It has been a year since Baron Eric's daughter Saskia took over the Domaines; her assumption of the reins, aided by Jean-Guillaume Prats as her CEO, means that the sixth generation is now in charge and the group's future is assured. A new team of directors means a new modus operandi. On the occasion of the presentation of the 150th vintage, the experts were all gathered round the tasting tables to hear en masse the message that a new era had dawned. This entails the development of well-defined and sustainable agricultural practices, including research into organic and biodynamic agriculture. This is quite a change in outlook!
At Rothschild-owned châteaux l'Evangile, Duhart-Milon and Rieussec, a revolution is underway. There has been a modernisation of each of the three properties' identity and a rethink of their communications strategy. At l'Evangile, an elegant, cosy space known as 'Chez Saskia' has been created to welcome visiting winemakers who come to discuss precision viticulture. Duhart-Milon, which will open its doors, and its Japanese restaurant, to the public in 2020, wants to shed light on its namesake, 'Sir Duhart', a privateer in Louis XV's time whose house near the port of Pauillac was still standing in the 1950s. The Château hopes, with these measures, to attract a young, trend-conscious public. As does Rieussec, which has taken inspiration from the newly vibrant reputation of Arcachon Bay to rejuvenate its own image. Very soon, the Château will launch a brand new cocktail, the Rieuzest. This cleverly named concoction, a flagship for the brand, promises to knock the indispensable Spritz right off its perch. There is also a plan to turn Rieussec into a foodie temple by luring young Michelin-starred chefs to the property. These measures have convinced Legrand that "Sauternes is the new cool".
The new vintage, nicknamed by Saskia "the enfant terrible", has really put the teams on the spot and pushed them to outdo all their previous accomplishments. Let's give Christophe Congé the last word, as he signs off on his 21st Lafite vintage with the wry declaration that "this is the best 2018 I have ever made!"
•Carton 6 bouteilles 96.00 € HT