Clos du Clocher, 1988 – 2005
“I don’t usually wear this watch”, said Jean-Baptiste Bourotte, as he stretched out his arm, pronating his left wrist as he did so, bringing the watch face into view. “In fact it is one my wife often wears, but I managed to grab it first this morning”.
From my seat just around the corner of the table in the tasting room at Clos du Clocher I could see the watch face had a rectangular form, framed in gold, with elegantly slender hands. It had the air of the Art Deco period to it, even though I was sure it had been crafted in a more recent decade. Independent of my thoughts about its age, however, it was immediately apparent that this was no ordinary timepiece; it simply oozed elegance in an almost tangible, liquid form. It was beautiful, and I suspect it probably had notable valuable.
A few numbers began bouncing through my mind, and I wondered whether I should offer Jean-Baptiste a valuation. After all, I didn’t spend all my formative years watching Antiques Roadshow just before Sunday tea for nothing. Before I could broach the subject, however, Jean-Baptiste (pictured above) spoke again (yes, I know, probably a good thing).
“There’s a bit of a story about how I came to have this watch in my possession”, he continued. “Before I came home to France to take on the running of the family vineyards here in Pomerol I had a job with Cartier. I spent a long time in their South American division, and every time I was transferred from one department to another, which was quite a few times, or whenever I had a promotion, and also when I finally left, they would give me a watch”.
I began to tot up the jobs and the watches, but soon lost count. “I guess you must have a few Cartier watches then?”, I enquired.
“A whole drawer full of them”, grinned Jean-Baptiste.
The Clos du Clocher Vineyards
Despite having built up what must have been an admirable curriculum vitae with Cartier (not to mention a handsome collection of timepieces), today Jean-Baptiste Bourotte is best known as one of a Pomerol’s most gently spoken and gentlemanly vignerons. It was as recently as 2003 that the eternally youthful Jean-Baptiste returned to the family home to begin working alongside his father, eventually taking the reins single-handed in 2005. I have already provided an extensive history of the property in my Clos du Clocher profile, so in this report I will focus on the estate’s more recent history, in the run-up to when father handed over to son, accompanied by tasting notes on vintages from this era.