From Mendoza to Tuscany, Napa to Rioja; there is a name that regularly rolls off the palates of many winemakers that I admire: Michel Rolland. Even The New York Times referred to Rolland as the world's most famous wine consultant. Observing that Rolland had collaborated in the creation of many wines that I enjoyed, I became increasingly intrigued and hoped that one day our paths would cross. Would I ever meet this French gentleman who had played such an important role in the production of wine around the world? Well, it seems that Bacchus, the god of wine, intervened on my behalf: my wish came to fruition thanks to a very special tasting hosted by Les Vignobles André Lurton and Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits at the acclaimed restaurant Daniel in NYC.
During lunch at Daniel, I told Michel Rolland that it was a pleasure to meet him after encountering so many of his friends and colleagues in the wine world. When he replied that he also had his share of detractors, I told him what my Grandmother told me - when people are overly critical it often means that you're doing something right and shaking things up!
It seems that Bacchus was also at work several years ago when Michel Rolland told a radio interviewer that he regretted never having worked with André Lurton - a legendary Bordeaux winemaker who was born in the middle of the harvest at his family's Château Bonnet and seemingly destined to devote a great portion of his life to viticulture. Lurton heard that radio interview and it prompted him to call Rolland and voila, it was the beginning of something special. Rolland has been a consulting oenologist at Les Vignobles André Lurton since the 2012 vintage.
Born into a winemaking family in Libourne (just 30 km from Bordeaux) and a graduate of the Bordeaux Faculty of Oenology, one could say that the wines of this region are in Rolland's DNA. His combination of technical skills, emotional connections to Bordeaux, and knowledge of the global market are a great match with Lurton. Lurton and Rolland working together to create wines that are truly magnifique seems like it was meant to be.
Les Vignobles André Lurton is comprised of ten different châteaux in the most prestigious appellations in Bordeaux. If you've been intimidated by wines from Bordeaux, give Lurton a swirl. Classic yet modern, the Lurton wines that I sipped at lunch with Mr. Rolland displayed great finesse, elegance, and drinkability. Yes, they are a great match with a gourmet meal prepared by Daniel Boulud but they can just as easily be enjoyed with a casual meal at home - these wines are sophisticated without being pretentious. I wouldn't shy away from pairing a glass with a juicy burger or steak.
Château Bonnet Reserve Red 2012 ($14.99)
A smooth and luscious blend of Merlot (59%), Cabernet Sauvignon (40%), and a dash of Cabernet Franc (1%). Rich and round with gorgeous flavors of blackcurrant and blackberry with a subtle hint of spice. A great match with lamb or even a hearty bowl of chili con carne.
Château de Rochemorin 2012 ($33.99)
In the 18th century Château de Rochemorin belonged to the famous philosopher and writer Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquie and he was an enthusiastic ambassador of the wines produced there. I think he would be pleased with this 2012 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (60%) and Merlot (40%) - an elegant wine with ripe fruit and mineral flavors that are balanced by earthiness and spice.
Château La Louvière 2012 ($74.99)
The chateau dates back to the late 18th century architecture but winegrowing at Château La Louvière goes back more than 700 years. This soil has stories! A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (57%), Merlot (40%), and Petit Verdot (3%), this rich red wine has concentrated fruit flavors but it is graceful and not jammy.
These three wines are just a delicious preview of the Les Vignobles André Lurton portfolio. I encourage you to visit their website to learn more and to even plan a visit. Did you know that Bordeaux is a UNESCO World Heritage Site? Cheers!