Usually when I see Pierre Lurton, it is in Bordeaux during VinExpo every other year or during the annual barrel tastings – primeurs – at one of the two crème de la crème châteaux he manages, Cheval Blanc in St. Emilion and Yquem in Sauternes. Lurton is one of the most media-savvy people in Bordeaux, always inviting the press to taste at these two first-growth properties and circulating among us to answer any questions in French or English and to solicit our reactions to his wines.
So it is a little unusual to see him now in a crowded special events room in New York City talking about the property that he personally owns – Château Marjosse in Entre Deux Mers, where he is excited about the new cave he has just installed. Unlike Cheval Blanc and Yquem, Marjosse is much-more affordable at the bargain price of $10-$12 a bottle.
Pierre wasn’t in the city by himself. Soon there will be 15 different Lurtons who own and run individual vineyards and wineries not only in their ancestral Bordeaux but in countries from Australia to South Africa to Argentina. And 10 of them showed up for an event showcasing their family and their wines under the common brand they have established to promote them – Lurton du Vin at www.lurton.com.
“The family has to come to New York to get together,” said Denis Lurton of Château Desmirail in Margaux. Indeed, they chattered like geese in the park among themselves while waiting for the writers to show up.
Lurton du Vin is the brainchild of Jacques Lurton, former flying winemaker and partner with his brother François for 19 years (they amiably separated their company five years ago) as the “J” in J&F Lurton. Today he makes wines in Australia under such names as Old Rowley Red and the Investigator.
I already knew a few of the Lurtons, and during the talk and tasting I met others:
· Bérénice Lurton of Château Climens, whose passion is getting people to think of Sauternes as a table wine to enjoy with spicy and exotic foods and not just as an after-dinner wine.
· Sophie Lurton, with the well-known Château Bouscaut in Pessac-Leognan.
· François Lurton, who makes wine in six countries, including an interesting joint venture in Toro – Campo Eliseo with Michel Rolland. He is also excited about his Grenache-based Côtes du Roussillon-Villages, calling that grape “the Pinot Noir of the Pyrenees.”
· Thierry Lurton of Château Camarsac.
· Marc Lurton of Château Reynier.
· Christine Lurton de Caix of Château Dauzac.
· Marie-Laure Lurton, whom I visited a couple of years ago and who has three jewels of properties – Châteaux de Villegorge, La Tour de Bessan and Duplessis.
In all there was 27 wines, and I tasted most of them – all quite enjoyable and some excellent. Now, I can’t wait until the next time the Lurtons decide to have a family reunion and invite me to come along.