The fabulous 2017 Fête de la Fleur at Château Malartic-Lagravière highlighted the extraordinary energy and 20-year dedication of the Bonnie family in producing this Grand Cru Classé de Graves.
An early and challenging 2017 vintage well taken up by the Malartic teams!
Climatic conditions have put a strain on the technical teams of the estate with a dry winter, a historic freeze at the end of April, a salutary spring with a fast and homogenous beautiful flowering mid-May, a late spring with a heatwave period, an uneven summer but which promote beautiful ripening.
We approached the whites harvest early September with optimism. Concentrations are beautiful, the wines, with a nice freshness, show superb aromatic.
The reds started early, a few days after the end of the whites. These were the harvests of reactivity, with alternating periods of sunny days and cooler and drier once.
The merlots began on September 14 and we finished the cabernets on October 3rd. It was intensive but serene: the changing weather forced a day-to-day monitoring but avoiding overrunning. Although early, the vintage offers very beautiful ripeness. The vine dictated its rhythm and the responsiveness of our teams and their know-how for 20 years made it possible to sublimate this vintage 2017. It already shows its qualities, despite a low volume: a superb aroma, great ripeness with velvety tannins and nice freshness that are the attributes of fine balanced wines.
The environmental approach begun in 1997 with the arrival of the Bonnie family, and its philosophy of advanced qualitative research, show with this 20th vintage the strength of this exclusive know-how dedicated to its terroir. A pioneer in many fields, the Bonnies have invested on a daily basis so that Malartic team cares for a close watch on the latest advances: Organic and biodynamic techniques are constantly tested in order to apply best practices to the vineyard; horse-ploughing is used on plots where the soil requires it; confined pulverization at one meter, developed exclusively by Malartic, is systematized on the whole vineyard. It is certified High Environmental Value since 2015.
The fabulous 2017 Fête de la Fleur at Château Malartic-Lagravière highlighted the extraordinary energy and 20-year dedication of the Bonnie family in producing this Grand Cru Classé de Graves.
This year, the Bonnie family hosted 1,500 guests in the gardens and vineyards famed for their Grand Cru Classé de Graves at the Château Malartic-Lagravière estate in Léognan, to mark the traditional Fête de la Fleur, with its very exclusive guest list. This occasion is organised in partnership with the Commanderie du Bontemps de Médoc, des Graves, de Sauternes et de Barsac.
Wednesday 21 June, the night of the summer solstice, was exquisite and the festivities magnificent. This prestigious evening, held every odd-numbered year, is the most eagerly-awaited on the wine calendar and closes Vinexpo Bordeaux. Selected guests included top buyers, distributors and international figures from the wine industry.
The Bonnie family, celebrating 20 years at the helm of the estate, went to great lengths to welcome guests to their spectacular property, located on one of the region’s most beautiful gravel ridges. The pre-dinner reception and Commanderie du Bontemps induction ceremony took place in the Château gardens, where misters had been installed to provide relief from the heat wave. Some forty high-profile figures had the honour of being inducted into the Commanderie as Commandeurs d’Honneur. They included Lionel Zinsou, former prime minister of Benin, Jean-Marc Janaillac, CEO of Air France-KLM, Jon Arvid Rosengren, the World’s Best Sommelier, and Burgundy’s top winemakers.
Guests were then guided along a pathway through the vines to a splendid 2,250-m² marquee atop the famed gravel ridge, in the heart of the historic Malartic-Lagravière estate.
In their speeches, Alfred-Alexandre Bonnie (who owns the estate with his children), Emmanuel Cruse, head of the Commanderie du Bontemps, and Alain Juppé, former prime minister and mayor of Bordeaux, all made reference to three important anniversaries: 20 years since the Bonnies acquired Malartic-Lagravière, 30 years of the Pessac-Léognan appellation, and 50 years of marriage for Alfred and Michèle Bonnie. It added a special touch to a gala evening that was sumptuous yet relaxed, where the guests clearly delighted in sharing the commitment of a family so passionate about wine.
