Malbec Match Made in Heaven: Alain Dominique Perrin and Michel Rolland

One made a name for himself running one the world’s most renowned luxury brands. The other is a world-renowned oenologist. When Alain Dominique Perrin, formerly CEO /Chairman of Must de Cartier and Cartier International, purchased the historic 16th century Chateau Lagrézette in Cahors, France, he tapped Michel Rolland to oversee construction of the new wine production facility. Using his eye for detail and design, Perrin oversaw Chateau Lagrézette’s restoration, and Rolland tended to the vines.

Michel Rolland recalled a first meeting with Alain Dominique Perrin. “We drove through the vineyards in a convertible car that belonged to Brigitte Bardot. That was classy!”

At the time (1988) Chateau Lagrézette was still a winery cooperative. Says Rolland, “This was a first for me: to consult for a private client with wines vinifed in a ‘kolkhotz’! I quickly discovered the drawbacks of the cooperative and immediately warned Alain that my intervention would useless. Not being a man to take ‘no’ for an answer, he told me, ‘I promise you a beautiful Lagrézette winery in just a few years.'”

Alain Dominique Perrin (right) Michel Rolland (left)

Construction on the new winery was completed in 1992. The first two vintages of Le Pigeonnier and Cuvée Dame Honneur became flagships of the appellation. Chateau Lagrézette has three vineyards. Caillac Vineyard, located between the winery and the Atlantic Ocean, and Landiech Vineyard, to the west of Chateau Lagrézette, both produce Malbec, the estate’s main focus. Rocamadour Vineyard, sixty kilometers from Caillac, produces Viognier.

Michel Rolland, Maguy LeCoze and Alain Dominique Perrin at Le Bernardin

Thirty years later, the two are still close and toasting to their success and good health. We had the chance to join them at a dinner September 27, 2018, that Perrin hosted in honor of Rolland at the New York Times four-star-rated Le Bernardin. Pairing two of Chateau Lagrézette’s silky Malbec wines with two of Chef Eric Ripert‘s sublime seafood dishes, Octopus with Tomato Salsa with Red Wine Molé Sauce, and a combo of Hawaiian Walu and Seared Waygu Beef with a Tomato Summer Roll in Spiced Red Wine Sauce, were both unexpected pleasures. 

Chateau Lagrézette aerial view. The estate dates back to 1503.


Listen here to our show with Alain Dominique Perrin


Peter Lehmann: The Man Who Saved Barossa’s Grape Growers

Peter Lehmann could be considered the man who rescued the Barossa Valley. His reputation and name are legendary through the region and Australian winemaking history.

In 1977 the Barossa Valley was hit with a severe grape surplus. At the time Lehmann was working as a winemaker/manager for a large multinational wine company. Just before Christmas his employer decided to stop buying grapes and asked Lehmann to notify the growers. Lehmann, a fifth-generation member of one of the Barossa’s pioneering wine families, knew this decision could wipe out the livelihoods of the 140 family growers he’d worked with for more than twenty years.

Founder Peter Lehmann and wines. Photo credit:

In a bold move to support his community of growers, Lehmann refinanced his house, took out a loan, assembled equipment and launched a small winery, initially as a side business to his day job. He called the project Masterson, a nod to the famous gambler, Skye Masterson. Lehmann also took a gamble with a “pay now and we’ll deliver in two years” approach to selling his wines. It worked. When the money started coming in, Lehmann made sure to pay his growers first. The first vintage was 1980.

Renamed Peter Lehmann Wines, the winery is a leading producer in Barossa Valley, working with the same 140 family growers, says Chief Winemaker Nigel Westblade. Recently we had the chance to sit down with Westblade to taste some of the wines in the Peter Lehman range and discuss the winery’s namesake and the different subregions of Barossa Valley.

