Behind The Scenes With A Bordeaux Wine Consultant, Stéphane Courrèges

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Behind The Scenes With A Bordeaux Wine Consultant, Stéphane Courrèges

Is the consultant oenologist the most important person in the Bordeaux wine cellars? Maybe, maybe not, but few Bordeaux chateaux nowadays make their wines without one. One of these consultants is Stéphane Courrèges whom we met recently when he was in Paris for the day. Sometimes they are simply called “wine consultants” or even “flying winemakers”.

Why do the chateaux need a consultant oenologist? There are several reasons, one obviously being the added knowledge an oenologist bring to the wine making process. (An oenologist is a university-educated specialist in wine, micro-biology, chemistry, plant science.) But another important reason, says Stéphane, is that a consultant gives an outsider’s opinion. He or she is someone who can tell you not only if your wine is good but also if the consumer will like it.

Stéphane stresses that making a wine is teamwork and the consultant is one of the team. But, he says, he has to have a very close relationship with the chateaux owners. This is very important for him. “When I start working with them I always ask, what kind of wine do you want to make? Nowadays they have a pretty good idea of what they want to do. 20 years ago they had no idea.”

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