The menu, devised by Chef Yannick Alleno, whose two French restaurants have earned three Michelin stars and who knows the family and their wines very well, was, quite simply, exceptional: the delicate lobster and caviar gelée, served with perfect-temperature magnums of 2007 Malartic white was perhaps the dinner’s most spectacular food-wine pairing. Next, with impeccable timing, came lamb served three ways, served with stuffing and paired with a 2004 Pichon Comtesse de Lalande and then a 2000 Malartic red – both superb. For the cheese course, a 1996 Château Margaux, with a wonderful tribute to Paul Pontallier, proved a sublime accompaniment. Finally, the lemon and roasted pineapple pavlova was a beautiful match for the 2013 Château d’Yquem. Art at its best, enjoyed by all!
Since the Fête de la Fleur is first and foremost a celebration of wine, the Bonnies made sure that the wines were properly showcased. Each one was brought out to a specially chosen piece of classical music by composers such as Beethoven, Vivaldi and Handel, performed by the Modigliani Quartet. The marquee itself was dressed by world-renowned Chilean artist Federica Matta, whose design featured four stars around the Malartic-Lagravière emblem, the famous schooner owned by the Count of Malartic, an admiral in the service of Louis XV and owner of the estate in the 18th century.
But there was more art to come. After adjourning to the château gardens with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Grand Siècle (the Bonnies acquired the Laurent-Perrier estate in 1997), guests were treated to an exclusive concert by French-Israeli singer Yael Naim. Her hit singles, including Older, Toxic and New Soul, preceded a rendition of Happy Birthday, accompanied by the Modigliani Quartet, and fireworks to celebrate the 20 years since the Bonnies acquired the estate. This glorious evening continued into the early hours with dancing under a giant disco ball suspended in the Malartic sky.
It was a truly memorable evening where wine and food were the stars, and guests were treated to a very special Fête de la Fleur experience.
See the photos of the evening
Download the press release
The twice 3-starred chef Yannick Alléno and Château Malartic-Lagravière have been working together for two years, driven by the same quest for excellence, purity of taste, mastery of technique and enrichment of terroir.
This long-term partnership has led the Michelin-starred chef and the Bonnie family, owners of this Graves classified wine, to think deeply about food and wine pairings for the chef’s culinary creations and the various vintages produced by Château Malartic-Lagravière.
Alfred-Alexandre Bonnie is delighted with the collaboration: “Yannick Alléno is an exceptional artisan and an iconic figure in French gastronomy. He pioneered the distinctive, contemporary style of cooking we now know as “Modern Cuisine” – a cuisine that aims to reconcile perfect mastery of the techniques from French haute cuisine with a true creative ambition, in which research plays a predominant role. We were immediately won over by his approach. In addition, there are a lot of parallels and similarities between the chef’s work in the kitchen and our work in the vineyard. The process of enriching the terroir through extraction and fermentation as advocated by Yannick Alléno is also central to our endeavours as winegrowers at Château Malartic-Lagravière.”
The latest pairing to come out of this collaboration is a 2005 Château Malartic-Lagravière Red alongside a Stroganoff-inspired Grade 4 Wagyu beef served two ways. To accompany this exceptional vintage, Yannick Alléno has composed a modern version served two ways of this classic gourmet dish, which has its origins in Russia. The delicate spicy flavours of this dish go wonderfully with the wine from Château Malartic-Lagravière with its silky tannins and blackberry, blueberry and liquorice notes, with a pleasant spiciness on the finish.
Yannick Alléno will be the Chef at the Fête de la Fleur 2017
For the Bonnie family, Yannick Alléno was an obvious choice as the chef to create the dinner at the prestigious Fête de la Fleur, which will take place on Wednesday 21 June 2017 at Château Malartic-Lagravière. The chef, who is also a wine-aficionado will prepare an exclusive menu to match some of the most sumptuous Bordeaux Classified Growths, including those of Château Malartic-Lagravière. Yannick Alléno adds, “to me wine is a great passion; I’m fascinated by vineyard work and the immense know-how and skills needed to accomplish it. I like to talk with winegrowers. Some have had a fundamental influence on our modern cuisine; blending or the understanding of terroir through the process of fermentation are, amongst others, viticultural notions we apply on an every-day basis in our preparations. I’m convinced that a modern cuisine is a cuisine based on sauces, able to magnify the marvellous bottles that are part of a great dinner. Malartic-Lagravière is a château which I much appreciate, and I feel particularly honoured to have been chosen to celebrate Fête de la Fleur with a dinner we intend to make exceptional. “
This year 1,500 professionals from the wine and spirits industry will be invited to the Fête de la Fleur, organised by the Commanderie du Bontemps Médoc et Graves, Sauternes et Barsac, which will also mark the 20th anniversary of the Bonnie family’s ownership of Château Malartic-Lagravière and will close the 19th Vinexpo Bordeaux.
