Women in Wine Talks with Marie-Laurence Sanfourche, Propriétaire du Château Loupiac-Gaudiet

Château Loupiac-Gaudiet dates to the 15th century and has been owned by the Ducau family since the 1920’s. The wine estate is located in the village of Loupiac, above the Garonne River in Bordeaux, and directly across from the famous appellations of Sauternes and Barsac.

Château Loupiac-Gaudiet benefits from southern exposure and has been in the family for five generations. The wine comes from manual harvest with vines that are over forty years old. Covering an area of ​​​​30 hectares, the wine estate produces both sweet white wine and red Bordeaux.

Marie-Laurence Sanfourche joined her husband Marc Ducau in 1991 by taking over the commercial and administrative roles of the company. In 2014, their son Nicolas joined the family business.

Liz Palmer
Who is Marie-Laurence Sanfourche and tell us a little about your history.

Marie-Laurence Sanfourche
This is an old family business – at the end of the 18th century, the Chateau was built. It has been the property of the Sanfourche and Ducau families since 1920, when the Ducau’s combined Chateau de Loupiac with their own vineyard, Guadiet, to create Chateau Loupiac Gaudiet.

When I met my husband, I married the man, not the chateau. In 1991 I started to work with my husband and my uncle.  My uncle was the soul of the chateau… he passed away at 93.

I now have the commercial role, which is dealing with the export markets as well as the general administration of the business.  Our largest markets are China and USA, I also work with wine merchants in Bordeaux. My son is the fifth generation and he also works in wine sales and exports. My husband (on the other hand) is the winemaker.

Liz Palmer
Who were your mentors in the industry?

Marie-Laurence Sanfourche
My uncle and my father (both) taught me.  I was very often in the vineyard to learn, even when I was a student. They both loved their job and they communicated that love and the hard part of their work….little by little..they taught me. 

Liz Palmer
Do you have a message for other women in wine in your particular role?

Marie-Laurence Sanfourche
When I first started and received clients they (the clients) would say oh it’s a woman ….now it’s different. It’s changed a lot since then and it’s much easier.

I find that women communicate differently, and they are more open.

Liz Palmer
The future is certainly bright for women in the industry, what are your comments?

Marie-Laurence Sanfourche
Women will be more and more important…. Wine is a question of sensitivity, philosophy, and tasting …… wine speaks to us women.

The personality of the wine and the owner are the same (I believe).

Liz Palmer
In your personal wine collection, what would we find?

Marie-Laurence Sanfourche
(I collect) Spanish wines, and wines from California and Australia.

Liz Palmer
What is your favorite food and wine pairing?

Marie-Laurence Sanfourche
For me, I like stronger older Comté or Roquefort cheese paired with and sweet wine.

#Liquoreux #loupiacgaudiet #vins #loupiac #Loupiac #liquoreuxdebordeaux #loupiacwine #sweetwine #loupiacvin #vinliquoreux #vindebordeaux #VinBlanc #Oenotourisme #Vignoble #Vin #winetourism #tourism  #winepairing #womeninwine #womeninwinebusiness #bordeaux #bordeauxlovers

Eastbound Westbound “A winemaker’s story from Bordeaux and California”

Eastbound Westbound “A winemaker’s story from Bordeaux and California” is an engaging present-day historical movie… 🎬 🎥 🎞️

…it transports you to another time period and location..

….you become engrossed in the plot…

… you also find yourself inside iconic wineries, and historic chateaus like Château Haut-Brion (Premier Cru Classé en 1855, Pessac-Léognan), and Château La Mission Haut-Brion (Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Léognan)

Check out the official trailer and see for yourself ….https://lnkd.in/g-uEY8Ag

#film #documentary #behindthescenes #filmproduction #setdesign #filmcrew #filmlocation #filmset #movielocation #instagood #filmtourism #filmtourist #wine #winelover #thomasjefferson #bordeauxwine #finewine #crusclassés1855 #bordeauxwinelovers #winehistory #filmlover #wineinfluencers #sommlife #sommelier #winenews #wineindustry #winetrade #eastboundwestboundfilm

Women in Wine Talks: Laure de Lambert Compeyrot, CEO of Château Sigalas Rabaud 1er Cru Classé 1855 Sauternes

Where good things come from a smaller 1er Cru Classe” Liz Palmer

On my recent trip to Bordeaux, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet and speak with Laure de Lambert Compeyrot.  Laure is CEO of Château Sigalas Rabaud 1er Cru Classé 1855 Sauternes (Bommes), the 6th generation of Château Sigalas Rabaud.

Château Sigalas Rabaud has a 14-hectare vineyard which is the smallest of the premier crus and is a very close neighbor of Château Yquem. Located in the commune of Bomme, on a slope facing south, the vines grow on the famous “Sauternes Terrace” characterized by a clay bedrock, covered with a silico gravel soil deposited by the Garonne over 600,000 years ago. Their plantings are 85% Semillon and 14% Sauvignon Blanc and 1% Muscadelle, with the average vines being 45 years old.

Château Sigalas Rabaud produces an extraordinary elegant and delicate Sauternes whose structure is 90% Sémillon and 10% Sauvignon Blanc, stored for 18 months in French oak barrels, with > 120g/L sugar.

