Bordeaux negociant Jeffrey Davies: six million euro man

Jeffrey Davies: negociant, wine journalist and head of a company with a turnover north of 6 million Euros. Andrew Jefford meets an eternal optimist, who is brimming with enthusiasm for ‘garage’ wines and the Bordeaux avant-garde…

Bordeaux, 1976. Concorde has just taken off for its first commercial flight; later this year Jimmy Carter will be elected president of the USA. The Médoc proprietors are convinced they have just made, in 1975, one of their greatest vintages, after a dismal half-decade of bubble, bust, scandal, cold summers and thin wines.

They receive a letter from an American oenology student at Bordeaux University. He asks to taste every vintage of their wine between 1955 and 1975, at 11am on an appointed day, at a table with a white tablecloth in a slightly warmer environment than the chai. They reach for the telephone and call his supervisor, Professor Emile Peynaud, to ask for an explanation. Most are indignant; some use expletives. Peynaud takes the flak. ‘You should do it,’ he counters. ‘You probably never do it for yourselves either. You might learn something about your own wines.’ In the end, around 60 estates agree – and Jeffrey Davies’ long and diverse career begins.

Article Presse Le Monde
Article Presse Le Monde

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