About Château Malartic-Lagravière
Since acquiring Château Malartic-Lagravière in 1997, the Bonnie family has continued to work tirelessly, with passion and commitment, to perfect the estate’s wines. The Bonnie family and their team develop complex, balanced, elegant wines, so tailored they can be considered ‘haute-couture’. The estate, whose quality terroir had been renowned for centuries and which used to belong the family of Comte Hippolyte Maurès de Malartic, was known under the name of Domaine de la Gravière until 1850, when it changed name to take on its current name of Château Malartic-Lagravière. Since the 18th century, only three families have watched over its destiny, when the Bonnie family took it over and carried it to the highest level. This year, the Bonnie family celebrate their 20th anniversary at the head of the property.
About Yannick Alléno
Yannick Alléno belongs to the exclusive circle of the world’s greatest chefs. Driven by his passion, he has dedicated his life to promoting a strong, quintessentially French style of cuisine, rich in tradition and ambitiously creative. His visionary approach to the culinary arts, boldly combining know-how and excellence, leads him to experiment endlessly, to find the purity and the quintessence of flavour. With an inquiring mind and exceptionally high standards, he constantly pushes the boundaries and is laying the foundations of a truly personal style of cuisine: Modern Cuisine.
About the Fête de la Fleur
The Fête de la Fleur has been organised by the Commanderie du Bontemps du Médoc, des Graves, de Sauternes et Barsac since 1959. It celebrates the flowering of the vine and is now the formal gathering of winegrowers, merchants, brokers and wine connoisseurs from all over the world. This prestigious festival is attended by numerous leading figures from the French and international wine scene, helping to spread the influence and image of fine Bordeaux wines throughout the world.
Extreme weather conditions resulted in an exceptional vintage
A particularly wet winter and spring promised good yields. One of the best summers of the decade, with a long dry period, brought power and concentration. A remarkable late season, with substantial differences in temperatures, ensured elegance for this exceptional vintage. Each of these stages, with an extreme climatology, have been chained with a perfect tempo: it is the singularity of this vintage.
Despite the abundant rain in the winter and spring, a window of particularly fine weather enabled rapid, uniform flowering (around 10 June).
However, the vintage’s profile changed radically from early July with an extremely hot, dry summer. After more than 15 years of ploughing, Malartic vines’ deep roots were able to find water reserves in the clay-limestone subsoil and benefit fully from the summer heat. The grapes changed colour with the same uniformity as the flowering.
After the very dry conditions, the heavy rain on 13 September (40 mm) was welcome. Four days before the start of the Sauvignon harvest, it was ideal! An Indian summer lasted through to the end of the harvests with some scattered but always welcome showers and big differences between the day and night-time temperatures, encouraging the accumulation of anthocyanins and aromatic richness.
The white grapes, with a slightly lower yield than 2015, were harvested from 19 to 27 September. Despite the very dry summer, acidity levels were good, giving a nice balance to the particularly aromatic, dense wines.
For the red wines, the vintage is in the “exceptional” category. Picking of the Merlot began on 29 September and the Cabernet on the 13th. We have rarely seen such substance and balance in both polyphenolic and aromatic terms. The extremes of the climate (the rainiest winter and spring; the driest summer followed by an Indian summer with cool nights) enabled long, slow ripening, refining the tannins and developing complexity in the flavours and aromas, while maintaining plenty of freshness. Exceptional and superb.
Uniformity and perfect weather conditions for a huge vintage!
The cold, wet winter was followed by a historically warm, dry spring until the end of July. Some welcome rain contributed to a perfect development of the ripening phase in August. Thus, the white harvest started early September with superb maturities and healthy grapes.
There was a magnificent period of Indian summer weather. A few spells of rain in early September and mid-October did not harm the grapes’ excellent state of health and the steady progression in their degrees of ripeness. The red grapes’ harvest started on September, 21st but most of them were picked between September, 29th and October, 7th. The Cabernet followed from October, 12th in radiant sunshine.
Uniformity and perfect health are the vintage’s key characteristics. This result is a truly sublime expression of Malartic’s mosaic of terroirs. Each plot has been able to reveal its full personality. The rich aromatic palette has been enhanced by a soft and tailor-made ageing that reinforced the expression of a very nice complexity.
