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…

September 28, 2012 Martine

The Most Dreary Growing Season in Champagne and Burgundy Results in an Outstanding Vintage 2012 After All! Last March, I spent 10 days in Burgundy, enduring summer temperatures over 80F, as I was equipped for cold weather. Incredible and worrisome for producers. Champagne Stéphane Coquillette, Chardonnay harvest April 1st (for my second movie “A Year in Champagne”) we filmed Stéphane Coquillette demonstrating pruning in his vineyard under a blazing sun and a deep blue sky.  At that point, the vineyards of Burgundy were 6 weeks ahead, versus 4 in 2011! From April 1st to mid-August, both…

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 15, 2008 Martine

Every one talks about the year of the 13 moons greatly affecting the climate: too hot, too wet, too stormy, too cold. In fact, this is a year of uncontrollable weather affecting every region of France. I arrived in Burgundy on September 1st, having calculated the dates of my trip according to the date of blooming season. If you add 90 days, you get almost the correct date of harvest. Mildew affected vineyard in Vosne-Romanée Well, it was all wrong. The summer was wet and cold until September 8th. Every one was depressed. Some even had hale…

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…

October 1, 2003 Martine

I arrived in Mâcon on August 25th, anticipating that the harvest would start on September 1st –already at least two to three weeks earlier than customary.  The hot weather began in mid-June and was still in the mid-nineties when I arrived. There were no green meadows on the Beaujolais and Mâconnais hillsides, just burnt trees here and there.  Only the vineyards painted striking green patches in the California-like landscape! As you know, vines have deep roots. The older the vine, the longer the roots, sometimes reaching up to 50 feet, allowing them to get nutrients and water. [caption id=”attachment_1773″ align=”alignright”…