Bordeaux property to change winemaker every vintage

A Bordeaux proprietor is set to launch a wine made by a different person every year.

Philippe Raoux of Château d’Arsac in Margaux will invite a ‘guest star’ winemaker to choose 15ha (hectares) of his 72ha property. The flying winemaker will then have free rein each vintage to decide on the style of pruning, training, harvesting and all vinification methods.

With the resulting wine, called the Winemaker’s Collection, Raoux intends to show that it’s the person who makes the wine that matters, not AOC, grape variety or whether it’s Old or New World.

‘We want to recognise the author of a great wine,’ Raoux told decanter.com. ‘The man who labours the vines, decides on the moment of harvest and works on the grapes until bottling.’

The wines will not be marked by vintage, but by ‘episode’ and Episode One of the Winemakers Collection goes, perhaps inevitably, to top consultant Michel Rolland.

Episode Two will be produced by another successful winemaker, Denis Dubourdieu. Despite appearances, Raoux does not intend to draw all his celebrity winemakers from Bordeaux.

‘For the third year, we hope to work with an American wine consultant, and then other renowned consultants from around the world,’ he said.

The first year will see a production of 60,000 bottles, intended largely for the UK and US marketplace. It will be distributed by a new company called Once Upon A Wine, co-owned by Raoux and two ‘very well known’ partners who he wishes to remain anonymous.

  • For detail on the long-running boundary dispute between Chateau d’Arsac and the Haut Medoc and Margaux appellations, please see Margaret Rand’s feature, ‘Muddying the Waters’, in the May issue of Decanter magazine, on sale on 5 April

    Written by Jane Anson