The death of Paul Pontallier, director of Château Margaux, has cast an undoubted shadow over the primeur tastings that will take place next week. Aged 59, he died this Easter Monday of cancer. When André Mentzelopoulos bought Margaux in 1976, at a time when it was seriously underperforming, he had the wisdom to engage Emile Peynaud as consultant. It is said that he told Peynaud “I want you to make me the best wine in the world.” To which Peynaud replied: “Give me the best grapes in the world and I will make you the best wine in the world.” Or words to that effect. It was Peynaud’s young protégé Paul Pontallier, who came to Margaux in 1983, who was largely responsible for achieving that goal, with the unswerving support of the current owner Corinne (daughter of André Mentzelopoulos).
As I write, at 10.30pm Bordeaux time Sunday evening, flashes of lightning and the rumble of thunder punctuate the torrential rain. It is probably fair to say that this is not what most Bordeaux châteaux were hoping for this past weekend. Those who were planning to start picking their reds Monday [14/9] may have to think again.
Château La Louvière Blanc 2010, Pessac-Léognan, was one of the highlights of a tasting with family and friends last night, reports David Rowe from Bordeaux. The colour is definitely straw, rather than the “pale straw” description we use so often for younger Bordeaux whites. But the remarkable freshness of peach and apricot fruit on the nose belies the age of the wine and promises interesting possibilities for future development in bottle.