This great terroir also produces excellent dry white wines.  What stood out for me was the Sémillante de Sigalas. Made from older Sémillon vines, it is a single varietal, aged  8 months in French oak barrels, with > 5 g/L sugar.  This wine was made without sulfur and produced on the same terroir as the 1st Grand Cru Classé, making it even more special.

The property features a beautiful 17th-century Chartreuse with five elegant guest rooms.  When I stepped out onto the terrace, I found stunning views of neighboring chateaux. The lounge and dining room have a real family feel, with an elegant mix of traditional and eclectic furniture and design. I was thrilled to find that Château Sigalas Rabaud received a 2022 Best of Wine Tourism Award on accommodation, and I can see why – what a stunning property.

Laure de Lambert Compeyrot

I finally get a chance to speak with Laure de Lambert Compeyrot about her start in the industry and other interesting facts about her.  The content has been edited for clarity.

Château Sigalas Rabaud has been under the management of sixth-generation Laure de Lambert Compeyrot since 2006 who has given the property a huge lift.  Laure officially became CEO in 2013. Her winemaking studies were at the School of Oenology of Bordeaux, although her position has shifted from winemaker and management to CEO she has a deep passion for the vineyard and the Chateaux.

While we were walking towards the vineyards, Laure explained how she is working with other neighboring Grands Crus Classés châteaux, to develop wine tourism in the Sauternes region.  She was elected President of Route des Vins en Graves et Sauternes in 2021. The association has over 150 members which include wine estates, chateaus, restaurants, hotels, and other properties.  Laure is hands-on “I love to be in the vineyard, to check on the vines, I like to decide the day of harvest, for me that’s very important.”   As we walk through the vineyards Laure tells me that she is “aware of the importance of respecting the terroir and its ecosystem.”

Once back on the terrace Laure and I sit down to continue the discussion with some wine and cheese.  It was a lovely view watching the sun go down and seeing the twinkling lights from the neighboring chateaux…

Liz: Who is Laure de Lambert Compeyrot and tell us about your history?

Laure:  laughs and says I “was born in a barrel” literally.  My mother and father are both from Pomerol and were in the wine business. My grandfather used to go out with me looking botrytis – I learned a lot of things from both grandfathers when I was young. I was exposed to vineyard work back then.

I worked in the Louvre, Paris in furniture – I loved my work.  After I had my children, I came back to work.  My husband is a banker, so we moved often like Toulouse and other locations.

In 2003 my father (Gérard, Marquis de Lambert des Granges) asked his children if someone would go to Montreal, Canada and I did.  I felt it was luck and I presented the 2001 in Montreal and I felt proud. I decided to go back to school to study winemaking, it was difficult but so interesting. I got an internship (in the family estate) in 2005.  My teenage children supported me in going back to school and for me, it was necessary to be successful in my studies for my children.  I couldn’t fail.

            “It’s important to take the risk by yourself”

 Liz:  Can you tell us what changes you have made since becoming CEO and what future plans you have?

Laure: Since becoming CEO, the first thing I changed is the tractor (laughs). I also wanted the estate to be bio, it was a good idea.  I also changed a lot of things in the vineyard and the cellar.

I also decided to organize agrotourism, so I invited a specialist (to study how it would work).

I have become successful with (wine) tourism, we have 57 % French guests, 20 % are local from Bordeaux, with the other 43% are from USA, Belgium and UK.

Another change I made is linking with the neighbors, you must speak with them and be with them and learn how we can all work together. I like to create links!  I am also the President of the Route des Vins en Graves et Sauternes.

“You are a révolutionnaire” my father’s friends have told me

Liz: Who has been your mentor in the industry?

Laure: I have two of them – the first one is a friend of my father and a big owner of Bordeaux of Medoc. In 2009 we were having dinner with my father and he said to my father its time for your daughter to become CEO. He showed me so much…he took my hand.  I had the code – because I’m from an old family. The second one is a true artist Eric Boissenot who is an oenologist.

Liz: If you weren’t the CEO of Château Sigalas Rabaud, what would you be doing?

Laure:  A lot of things….. maybe a painter, or something with my husband, maybe in Cambodia working in agriculture….

Liz: In your personal wine collection, what would we find?

Laure: Including historic family wines, I also collect a lot of wines from Napa, California.

Liz: What is your favorite food and wine pairing?

Laure: I have so many …. Sauternes 2016 with Roquefort cheese.

This ends our conversation and as we enjoy our glass of Chateau Sigalas Rabaud 2006 [Sauternes] and Roquefort cheese.

To learn more about Laure de Lambert Compeyrot and Château Sigalas Rabaud please visit  ttps://www.chateau-sigalas-rabaud.com/

This interview is part of “Women in Wine Talk” series, our continuing effort to highlight winemakers, sustainable specialists, executives, and others making a positive impact in the world of wine.

