adapts to some other wine regions too).

Admitting to first looking for his own wines, his policy thereafter, in order to find a bottle that will give pleasure without breaking the bank, is to look for two similarly priced wines of different appellations.

The trick is to choose the wine from the lesser appellation, less well-recognised and sought-after, perhaps, but one that is likely to have been more carefully chosen by the owner or their sommelier. ‘If the owner of the restaurant we are in offered the cheapest Graves, Côtes de Bordeaux, or Barsac, he would not list any of my wines,’ comments Denis, adding: ‘the cheapest wine of the appellation is never any good.’

Reading this reminded me of a conversation years ago with an old friend in the restaurant business, who admitted to taking a far higher margin on Chablis and Fleurie in his frustration at customers who defaulted to the familiar instead of asking his very well-qualified young sommelier for advice. This is not a policy we use when pricing The Society’s List I hasten to add! Please don’t stop drinking Chablis and Fleurie on my account. They can be amongst the most delicious food wines you can buy, and Denis Dubourdieu’s advice applies well to Burgundy too.

Jo Locke MW
Society Buyer

Categories : Bordeaux, France

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