Jean-Pierre Faure, the chef de cave at Château La Tour Blanche, is retiring this year.
After 37 years working at La Tour Blanche, Jean-Pierre has decided that 2011 was his final vintage – not a bad vintage to go out on, I would say. Especially when viewed as one-third of a fine Sauternes triumvirate also including 2009 and 2010.
It is perhaps not well known outside Bordeaux, but La Tour Blanche is home to an agricultural school (alongside the château and wine, and the ‘white tower’ of course, there are buildings that do resemble a ‘school’ – for UK readers think Grange Hill, rather than Harry Potter). Jean-Pierre graduated from this very school with a technical diploma in viticulture and oenology in 1971, prior to taking up work in Blaye, where his family owned some vines.
He then worked at Caillou in Barsac from 1972 to 1974. And on September 15th 1974 he took up a position of chef de cave at La Tour Blanche. He retires this week, on June 30th. After more than three decades of shaping the wines of La Tour Blanche he hands over responsibility to Philippe Pelicano (pictured above, left, with Jean-Pierre Faure on the right), another graduate (from the 1996 vintage!) of the school. The two have been working together at La Tour Blanche for more than ten years, so I don’t expect to see any sudden shift in style or deterioration in quality.
Naturally I will be updating my La Tour Blanche profile with regard to this development; an update was coming soon as part of my current programme of Sauternes and Barsac overhauls.