Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Lunch at Château Le Bon Pasteur with Winemaker/Owner Dany Rolland, Pomerol, France

Pictures: Annette and Christian G.E. Schiller with Dany Rolland at Château Le Bon Pasteur in Pomerol

One of the (many) highlights of the 2013 Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy PR and WineTours was a tour of Château Le Bon Pasteur, Appellation Pomerol, followed by a spectacular luncheon and winetasting with Dany Rolland, the wife of Michel Rolland, at Château Le Bon Pasteur.

See also:
Bordeaux Wine Tour 2013 by ombiasy 


Pomerol is remarkable for being unremarkable. It is not a long-established area. There are no beautiful chateaux. There is no real town center, just roads connecting the lands and small, farmhouse style wineries. Pomerol has no classification system. With 800 hectares, it is a small area, with small domains. By contrast: The vineyards of St. Emilion cover more than 5000 hectares; the production of Petrus is just 10% of that of Lafite.

Pictures: Château Le Bon Pasteur - Outside

Nevertheless, Pomerol has managed to earn itself a place among the region's most-respected names. The list of the Pomerol’s best properties includes Le Pin, one of the precursors of the Garagistes style, Petrus and Lafleur, with all three of them regarded as "hors classe" growths, and: Eglise-Clinet, Trotanoy, Vieux-Château Certan, L´Evangile, Certan-de-May, La Fleur-Pétrus, Clinet, Bon Pasteur, Le Gay, Rouget, Clos l'Eglise, Nénin, Petit-Village, Lagrange and Gazin. Pomerol, with the wines of Chateau Petrus and Chateau Le Pen, now commands higher prices than those of the long-established Medoc.

Pomerol has the highest Merlot share in Bordeaux, with Merlot accounting for 80% and Cabernet Franc for the rest. Vines are old and yields are extremely low.

Over the centuries, Pomerol had always been in the shadow of Medoc, Graves and even St. Emilion. Only at the beginning of the 20th century, things changed when Belgians and primarily Dutchmen were more and more interested in the red Pomerol wines. It was not until the 1950s that British merchants woke up to the wines and began to import them into the UK.

Pictures: Château Le Bon Pasteur -In the Cellar

Château Le Bon Pasteur

Château Le Bon Pasteur was acquired by the Rolland family - Joseph and Hermine Dupuy - in 1920. The grandson of the original owner, Michel Rolland, well known around the world as “flying winemaker” and wine consultant, and his wife Dany, also an oenologist, created a model vineyard and produce outstanding wines. In May, 2013, Le Bon Pasteur (including the two affiliated properties) was sold to Sutong Pan, the first Asian investor to buy a truly legendary Pomerol estate. Dany and Michel Rolland continue to manage the estate and make the wine.

In the beginning, the owners grew the grapes, but sold the harvest in bulk to negociants. The Dupony family later passed Le Bon Pasteur on to their children, Serge and Geneviève Rolland. In 1978, the Rolland family continued the tradition and gave Chateau Le Bon Pasteur to their children Michel and Jean-Daniel Rolland. This gave birth to the modern era for Le Bon Pasteur and the start of the career for Michel Rolland.

Pictures: Dany Rolland taking Pictures after the Lunch

The property Le Bon Pasteur originally consisted of vineyards in the three communes of Pomerol, Saint-Émilion and Néac, the last one in the appellation Lalande-de-Pomerol. Originally all three wines were called Le Bon Pasteur, with the respective appellation indicated. From 1978, the wine from Saint-Émilion has been called Château Rolland-Maillet and that from Lalande-de-Pomerol called Château Bertineau Saint-Vincent. They are all produced at Le Bon Pasteur.

Le Bon Pasteur consists of 7 hectares with 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. All harvesting is done by hand. The grapes are sorted twice, before and after de-stemming. Prior to 1987, the wine was vinified in concrete vats. In 1987, Dany and Michel Rolland added stainless steel vats equipped with a system of thermoregulation and until the 2010 vintage, the wine was vinified in small steel vats ranging in size from 15 to 70 hectolitres; Dany and Michel Rolland were the first to install this equipment in the Pomerol appellation.

Pictures: Dany Rolland after the Lunch

The grapes are now fermented in barrel and put on an OXO line. The barrels are turned every 3 hours at the start of fermentation and less often by the end of the approximate 40 day maceration. Also starting in 2010, Le Bon Pasteur began including close to 30% whole clusters in the barrels.