@charmeu_usa @charmeu_canada and @vinsblancsdebordeaux_usa #enjoyitsfromeurope #euAgriPromo #MadeintheEU #thecharmingtasteofeu #charmeu #bordeauxwine #bordeauxwinelover #madeinfrance #wine #winelover #travelling #traveldiaries  #winelife #winetourism #womeninwine #womenwinemakers #womeninwinebusiness #femmesdevin #awardwinning #wine #sweetwine #whitewine #ChâteauSigalasRabaud #PremierCruClassé #sauternes

The Sweet White Wines of Bordeaux

Bordeaux has been producing sweet white wines since 1630 and at that time were considered an after-dinner drink by wealthy landowners who liked the sweet style. Recently these wines have become popular again among younger consumers, gourmands, and chefs.

The Grands Vins Liquoreux de Bordeaux or Union des Grands vins de Bordeaux Sweet was established in 2009. There are eight appellations and based on terroir, each focuses on a different interpretation of sweetness:

  • AOP Cadillac – Sweet and subtle
  • AOP Loupiac – Sweet and sensual
  • AOP Saint Croix-du-Mont – Sweet and generous
  • AOP Saint-Macaire – Sweet and tangy, medium sweet
  • AOP Bordeaux Superior – Sweet and diaphanous
  • AOP Bordeaux Moelleux – Sweet and fresh
  • AOP Cerons – Sweet and refined
  • AOP Premiers Cotes de Bordeaux – Sweet and elegant

Grape Varieties

The sweet white wines of Bordeaux tend to be a blend of Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes. Semillon is the main grape varietal used; they have thin skins, and they easily get infected with Botrytis fungus. Semillon also adds texture to the wines.  Sauvignon Blanc adds acidity and crispness to the wines. Muscadelle adds floral aromas to the wine blend.

What makes this wine different from other dessert wines is noble rot. This rot is caused by the fungus Botrytis Cinerea, which increases the wine’s natural sweetness.

Botrytis Cinerea

This starts in the vineyard, and the winemakers in these eight appellations are world-renown for their mastery in producing these wonderful wines.  Also known as “Noble Rot”. Botrytis is a unique kind of fungus that affects the Semillon grape during fall season and before harvest. The affected grapes are sticky and full of aromatics, maintaining a shriveled appearance that evolves over time.

How this fungus attacks the grape clusters, and the length of time it takes to infiltrate the cell structure has a substantial effect on the aromas and flavors. As Botrytis spores expand, it depletes the juice from the grapes by 50%. While this improves the sugar concentration of the grape quite measurably, it also results in specific aromas coming from this” newly” crystallized fruit.

This is a natural process and it’s very rare that Botrytis will affect an entire grape cluster uniformly. Therefore, harvests are done by hand, over several passes sometimes 4-5 times, over days or weeks.

I was in the vineyards a few weeks ago and did a first pass picking for three rows.  A second, third/fourth pass will occur some days later in order to finish picking the cluster.

I found out that the grape pickers hired must have experience to recognize a botrytis-affected grape and to know they are ready to be picked. This meticulous process has been refined for over 400 years.

This process is also called “successive selection” or “sorting”. This particular harvest process results in extremely low grape yields.

The Terroir

For Botrytis to affect the grapes both the soil composition and weather are equally important. These semi-sweet wines benefit from soils that are chalky with limestone, clay, gravel, and sand. There are also numerous microclimates, facilitated by the location of both the Garonne and Ciron rivers.

An essential element to the onset of Botrytis is the early morning mist, which I also witnessed a few weeks ago. What a magical moment!  The mist appears exclusively in the fall season, preceding harvest. Usually by mid-day with much of the mist has been burned off by the sun.

The Numbers

There are 8 Appellations

1,800 Hectares of Vines [surface area]

350 Estates

1% of Bordeaux Volumes

2% of Bordeaux Area

84,000 Hectoliters Produced

9 Million Bottles Produced Each Year

38 % is Exported

 

@charmeu_usa @charmeu_canada and @vinsblancsdebordeaux_usa #loupiac #enjoyitsfromeurope #euAgriPromo #MadeintheEU #thecharmingtasteofeu #charmeu #cadillac #saintmacaire #cerons #saintecroixdumont #bordeauxsuperieur #premierescotesdebordeaux #bordeauxmoelleux  #bordeauxwine #bordeauxwinelover #madeinfrance #wine #winelover #sweetwine #sweetwinelovers #sweetbordeauxwine  #sweetbordeaux #winelife #winedestinations #womeninwine

Women in Wine Talks – Bordeaux

On my recent trip to Bordeaux, I interviewed many wonderful families including female owners, winemakers and other women in the wine business.. watch this space for the interviews, discussions, and wonderful visuals captured!

Liz Palmer 

@charmeu_usa @charmeu_canada and @vinsblancsdebordeaux_usa

#enjoyitsfromeurope #euAgriPromo #MadeintheEU #thecharmingtasteofeu #charmeu #loupiac #cadillac  #saintmacaire #cerons #saintecroixdumont #bordeauxsuperieur #premierescotesdebordeaux #bordeauxmoelleux  #bordeauxwine #bordeauxlover #madeinfrance #wine #winelover #travelling  #traveldiaries  #winelife #winetourism #winedestinations #womeninwine #womenwinemakers #womeninwinebusiness