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New £200 ‘concept’ wines from Bordeaux

The renowned sommelier Gérard Basset OBE has teamed up with a wine-loving French hedge fund manager and a quartet of Michelin-starred chefs to produce a new wine brand from four different Bordeaux appellations.

Secret: Yannick Alleno Pomerol

SGC or Le Secret des Grands Chefs consists of four 2009 wines from small unknown vineyards in Pauillac, St Emilion, Pomerol and the Médoc. All retail at over £200 a bottle.

Oenophile hedge-fund manager Arnaud Christiaens masterminded the project, with Basset, owner of the Hotel TerraVina in the New Forest, in an ambassadorial role. The four chefs are Bruno Ménard of L’Osier in Japan, Frédéric Anton at Le Pré Catalan, Alain Dutournier at the Carré des Feuillants, and Yannick Alleno at Le Meurice, all in Paris.

‘Each chef has worked with each chateau to produce a wine that he would be proud to endorse with his name,’ Christiaens said.

The idea behind the SGC brand was to find underperforming wines in great terroirs and give each grower the cash, expert resources and equipment to enable them to realise their full potential.

While the names of the chefs are on each wine, the names of the chateaux remain a closely guarded secret. ‘The clue is in the name of the brand,’ Basset, who joined the project last year, said.

According to Christiaens, one of the vineyards is directly adjacent to one of Bordeaux’s historic First Growths. ‘But they all have incredible terroirs which enables us to produce wines of first and second growth quality.’

In the UK, the SGC range is being exclusively sold by Hedonism Wines in Mayfair, whose buyer Alistair Viner reckons they surpass the First Growths in expression of terroir.

‘I think it would be very interesting to taste these alongside the First Growths. My feeling is that these are perhaps a bit more expressive. The quality is outstanding.’

42,000 bottles of the four 2009s have been produced. They will be sold worldwide though a handful of retailers in major international markets.

Retail prices for the wines range from £207 a bottle for the Médoc up to £291 for the Pauillac. Alternatively, a mixed case of all four can be bought from Hedonism for £990.

In time, Christiaens hopes to increase production up to a maximum of 120,000 bottles per vintage.


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