The wines of Le Bon Pasteur are aged for 15 to 18 months in 100% new French oak barrels. Bon Pasteur wines are bottled with no fining and unfiltered, if possible. Production averages close to 2,500 cases of Pomerol wine per vintage.

The closest neighbour is Château l’Evangile, and possibly some parts of the next neighbour Château La Conseillante are also visible.

Picture: Dany Rolland with the Group

Michel and Dany Rolland

Michel Rolland grew up on Château Le Bon Pasteur. He studied at the prestigious Bordeaux Oenology Institute, where he met his wife and fellow oenologist, Dany Rolland, and graduated as part of the class of 1972. In 1973, Michel Rolland and his wife bought into an oenology lab in Libourne. They took over full control of the lab in 1976 and expanded it to include tasting rooms. Michel and Dany Rolland's two daughters, Stéphanie and Marie, also work at the lab.

Pictures: Dany Rolland and Annette Schiller

After having sold Château Le Bon Pasteur, Château Bertineau Saint-Vincent in Lalande de Pomerol and Château Rolland-Maillet in Saint-Émilion, the Rollands still own several properties in Bordeaux, including Château Fontenil in Fronsac, and Château La Grande Clotte in Lussac-Saint-Émilion. In addition, they are joint venture partnerships with Bonne Nouvelle in South Africa, Val de Flores in Argentina, Campo Eliseo in Spain and Yacochuya and Clos de los Siete in Argentina.

In addition, Michel Rolland consults for many producers in Bordeaux, in Argentina, South Africa (Simonsberg Stellenbosch), and Spain (Toro).

For more information, Jeff Leve from The Wine Cellar Insider has an excellent writ-up about Château Le Bon Pasteur on his website.


Following the tour and before lunch, we tasted the 2 wines that used to be part of Le Bon Pasteur, but since 1978 have been made under different names: Château Rolland-Maillet from Saint-Émilion and  Château Bertineau Saint-Vincent from Lalande-de-Pomerol. They are all produced at Le Bon Pasteur.

Château Bertineau St.-Vincent 2009

75 % Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc
Ruby-red in the glass, soft notes of of fruits and flowers on the nose, pleasantly light, fruity taste on the palate and fresh longlasting finish. Wine searcher average price in US$: 28

Château Rolland-Maillet 2009

Le Figaro: Le vin, de qualité régulière, est caractérisé par son équilibre, par une belle densité et une grande puissance agréablement marquée par le fruit. La production annuelle est de 15.000 bouteilles. Euro 28

Lunch with Dany Rolland

We then had a wonderful lunch with Dany Rolland.

Freshly baked scampis with pleurotus mushrooms

Guinea fowl supreme with duck foie gras and mushrooms

Hot chocolate fondant and raspberry coulis

Coffee with canneles

The Wines

Chateau La Grande Clotte Blanc 2011

Le Figaro: “Précédant les blancs récemment créés en appellation Saint-Emilion, le premier millésime a été produit en 1999. Les vendanges sont manuelles avec double tri. La vinification est réalisée dans les installations du Château Bon Pasteur à Pomerol. Les fermentations et l’élevage sont conduits en barriques de chêne neuves avec bâtonnage sur lies. Le vin est mis en bouteilles sans filtration. Ce vin se caractérise par une belle robe or et par un nez complexe pouvant présenter des notes d’agrumes, de fleurs blanches, de fruits mûrs et de grillé. En bouche, harmonieux et élégant, le vin se distingue par son charnu et sa rondeur. La production annuelle est d’environ 5.000 bouteilles. La commercialisation se fait en direct via la société familiale "Rolland Collection". Le Figaro: Euro 27

Chateau Le Bon Pasteur 2002

Ruby red in the glass, notes of red berries, leather, a hint of tar on the nose, medium bodied, aromas of red berries and medium tannins on the palate, ready to drink.

Wine searcher average prices in US§:
2011 77
2005 113
2000 134

Val de Flores 2006

Michel Rolland Collection, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina

The Val de Flores vineyard is ten hectares and is planted with Malbec which are more than fifty years old. The vineyard is situated at the foot of the Andean mountains at Vista Flores in South Mendoza. The vineyard soils is alluviums and deep silts. This wine was aged for 14 months in new French oak barrels and bottled unfined and unfiltered. Wine-searcher average price in US$: 71


It was an amazing lunch. Thanks Dany.

Picture: Thanks and Good-bye

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