Montesquieu Winery and Stéphane Derenoncourt: Partnership and the Spirit of Wine

February 1, 2011, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi

Following a huge wave of accolades for the Derenoncourt California wines, the Wine Spectator profiled Stéphane Derenoncourt recently calling him the “world’s hottest winemaker”. The article relays what our CEO and President Fonda Hopkins realized years ago—that Stéphane is one of our industry’s very best, with uncompromising standards for vineyard management and winemaking—wielding a huge array of talents, tools and experiences developed by working the soil and traveling the world. He is a master winemaker, a craftsman who truly listens to the grapes and soil, enabling each wine to embody soulful expression—what we like to call the “spirit of wine” or terroir.

Stephane Derenoncourt

Born the son of a steel worker in Northern France, Stéphane comes from humble origins.  In 1982 at the age of nineteen, he hitchhiked to Bordeaux (we understand there was a girl involved) and took a job as a vineyard worker in Fronsac. It was there that Stéphane immersed himself for ten years: living and working in the vineyards of Bordeaux’s Right Bank, becoming intimately familiar with the life of the vine and each plot of land’s ability to imprint its unique characteristics on its grapes.

Stéphane’s big break came in the early 1990s at Saint-Émilion’s Chateau Pavie Macquin. Despite the difficult 1993 vintage, Stéphane made a highly regarded wine which immediately drew attention to his skill. Soon thereafter he was hired as winemaker for La Mondotte, a new micro-cuvée from a small limestone plot near Pavie Macquin.  His first vintage at La Mondotte was the 1996 which received unprecedented acclaim from critics and consumers alike. As a result, La Mondotte quickly became one of the most collectible Bordeaux on the market.

In 1996 he met his talented wife Christine at Pavie Macquin, and together they started Vignerons Consultants in 1999. Today the firm consults more than 60 wineries in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.  Many are in Bordeaux, but also include the Rhone, Loire, Ribera del Duero, Toro, Tuscany, Austria, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Bangalore and the United States.

In early 2006 after meeting Fonda in Bordeaux, Stéphane joined the Montesquieu team. In addition to tasting and screening many of the wines that we source for our clients, Stéphane has leveraged his vast connections in the world of wine to open the door for us to work with even more growers and producers of the highest caliber. In addition to the critically acclaimed Derenoncourt California wines in partnership with Montesquieu, Stéphane also crafts small-batch wines exclusively for Montesquieu clients in conjunction with our talented Hélène Mingot.

Montesquieu Winery's Hélène Mingot with Stéphane Derenoncourt at Red Hills Vineyard Lake County

Stéphane Derenoncourt and Hélène Mingot

Our partnership with Stéphane aligns perfectly with Montesquieu’s philosophy of providing our clients with the experience of discovering, drinking and appreciating intriguing, delicious wine.  And it’s our embrace of the spirit of wine and winemaking—and our passion for the art of living—that is at the heart of our relationship.

An old Turkish proverb says, “No road is long with good company”.  We are no doubt in good company, and look forward to keeping you informed of our wine adventures together here on our blog.  Cheers!

If you are interested in an exclusive event where you will meet Stéphane and experience a preview of the highly anticipated 2007 Derenoncourt California wines in Las Vegas read more here.

To add your name to the mailing list for an opportunity to purchase Derenoncourt California limited allotments visit here.


9 Responses to Montesquieu Winery and Stéphane Derenoncourt: Partnership and the Spirit of Wine

  1. Colorado Wine Press on February 17, 2011 2:09 pmI had the 2006 Derenoncourt California Lake Country Cabernet Sauvignon the other night. It was quite delightful and I cannot wait to try the 2007.
  2. Lisa Duff Khajavi on February 17, 2011 2:53 pmSo glad you enjoyed the ’06! Red Hills in Lake County is such distinctive terroir- rocky red volcanic soil, elevation, breezes off of Clear Lake. Stephane went crazy for it when he saw it for the first time. The ’07s are amazing. Cheers!
  3. Colorado Wine Press on February 17, 2011 9:13 pmIt was a beautiful wine. I had another Red Hills wine tonight by a prominent Napa winery that was nowhere as good. Wish I could make it to Vegas for the dinner.

    I missed Stephane by few hours when I was at Alonso del Yerro two years ago and wish I could have met him. Looking forward to the '07s to be released in a few weeks!
  4. Lisa Duff Khajavi on February 17, 2011 9:57 pmSmall world. I met Maria and Alonso in Berkeley, and alas Stephane wasn't there either-his schedule is intense!

    You probably have already heard, there is a new Cab in the '07 Derenoncourt collection, Tâche d’encre from Ink Grade Vineyard. Wow what an expression-magical.

    Sorry to hear you'll miss Vegas. It's our first partnership with Wine to Water-Doc and his team are amazing.
  5. Colorado Wine Press on February 18, 2011 9:14 amI did see the new addition. It does sound divine, though probably a bit rich for my wallet...
  6. Colorado Wine Press on February 18, 2011 9:25 amI did see the new addition. Sounds divine, but probably too rich for my wallet...
  7. Lisa Duff Khajavi on February 18, 2011 9:36 amUnderstandable, although comparable Napa prestige experiences are often much more! Sure does emphasize how special the Lake County is, though. I wish I had been there when Stephane saw Red Hills for the first time!
  8. Colorado Wine Press on March 6, 2011 11:29 amThere aren't too many other wines that beat the Derenoncourt Napa Cabs in price! While I would love to fulfill my allocation of these, they are just out of my price range. Maybe I'll get to taste them if Stephane ever comes to Colorado for a dinner/tasting, or our next visit to California!

    And, yes the Lake County Cab is a special value that I will continue to enjoy!
  9. Lisa Duff Khajavi on March 6, 2011 4:06 pmAbsolutely, let us know when you head to California next! The reception of the 2007s unveiled at Twist in Vegas on March 3 was marvelous. You will love the 07 Lake County!

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