Red Obsession

Synopsis: For centuries, Bordeaux has assumed a mythical status in the world of fine wine as a leitmotif of wealth, power and influence, but its prosperity has always been linked to the capricious nature of markets and the shifting fortunes of global economies. Now change is coming to Bordeaux, with traditional customers like the US and the UK falling away, as China's new rich push prices to stratospheric levels. The demand is unprecedented, but the product is finite and this new client wants it all. Will the China market be the bubble that never bursts or the biggest threat yet to Bordeaux's centuries old reputation?
Production: Area23
  2 wins & 4 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
75 min

For centuries,

Bordeaux has commanded

an almost mythical status

in the world of wine -

beguiling kings,

emperors and dictators alike.

While its survival is dependent

on the capricious nature of weather,

its prosperity has always been tied

to the shifting fortunes

of global economies.

As powerful nations rise and fall,

so does the fate of this place.

I put a spell on you

Because you're mine

You'd better stop the things you do

I said, "Watch out! I ain't lying"

I can't stand it

'Cause you're runnin' around

I can't stand it

'Cause you're puttin' me down

So I...

I put a spell on you


Because you're mine, you're mine

So I So I-I-I put a spell on you

Because you're mine

Hey, yeah

You're mine, yeah

Because you're mine.

I love the history of this place.

I love the fact that it's been here

for hundreds and hundreds of years

and it's endlessly changed

with the buffeting of history

and the buffeting of politics

and the buffetings of taste.

There's a wonderful story, too,

about Samuel Pepys drinking Haut-Brion

in London in a tavern.

That's 350 years ago he

drank that, and he said,

"It's a wine of a most

particular taste," he said,

"of which I know not. "

What exactly makes it so magical

is obviously very difficult to explain,

just because... it's magical.

The first vines

were planted here by the Romans

over 2,000 years ago.

The generations who have

worked this land since

are the custodians of a

reputation built over centuries.


wines - ha! -

they are as rare as great paintings

or as great pieces of music.

To make a great wine,

it's not only a great

terroir, a great chteau,

it's a great vintage.

But then it's the

human factor, you know.

You need love.

You need to bring so much love

to your vines, to your vineyard.

When I see on a cluster

of 200 or 300 berries,

one which is slightly green,

I take it like that, you know.

And I know it's not

significant, apparently,

because one berry out of 250 is nothing,

especially when you think of

those thousand... millions

of berries in the vineyard.

But it's the love you bring

through that gesture, you see?

That's very important.

I enjoy the wine so much.

I'm a drinker first, more than a taster.

I drink so much,

that for me it's really

the pleasure of drinking.

I'm not a great taster,

I'm a great drinker.

I could qualify for that, I think.

Maybe you see, because

we are after lunch,

and it's true that I drunk more

than a bottle for lunch myself.

You know, I had guests

and we were seven people.

We had three magnums, so that's OK.

When you taste the fruit,

especially from a block that you know,

you ask it, "I know

you, little vineyard.

"I know what is your soul.

"I know who are you as a character.

"But what do you have

to tell me this year?"

We've been producing

wine here for 400 years,

so it's very important

to understand the

history of such a place,

to understand the identity.

So many people ran

the property before me

that you really feel it every day.

It's not just a question of 'terroir',

as we say in French,

it's a question of...

a piece of history,

a soul, a style, a DNA.

Protected from

severe Atlantic winds

and warmed by the effects

of the Gironde estuary,

these great estates are endowed

by nature with characteristics

that cannot be found

anywhere else in the world.

When I came here

and they told me these are

the best pieces of land,

I thought, "Sure. " You

know, I mean, "Pebbles. "

But it's true

- it's perfection.

Thanks to the former generations,

they have actually managed

to pick the best plots

of land in the world -

those little plots where the

drainage is done naturally,

where nothing grows but the vines

with the big pebbles to

keep the heat at night

and to reflect the sun in the daytime.

It's a combination but

it took them centuries

and we are just

following in their steps.

When you live in a space like this,

the space takes energy out of you.

There's a link that is being built.

Some of my friends say,

"You've been here for 17, 18 years.

"Are you still amazed when

you arrive in this place?

"Are you still enchanted?"

And I say yes,

because, actually, I'm

getting more and more,

because I understand how

special this piece of land is.

There's a vibration.

There's a real vibration here.

In 1855,

Napoleon llI ordered that

the finest wines of Bordeaux

should be classified and

ranked in order of excellence.

Of the thousands of chteaux,

only a handful were rewarded

with 'Grand Cru' status.

While some may argue that

the 1855 classification

has become outdated,

these same chteaux

remain the jewels in

the crown of Bordeaux.

For many, these wines are

considered works of art,

but, unlike a painting,

wine only exists for

that brief instant in time

after the cork gets pulled.

It's a transient moment,

but it can leave an

indelible impression.

I had the privilege

of having a glass of Chteau Margaux

which was made and bottled

four years after the French Revolution.

Maybe Lafayette himself had tried it.

Maybe Jefferson had tried it.

So you're one with them

in a very intimate way.

When you start thinking about that,

you realize that wine

really told a story.

In the same moment of this

pleasure, this gratification,

there was also a tale told

about the history when

that wine was made -

what was going on in the

world when that wine was made

and, in particular, a

story about the place

and the land and the weather.

It's more than a manufactured

or agricultural product,

it's something closer to a miracle.

A miraculous wine

is only achieved when temperature, rain,

sun and wind are delivered

in exact proportions.

In 100 years, you

might get five or six

legendary type of vintages.

So just in recent memory,

1961 was an absolutely

brilliant vintage for Bordeaux.

The next after that, possibly...

well, in fact, is 1982.

And after that, 2009.

But this year may rewrite

the Bordeaux history books.

Producers and critics alike

are predicting that the 2010

will be another perfect vintage.

After the harvest of

2010, we realized that,

yes, 2010 should be

such an extraordinary -

not just great

- but such an extraordinary vintage as '09.

And I just told myself,

"But how will we be able

to tell that to people?"

Because last year I had personally told

that I would probably not see that again

in my professional life.

This is an extraordinary coincidence

of perfect climatic conditions.

Each year in early spring,

the Bordeaux wine producers

host an event called 'En Primeur'.

Here, like the catwalk at Milan,

the new season's wines

are paraded before

the most powerful and influential

journalists and critics

in the wine world.

A great wine just drills down

into your psyche and your perceptions

and strikes a chord,

and... you know, it's

like some brass instrument,

it just goes "Ding,

ding, ding, ding, ding,"

and then... bingo, it's great!

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David Roach

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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