Château La Croix Lartigue
There was something familiar about Simon Blanchard when I first clapped eyes on him. This, I decided, was nothing more than my imagination; after all, this was my first time visiting in Castillon, and Château La Croix Lartigue was entirely new to me. It seemed fairly obvious that my mind was playing tricks on me, inventing memories, instilling me with a sense of déjà vu.
Then it dawned on me; Stéphane Derenoncourt – Blanchard’s associate and employer – might have made his name in Bordeaux, but in more recent years he has consulted far and wide, not just other regions of France – including the Rhône, Provence, Languedoc, even Chablis – but also much further afield. His list of clients now includes domaines in Spain, Italy, Austria, even India. No wonder he has an entire team – including Simon – working with him.
And then there is the Loire of course. Simon, I suddenly realised, consulted to Domaine FL, the domaine that was born out of Philippe Fournier’s fusion of Château de Chamboureau, a leading Savennières domaine, and the vineyards he wrestled from Domaine Jo Pithon. This wasn’t my mind’s idea of a practical joke after all; I had previously met Simon not in Bordeaux, but in the Loire.
It is perhaps appropriate that of all the Derenoncourt team, it would be Simon Blanchard that consulted to Domaine FL. After all, he was born in Deux-Sèvres, the département directly south of Anjou. For his education he headed south rather than north, however, studying biology at La Rochelle, and then oenology at Bordeaux University, graduating in 2000. He spent the next few years gaining experience in a number of different regions of Bordeaux, before joining the Derenoncourt team in 2004. He now consults not just in the Loire, but in many of the more exotic destinations listed above.