Photo credit:

Here’s what we tasted:

Peter Lehmann Clancy’s 2015 – A soft blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz. Westblade calls this rich full-bodied wine “your everyday pizza wine.” SRP: $10

Peter Lehmann Barossa Portrait 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon. Fruit is taken from four different points of the Barossa, reflecting some of the 14 different microclimates in this vast area. A perfect match for steak, lamb or burgers. SRP: $15

Peter Lehmann Barossa Portrait 2015 Shiraz Westblade culls grapes from parcels throughout the Barossa to make this 100% Shiraz. Spicy and elegant without being heavy on the palate. Barbecue and smoked meats, please! SRP: $15

The Barossan 2015 Shiraz. A more contemporary-style Shiraz with silky tannins and generous dark fruits with a hint of spice. Aged in American oak seasoned for three years. Roasted meats and savory stews. SRP: $20


Listen to our SIPS podcast with Winemaker Nigel Westblade here:


With Nigel Westblade
(October 2018)

We Raise a Glass to Dave Pickerell. RIP

We were shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Master Distiller Dave Pickerell on November 1. A West Point graduate, Dave was one of the most knowledgeable individuals in the spirits industry and an ardent voice for American Whiskey.

Dave was the master distiller at Maker’s Mark for 14 years before leaving in 2008 to become a sought-after consultant. Following his tenure at Marker’s Mark, Dave helped launch Whistle Pig in Vermont and consulted for other brands including Hillrock in upstate New York and George Washington’s Mount Vernon Distillery in Virginia. Dave was touring to promote Blackened, a whiskey he made in collaboration with the band Metallica. The band posted this message on the Blackened website:

Thank you for sharing your optimism, your passion, and your joy with us. You’ve left a mark on the world, and it’s a better place for it. It’s been an honor to have shared the journey with you. Rest in peace Dave.

Dave was a beloved and familiar figure throughout the beverage alcohol industry, always wearing his signature Stetson hat and always ready to share a story, a drink or a few laughs. “Larger than life” was how many have described Dave. He lived well and radiated passion and pride for his work and for the industry.  We just wish it had been a longer life. We raise a glass to you, Dave!

Read David Ransom’s profile on Dave Pickerell at Inside F&B here.
Or click below


Listen to our show with Dave here:


Drink The Connected Table SIPS

Sipping with Matías Cruzat, Winemaker, Viña San Pedro

We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Matías Cruzat, the young winemaker turning heads and impressing palates at Viña San Pedro, which was founded in 1985 by the Correa Albano brothers who brought grape varieties from Chile to Spain.

Matias Cruzat

One of the largest and oldest exporters of Chilean wines, Viña San Pedro’s main winery is in Molina in the Curicó Valley south of Santiago where it has one of the largest stretches of vineyards in that country at 1,200 hectares.  Viña San Pedro also has vineyards throughout Chile including: Elqui, Casablanca. San Antonio-Leyda, Maipo, Cachapoal, Maule and Bio-Bio.

Cruzat is primarily responsible for making Viña San Pedro’s 1865 and 1865 Limited Edition wines, which are crafted from select single older vineyard plots: Sauvignon Blanc from Leyda Valley, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Elqui Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon from Maipo Valley, Carmenère and Malbec from Maule Valley and Syrah from Cachapoal.


What we tasted:

1865 Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Elqui Valley). This wine was like a burst of sunshine in your mouth. Fresh flavors of pineapple, grapefruit and sea salt. It had us thinking about a platter of fresh cooked seafood or a homemade “real” Caesar salad with anchovies.

1865 Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (Maipo Valley). A dense velvety wine with black pepper, tobacco and dark cocoa accents. Time to sizzle up some steaks or fresh game meats.

1865 Carmenère 2015 (Maule Valley). Spicy and silky on the palate field with ripe black cherries, blackberries and dark plum. Perfect for a Sunday night roast chicken with sautéed wild mushrooms.

All of the 1865 wines are available in the U.S.A. and priced under $20.

Listen to our conversation with Matias Cruzat on The Connected Table SIPS! Click the photo/link below:



With Matias Cruzat at Colangelo Partners office in New York