We love to say “France is our 2nd home.” This year, after driving 8,216 miles over 76 days to 19 different cities (several multiple times) across La France — we proved we REALLY mean it. (Quite a contrast to 2020 & 2021!!!) Naturally, we have hundreds of new photos….and a few to share here.
As always, we can’t thank you, our customers, enough for your patronage and support. This year we especially want to thank our French friends, producers and winemakers — your hospitality and generosity far surpassed anything we could have expected. Nous avons énormément de chance de pouvoir travailler avec vous et, dans de nombreux cas, de vous appeler nos amis. Merci beaucoup !
Wishing everyone a joyous holiday season and a very healthy, happy New Year.
À votre santé !
We kicked off our spring tours in Bordeaux with the Uchytil family. Here at magnificent Château Pape Clément are: Daisy Perez, Angela, Steve, Patty & Andrew Uchytil, Laura Hennemann and Marla & Michel.
In Bordeaux we also toured historical Château d’Issan, a Margaux estate dating back to the 12th century. Here with Colin Hyland, Addison, Tom & Lisa Reed and Michel & Marla.
Two of our favorite Bordeaux personalities – Victoire Touton & Jean-Bernard Grenier of Château Angélus. Sharing their 100-pt 2016 was a special treat.
The Wizard of Pomerol – Alexandre Thienpont, owner of Vieux Château Certan. Our tasting included the 2017 Gravette de Certan as well as the VCC 2018 & 100-pt. 2015. Alexandre’s wines are as voluptuous and energetic as they are refined and elegant. Pure alchemy!
A special thanks to our dear friends Hélène Garcin and Patrice Lévêque, who have hosted us more times than we can count at their beautiful home, Château Barde-Haut. Votre générosité et hospitalité sont exceptionnelles. Nous ne pouvons pas vous remercier suffisamment.
In Burgundy, Alexandre Abel, winemaker for Domaine Ponsot, invited us to visit the estate vineyard in Morey-Saint Denis — the famous Blanc des Monts Luisants — the only premier cru Burgundy made entirely from Aligoté. Both the views and wine are extraordinary.
On the Côte de Beaune in Puligny-Montrachet, we tasted with Pierre Vincent, Domaine Leflaive General Director — a priceless education and privilege. Merci, Pierre!
The one and only Henri Boillot at his cellars in Meursault, where he shared numerous bottles with us, including an exquisite 1991 Volnay 1er Cru Les Caillerets.
Enjoying the bubbles at Champagne Bollinger: Marla with Rebecca Cook and Dana Manning.
At Château Lafite Rothschild, during Bordeaux Primeurs, Michel chats with Francis Perez, Maître-de-Chai.
Winemaker extraordinaire, Gabriel Vialard showed us through the new cellars at Château Haut‑Bailly: Marla & Michel, Victoria Norman, Gabriel Vialard, James Norman, Carrie & Carl Britton and Robert DeJong.
On a personal note, we experienced a memorable week in Bordeaux for the 2021 Futures with our kids, Victoria & James Norman, owners of Double P Imports. Our collaboration with them has been a highlight of the year and we love hearing all the positive feedback.
From Bordeaux, we headed south to Cassis and the Riviera. Here at Hôtel Les Roches Blanches with Colette Schwartz, Tom & Melanie Hansbrough, Dann Schwartz, Bert & Sue Trucksess, Michel & Marla.
After a summer break, we resumed our tours along the Riviera. Here at Le Plongeoir in Nice: Michel & Marla with Harriett Crommelin, Tom & Dana Saffel.
Needless to say, during our tours we enjoy any number of outstanding restaurants, but our vote for most-sensational location this year has to go to Le Plongeoir. Dining on a rock in the middle of the Mediterranean with views of the Côte d’Azur from Nice to Saint-Tropez was unforgettable.
Michel found a very nice bottle at Château Smith Haut Lafitte with Robert DeJong, Wendy & John Lakso, Betty DeJong, Marla & Michel, Pat Fox and John Shearer.
Bordeaux mixes up great cocktails too! John Shearer at Le Gabriel du Château Angélus.
At Château Cheval Blanc we were treated to a remarkable lunch featuring a collection of iconic vintages: 2011, 2010, 2009 and 1998 — the first vintage produced by co-owners Bernard Arnault & Albert Frère. Ann Patera, Marla, Arnaud de Laforcade (CFO-Commercial Director of Cheval Blanc) Jim Patera, Aymar Cruse (Twins Négociants) Kathryn Reynolds, Tara Pate, Nancy & Merrill Reynolds and Michel.
We ended our tours for the year in Champagne. Here a final toast at Moët & Chandon: Tara Pate, Michel, Lena Perrein (Moët & Chandon) Marla, Ann Patera, Kathryn & Nancy Reynolds, Jim Patera and Merrill Reynolds.