On the Trail

The Role of the Négociant

David Driscoll

While Bordeaux may be full of fancy châteaux and lush vineyards surrounded by beautiful gardens, a lot of the real work gets done in places like this: Barriere, one of several négociants, or middlemen who purchase wines directly from the producers themselves and act as a broker between the estate and a retailer like K&L (for a complete explanation read my post from last week here). We didn't waste any time after landing in Bordeaux this afternoon. It was right from the rental car station to Barriere.

Bordeaux veteran Ralph Sands didn't waste any time either. That notebook was out and open within seconds of getting into the main tasting bar.

Adorning the room were prestige bottles galore: literal trophies in this case, from legendary vintages dating back decades. Negociants not only carry recent vintages, like the many 2015 barrel samples we were able to try before release, but also back vintages which help us balance out our selection in the store. They're a key part of the Bordeaux system.

We only had an hour to power through, however, because we needed to hit the hotel, change our clothes, and get ready for dinner at Haut Bailly! I only had ten minutes to post these photos and type this all up! Now I'm out the door. The real romanticism starts now. Until later!

-David Driscoll