Credit Agricole Grand Crus
Tasting wines from CA's Bordeaux portfolio, including Meyney, Rayne Vigneau and Grand-Puy Ducasse


Credit Agricole is one of France's leading banks, and is the number one bank supporting agriculture. This has presented them with opportunities to acquire wine estates at good prices, when former owners were in a position of being forced to sell. So they've developed an attractive wine portfolio.

I met with CEO of their wine division, Thierry Budin, to taste through the wines of some of their top estates.

Thierry is originally from Champagne, and worked for Seagrams for more than 20 years. At this time they owned Champagne houses Mumm and Perrier Jouet. In a nice twist, his family used to own Champagne Perrier Jouet, and through his position at Seagrams he got to manage the old family property.

There are six Bordeaux properties in the portfolio, of which the four best known are:

  • Château de Rayne Vigneau, 1er Grand Cru Classé Sauternes – an 84 hectare Sauternes estate

  • Château Grand-Puy Ducasse, 5ème Grand Cru Classé Pauillac – a 40 hectare classed growth Pauillac property

  • Château Meyney Cru Bourgeois Supérieur Saint-Estèphe – a 51 hectare estate with a good terroir, but which missed out on the 1855 classification

  • Château Blaignan – a 97 hectare property higher up in the Médoc

'Having a portfolio helps you gather competencies,' says Budin. 'We have more people.' At the moment he has 10 people working for him in Bordeaux, of who only one was in 2006 when Budin started. Budin's approach is to recruit young people with new knowledge, and he's interested in implementing the latest technologies.

As an example, he has purchased an infrared grape sorter, which is used at the two top estates (Grand Puy Ducasse and Meyney). This can sort ripe grapes from less ripe ones, even though the two are visually indistinguishable. This tool will be very useful in a vintage like 2013, where there is a high degree of variation in ripeness.

CA own six chateaux in Bordeaux, some of which are distributed through the Place, and others of which are distributed directly, market by market. 'Distribution is very important for developing the right image for the chateaux,' says Budin.


Château Clos St Vincent 2011 St Emilion, Bordeaux, France
Fresh, bright and supple with cherry and spice notes. There's some elegance here to this bright, ripe St Emilion. Lovely fruit. 90/100

Château La Tour de Mons 2011 Margaux, Bordeaux, France
Fresh and grippy with nice supple cherry and berry fruit. Good acidity and freshness. There's some sweetness to the fruit but it's nicely poised and balanced. 90/100

Château La Tour de Mons 2005 Margaux, Bordeaux, France
Beautifully fresh with sweet fruit and a grainy, chalky texture. Smooth, pure and quite delicious. 93/100

Château Grand-Puy Ducasse 2011 Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
Supple, sweet and nicely structured, showing good density, some mineral notes and a core of blackcurrant fruit. Lovely precision to this wine: it's youthful and taut, but not unapproachable. Proper wine. 93/100

Château Grand-Puy Ducasse 2005 Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
Ripe, sweet and bold with lovely textured blackcurrant fruit and some spice. Lovely weight here: it’s supple and bright with good concentration. Fine and expressive. 94/100

Château Meyney 2011 Saint-Estèphe, Bordeaux, France
Supple and elegant with pure blackcurrant fruit. Very structured yet fine with nice pure fruit and some grippy gravelly notes. A stylish wine. 94/100

Château Meyney 2005 Saint-Estèphe, Bordeaux, France
Fresh, pure and supple with nice blackberry and blackcurrant fruit. Sweet but fresh with lovely structure and precision. There’s a chalky, gravelly edge to the fruit which is supple and elegant, and still youthful. 95/100

Château Blaignan Quintessence 2011 Bordeaux, France
This is a 100 hectare property in the north of the Medoc, and this top wine is an attempt to show the potential of the terroir. It's 90% Merlot with40% new oak. Lush, ripe and structured with fresh blackcurrant fruit. Very pure, ripe and richwith some oak influence. Hints of chocolate with some spice. Lush and sweet. 91/100

Château Rayne Vigneau Sec 2012 Bordeaux Blanc Sec, France
Aromatic and fine with lovely precise grapefruit and citrus fruit. Pure, lively and delicious. 90/100

Château Rayne Vigneau 2011 Sauternes, Bordeaux, France
Lovely pure melon and grape fruit with some honey. Rich textured and very sweet, but pure and fresh in style. 92/100

Château Rayne Vigneau 2005 Sauternes, Bordeaux, France
Sweet, peachy and spicy with some apricot notes. A stylish, pure, textured wine. 92/100

See also:

Haut Bailly vertical tasting
2000 Bordeaux horizontal
Pontet Canet vertical tasting

Wines tasted 10/13  
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