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Malbec Match Made in Heaven: Alain Dominique Perrin and Michel Rolland

One made a name for himself running one the world’s most renowned luxury brands. The other is a world-renowned oenologist. When Alain Dominique Perrin, formerly CEO /Chairman of Must de Cartier and Cartier International, purchased the historic 16th century Chateau Lagrézette in Cahors, France, he tapped Michel Rolland to oversee construction of the new wine production facility. Using his eye for detail and design, Perrin oversaw Chateau Lagrézette’s restoration, and Rolland tended to the vines.

Michel Rolland recalled a first meeting with Alain Dominique Perrin. “We drove through the vineyards in a convertible car that belonged to Brigitte Bardot. That was classy!”

At the time (1988) Chateau Lagrézette was still a winery cooperative. Says Rolland, “This was a first for me: to consult for a private client with wines vinifed in a ‘kolkhotz’! I quickly discovered the drawbacks of the cooperative and immediately warned Alain that my intervention would useless. Not being a man to take ‘no’ for an answer, he told me, ‘I promise you a beautiful Lagrézette winery in just a few years.'”

Alain Dominique Perrin (right) Michel Rolland (left)

Construction on the new winery was completed in 1992. The first two vintages of Le Pigeonnier and Cuvée Dame Honneur became flagships of the appellation. Chateau Lagrézette has three vineyards. Caillac Vineyard, located between the winery and the Atlantic Ocean, and Landiech Vineyard, to the west of Chateau Lagrézette, both produce Malbec, the estate’s main focus. Rocamadour Vineyard, sixty kilometers from Caillac, produces Viognier.

Michel Rolland, Maguy LeCoze and Alain Dominique Perrin at Le Bernardin

Thirty years later, the two are still close and toasting to their success and good health. We had the chance to join them at a dinner September 27, 2018, that Perrin hosted in honor of Rolland at the New York Times four-star-rated Le Bernardin. Pairing two of Chateau Lagrézette’s silky Malbec wines with two of Chef Eric Ripert‘s sublime seafood dishes, Octopus with Tomato Salsa with Red Wine Molé Sauce, and a combo of Hawaiian Walu and Seared Waygu Beef with a Tomato Summer Roll in Spiced Red Wine Sauce, were both unexpected pleasures.  www.chateau-lagrezette.com 

Chateau Lagrézette aerial view. The estate dates back to 1503.

 

Listen here to our show with Alain Dominique Perrin

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Michel Rolland Embraces Malbec in Argentina

Michel Rolland has been called “The Flying Winemaker.” The Bordeaux-based oenologist consults for more than 80 estates and in 13 countries around the world. When he’s not boarding planes to another far-flung wine region, you may find him riding a horse surveying his vineyards in Argentina.

Photo source: www.michelrolland-argentinaexperience.com

Rolland is a partner with four Bordeaux familiars in Clos de los Siete, seven estates located on 2000 acres in Argentina’s Uco Valley  Mendoza at the foothills of the Andes. Here, temperatures vary widely from day to night which helps produce wines with high tannins and concentrated color. The pebble and clay soils help drain the melting snow coming from the Andes, while the vineyards’ south to southwest locations soak up the sun.

All of Clos de los Siete wines are Malbec blends known for their refined style, ageability, and value. All are priced under $20/bottle. They are imported by Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits are the number one Malbec blend from the Argentina in the U.S.A.

Recently we sat down with Michel to taste of a few of the wines, including a 2015, 2011 and 2006. All were well-structured and less fruit intensive than many Argentine Malbecs. What struck us about the 2006, and even the 2011, was how well the wines aged.

Rolland said 2011 was a tough year since many of the vineyards were destroyed by hailstorms. Yields were low but overall, the vintage was good with strong aging potential. He noted that the 2011 was the first vintage to use a little Cabernet Franc in the blend. The younger 2015 was from a cooler year and showed ripe fresh fruit. The 2006, a warmer year, showed the wine’s ageability and potential to enjoy for perhaps another four years. Info: www.closdelossiete.com 

Listen to Michel Rolland here on The Connected Table SIPS on iHeart.com/iHeart App