James Molesworth of the Wine Spectator is in Bordeaux tasting the 2008 and 2009 vintages, and spent a day in Pomerol with the master of the region, Christian Moueix, and his son Edouard. In a wide-ranging interview, there are great mentions of Château Providence and Château La Fleur-Pétrus, along with a superb video of Christian Moueix at Château Providence explaining how he prunes his vines.
The tour continued at Providence, back in Pomerol, where the small, efficient cellar has both cement and stainless steels vats.
“I love the cement vats for their temperature inertia,” said Moueix. “I am a bit old school. But they are large so it’s hard to do smaller parcel selections in them, and we are going more and more that way as we look for precision. The stainless steel tanks give us that flexibility.”
Precision is now the buzzword around Bordeaux. It’s what all the vignerons say they are striving for in their wine, the way Rhône vignerons talk of minerality for example. In Bordeaux, it’s popular to tout the latest technological toy—an optical sorter for example—as the châteaus try to leapfrog each other in pursuit of the precision.
“I am looking for precision,” said Moueix, when I press him on the issue. At what point does human control of the winemaking process become too much? Can you eliminate complexity by searching for an unattainable goal of perfect precision?
“It’s true, we have become maniacs with selection. I agree at some point it could be too much. This is a question we have to ask ourselves,” said Christian, before turning to Edouard.
“You’re right,” said Edouard. “There is the old school and then there is technology. They can work together if you ask yourself first, before you try something new, ‘Who am I?’. If you can answer yourself that question, then you can move forward.”
Molesworth singles out the Providence 2009 as one of Moueix’s top-flight wines, along with the 2009 La Fleur-Pétrus, both VINTUS US exclusives.
Château Providence 2009
“The Providence Pomerol 2009 is super lush, but refined at the same time, with raspberry, cherry compote and red licorice. It stays pure and driven and has latent power but this is about finesse, even in a grippy vintage like ’09.”
Château Lafleur-Pétrus 2009
“The Château La Fleur-Pétrus Pomerol 2009 (Merlot with 10 percent Cabernet Franc) is very tight today and showing its wood too, with a briar note on the edges of the dark raspberry, blackberry and cherry compote notes. It has a long, spice- and tobacco-filled finish and is showing lots of range and plenty of grip too.”