November 27, 2017 Martine's Wines

At first glance, fine wine presents almost unlimited opportunities for passionate investors. While drinkers might balk at the $3,000 average price tag attached to a bottle of Pétrus, one of Bordeaux’s greatest reds, that sum is trivial beside the cost of a new Bugatti sports car, Patek Philippe watch, or Joan Miró painting. Compared to other collectibles, fine wine represents a relatively modest investment—one whose returns can be considerable. Thus begins William Kelley’s Robb Report feature “Fine Wine Might Be One of the Safest Investments for Your Money” in which Martine’s Wines president, Gregory Castells, is among those interviewed. Click here to read Kelley’s…

October 12, 2016 Martine's Wines

An article from Wine Spectator published November 15, 2016 Lalou Bize-Leroy is recognized as one of Wine Spectator’s “luminaries who made a difference” in the magazine’s 40th Anniversary issue. In 1955, Henri Leroy installed his 23-year-old daughter Marcelle, known as Lalou, at the head of the family’s Burgundy négociant, Maison Leroy. The move allowed him to focus on other, more lucrative parts of the family business, mainly a brandy distillery. Not surprisingly, men in 1950s Burgundy were not keen on taking orders from a young woman. Bize-Leroy was unfazed. Throughout her career, this intelligent woman has been successful by developing strong principles and sticking to…

June 30, 2015 Martine's Wines

An article by Bruce Sanderson from the June 30, 2015 issue of Wine Spectator. Isolated but undaunted, Lalou Bize-Leroy makes some of Burgundy’s finest wines Disaster loomed in Burgundy’s 1993 vintage. A wet spring led to severe attacks of mildew. To save their grape crops, growers had to spray twice as much fungicide as in a normal year. Marcelle (“Lalou”) Bize-Leroy would have none of that. The owner of Domaine Leroy, with holdings in many of Burgundy’s finest vineyards, she had been committed to biodynamic principles since founding the estate in 1988. She adamantly refused the use of chemicals, even…

October 30, 2014 Martine

At the end of September in California, I picked up the phone and started dialing our producers abroad to see what information I could gather on the progress of their 2014 harvests. Here is my report. With all the disturbing news of heavy rain and cool weather in Bordeaux, I was quite concerned about Chateau les Justices and Respide-Medeville. But according to Julie Gonet-Medeville, they harvested superb quality white grapes between September 10 and 17 this year. Picking of the reds started October 3 at Chateau des Eyrins and Respide-Medeville. It has been a long time since their harvest was in…

October 15, 2011 Martine

Following a very early spring with unusually warm temperatures and dry weather, the blooming got a head start.  In 2011, it occurred mid-May. If you add 90 to 100 days, it will give you roughly the date of harvest.  The good weather continued through June and everyone was aware that it might be like the 2003 vintage that started from Mid-August on.  Winemakers then decided to take their family vacation in July. The months of July and August changed everything. The weather was overcast, cool, rainy, and slowed down the maturity of the grapes and furthermore, brought mildew. When I…

October 1, 2010 Martine

When I arrived in Burgundy at the end of August, no one was very cheerful. After a very cold winter, some of the vines had died, a frost had formed during flowering which greatly reduced the future crop, and a lot of millerandage occurred. Millerandage clusters at Domaine Perrot-Minot Then, after a scorching heat-wave from the end of June to mid-July, the weather turned rather cool and wet. Vineyards were stricken with mildew and odium. Everyone was hoping for a great month of September to ripen the grapes. There is a saying:  “September makes the wine…”…

October 4, 2007 Martine

Dominique Cornin’s vineyard in Chaintré There is a saying in Burgundy “Septembre fait le vin,” September makes the wine. It applied in 1978 when the entire summer was overcast with cool temperatures, and by the end of August, the grapes looked like little green English peas.  This year, as the growers came back from their short vacation in anticipation of an early harvest, they were depressed, totally undone, almost desperate. The weather had been cool, grey, and rainy with a low of 10° C and a high of 15° C. Jean Thévenet…

September 25, 2006 Martine

A relatively cold and wet winter, followed by a late spring with no frost… a blooming season on schedule… it seems that no one had to worry!  July was scorching, then August was cold, overcast and wet, with unseasonably cool temperatures from the Mediterranean coast to Chablis. Upon my arrival in Macon, I immediately wanted to hear about the harvest from Dominique Cornin.  He was a total pessimist, complaining that veraison had stopped because of the cold weather in August, and that after two days of heavy rain, mildew had developed.  By September 6th, the temperature had risen to 90˚F…

October 1, 2005 Martine

In mid-June, I started to inquire about when to anticipate the next harvest.  June is the month of blooming grapes.  If temperatures are correct and there is no rain, flowering can last two weeks. However, if the temperature drops, or if it rains, then blooming will be interrupted, which will delay the maturity of the grapes, thus flowering will happen in two stages. Emmanuel Rouget, Henri Jayer’s nephew, reminded me of the white Lily prophecy.  It so happens that the Lily blooms about the same time as the vine. They are everywhere with their fragrant smell and beautiful tall flowers….

September 15, 2004 Martine

At the end of August, the outlook was grim. Following the flowering, the cool nights of June led to oidium (powdery mildew). July was wet. August was overcast and cool, which meant no luminosity—so necessary for the ripening of the grapes. Then, two major hail storms unfurled over Pommard and Volnay, all the way to Marsannay devastating vineyards and causing 10% to 80% damage to the vines. On the positive side, the wet winter that followed the severe draught of the Summer of 2003, revived the severely damaged but shallow-rooted younger vines. It seemed to be a promising normal crop…