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.
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.
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.