2015, an impressive Malartic!
The cold, wet winter was followed by a historically warm, dry spring (with 56 mm of rain in May and June).
After a uniform bud break, flowering was fast and homogeneous in late May-early June. July was exceptionally dry (32 mm), creating early water stress by mid-July.
However, thanks to our vines’ deep roots, developed with the help of the regular ploughing that has been carried out at Malartic for several years, the stress was contained. Some welcome rain (25 mm on 3 August) contributed to a perfect start to the ripening phase in August. The grapes, which had been relatively small, gained in both size and aromatic concentration.
The humidity in August thus gave the vineyard a second wind, and enabled an auspicious start for the white grapes with leaf removal on both sides in mid-August. The vines remained in an excellent state of health, displaying freshness and ripeness. The Sauvignon harvest began on 2 September and the Sémillon on 15th, in perfect conditions. The plots were uniform, with superb grapes.
There was a magnificent period of Indian summer weather, with September and October remaining fine and sunny. A few spells of rain in early September and mid-October did not harm the grapes’ excellent state of health and the steady progression in their degrees of ripeness. The harvest of the red grapes started on 21 September with a plot of young Merlot, but most of them was picked between 29/09 and 7/10. The Cabernet followed from 12 October in radiant sunshine. At the end of the harvests, on 16 October, we can say that 2015 is shaping up to be a great vintage for Malartic.
Uniformity and perfect health are the vintage’s key characteristics. This result is a truly sublime expression of Malartic’s mosaic of terroirs. Each plot has been able to reveal its full personality, offering an aromatic palette that suggests a blend of exceptional complexity and quality.
Parker ranks Malartic among the 40 Most Brilliant Wines
of the 2012 vintage!
Malartic also performs in 2014 among the best Bordeaux.
among the best Crus Classés, staying as always a good value!
“The quality of the white and red have soared to exceptional heights, and this is certainly still one of the more realistically priced wines of Pessac-Léognan and classified crus. The 2012 is a beauty. A brilliant wine.”
♦ 93 Malartic-Lagravière white 2012 – R.Parker
“Among the top 8 white Bordeaux Beautifully perfumed Malartic, wonderfully fresh, lively style with terrific fruit and intensity.”
♦ 93-94 Malartic-Lagravière red 2014 – J. Suckling
“As always, Malartic is top quality and serious stuff in 2014 for reds and white alike.”
And also. 93-95 WE ; 91-94 WS ; 91-93 WA ; 93 Decanter
♦ 95-97 Malartic-Lagravière white 2014 – WE
“An impressive wine, balanced, rich and likely to age well.”
And also. 91-93 WA ; 92-93 J. Suckling ; 89-92 WS
among the best Pessac-Léognan in 2012 as in 2014!
“6 times ‘Sleeper of the vintage’ since 2005 ” – Outstanding concentration and very impressive aromatics.
♦ 92 Gazin Rocquencourt white 2012 – R.Parker
“Great in-bottle upgrade (from 88-90 to 92) – A real sleeper of the vintage; gorgeous 2012, beautifully made.
♦ 90-93 Gazin Rocquencourt red 2014 – A. Galloni
And also. 90 Decanter ; 91-92 J. Suckling
♦ 90 Gazin Rocquencourt white 2014 – Decanter
90-91 J. Suckling
Vignobles Malartic are delighted to present you its Environmental Charter, which presents a summary of the rigorous eco-dynamic good practices to which the Bonnie family and its team have been committed since 1997.
Certified in sustainable farming since 2008, in 2015 we will be tackling HEV (High Environmental Value) approval for Château Malartic-Lagravière and Château Gazin Rocquencourt’s 75 hectares (185 acres) of vines.
Well beyond these certifications, we apply our eco-dynamic measures on a daily basis to the care of the vines as well as to the whole estate (facilities, park and gardens) in order to reduce our environmental impact to a minimum. This has been beneficial for the surrounding area, and has also a direct effect on the wines; with the passing years, the latter have gained in depth, minerality, and character, and require less human intervention.
The 2014 vintage will soon be available for en primeur tasting, and you will see that it offers a superb demonstration of the impact of these environmentally friendly practices on our wines. The weather in 2014 was somewhat capricious until the beautiful Indian summer, making good management of vineyard vitally important. The results are extremely promising.