|Wine has been made here at Chateau la Tulipe for more than six hundred years. For most of those six centuries that has been done according to the local traditional ways: syrupy thick blood-red wine, aged for aeons in dark mouldy cellars.|
|When I made this chateau my own, roughly twenty years ago, I broke with those ancient traditions. I wanted to make the best Bordeaux of Bordeaux. Without having even the faintest idea of what that would entail, I worked day and night and invested every last penny in this nebulous fantasy.|
With manager Paul and the Australian winemaker David we set sail toward an invisible dot on the horizon. A journey that lasted many years: vineyards had to be completely pulled up, ploughed and replanted with new vines and then we had to wait to see if we might eventually get some usable grapes.
There were endless sleepless nights, tossing and turning with worry about diseases, hail-storms and ruined harvests. Year after year we made a loss but I stubbornly carried on throwing truckloads of money in that bottomless black hole called Chateau.
|And we did it. Our wine is widely acclaimed and we are awarded the highest possible accolades every year. We can finally sit back and put our feet up.|
But wine is thicker than water. My son Klaas grew up here at the chateau. He has been picking grapes since he was six years old, climbing across the barrels since he was seven, and when he was ten he drove the Mehari to the bottom of the hill to deliver the picnic lunch to the men and women working in the vineyards. He has imbibed this life of being surrounded by nature, wine and the people who make it. He has slurped it up in his baby bottle.
Even so I was surprised when he, after he completed his degree in London, returned to Bordeaux to live and work at the Chateau. From that day forward everything changed.
|We decided to broaden our horizon and went traveling together. We tasted unknown wines from distant lands. Wines that were different to ours. Wines that tasted like thick blueberries and pink raspberries. Wines in which you could hear the call of the wild horses as well as the nibbling of baby bunnies. Wines in which you could see the sunrise and the migration of a flock of Snow Geese. When we came home we decided it was time for a revolution.|
Pushing a planet out of orbit
I can tell you; pushing a planet out of its orbit is easier.
A vineyard is a living organism, and is more stubborn than a herd of donkeys. Her responses are as snooty as they are unpredictable. She suffers even the most minute change only with the greatest reluctance, and even then requires inch by inch guidance and argument. So you need patience, boatloads of patience. Because a newly planted vineyard is only willing to relinquish a handful of usable grapes after many, many years.
We bought the neighbour’s vineyards, planted new varieties of grapes, installed novel equipment and made the coopers of Saint-Emilion the richest in the area.
And, possibly the most important thing, we managed to make all our vineyards 100% sustainable.
|This year Klaas and I present the first wine we made together: Château la Tulipe 2015. Made with creamy Merlot grapes and mysterious dark Cabernet Sauvignon, it unites the strokeability of a squire with the punching power of a gladiator. Deep ruby evening wine, soft as the belly of a hamster and voluptuous as the bust of an opera singer.|
Can only experts appreciate such a wine?
No. Everyone can enjoy this wine.
Take a single sip and you’ll be carried along in a whirlwind of emotions; you will taste the love, the shells in the vineyard and the sun in the sea.
Take another sip and you’ll feel like a mermaid, swaying in the tropical currents.
After a third sip you’ll be as Socrates, pondering life in the shade of the marble collonades of the Parthenon. Witticisms, brilliant one-liners and words of wisdom will roll off your tongue like pearls; women and men will cling to your lips. Begging you for more! More!
And now what?
If I had a choice I would not sell our Château la Tulipe 2015 at all. This wine is so addictively delicious I would cherish each bottle and clasp it to my chest. Every evening my lover and I would wring out one of these delicious bouteilles to the very last drop. Hmmm…
But alas, that goes not. A brother has got to eat and my winemaker’s ego needs caressing, so I have magnanimously decided to relinquish the lion’s share of our wine treasure.
Well, a tricky question indeed. After all you can’t put a price on love.
But on the other hand: the average price a British person is prepared to pay for a bottle of wine is £ 6 (yes indeed: £ 6!). So this is where you have got a chance to shine. A chance to show the whole world that you are ready to live a big and rapturous life. That you are not the kind of dimwit who always goes for the cheap crap off the bottom shelf.
Do realize that with the purchase of a bottle of Château la Tulipe 2015 you do not only become the owner of a bottle of great wine, but you also demonstrate that you are someone of international stature. A cross between Benedict Cumberbatch and David Beckham. Or perhaps Lara Croft and Kate Winslet.
You can find Château la Tulipe de la Garde Bordeaux Superieur at Sainsbury’s supermarkets.