Welcome back! This next series of posts will focus on wines of the Southwest of France. This is a home of great values, and wines using the same grapes as found in Bordeaux. My first discovery from this region, long before I embarked on the wine road as an importer was Chateau de Tiregand. Their appellation is Pécharmant, one applied only to red wines on a long ridge just east of the city of Bergerac, and in fact, the appellation name translates to "charming hill".
I first had the chance to meet the winemaker, François-Xavier de Saint Exupéry in 1995 whilst pedaling through the region and came across Chateau de Tiregand. Knowing the wine, and then discovering the property, I was thrilled. Even on a French national holiday, he agreed to meet at the winery, and a wonderful friendship was forged, as well as a 16 year and ongoing business relationship.
What's more, the Saint Exupéry family is well-known in France as well as in the US. Need a hint? How about the book "The Little Prince"? That's right! The author Antoine de Saint Exupéry is François-Xavier's uncle! Antoine's face, as well as his creation, the Little Prince, appeared on the 50 franc note until the changeover to the euro.
Chateau de Tiregand is a family run property that produces both a white Bergerac wine from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grapes, as well as two fabulous wines with the Pécharmant appellation, their flagship Pécharmant, and the premium cuvée, Grand Millésime. These wines are rich and savory, and age remarkably well.
You can have the chance to meet François-Xavier de Saint Exupéry in late April as he will be in Chicago participating in the Pastoral Artisan Producer Festival on Saturday April 28th from 11AM-3PM. Oh, and he speaks English so bring your questions.
You can also attend a wine dinner on the evening of Thursday, April 26th at Kiki's Bistro on 900 N. Franklin Street in Chicago (312-334-5454) where he will be featuring his three wines paired with dishes prepared by Kiki's wonderful kitchen. Follow me on Twitter @grapenewsimport to stay tuned to updates and other events where you can meet this charming winemaker.