Jasmine Hirsch never believed she’d end up working with her father, David, at Hirsch Vineyards on Sonoma’s remote far coast. Olivier Berrouet didn’t have a second thought when he was offered the job his father, Jean-Claude, had held for more than forty years—making the wine at Château Pétrus in Bordeaux. Working with—or separately from—a famous father may not be the simplest career path—but the sons and daughters in the pages that follow have worked it out brilliantly.
“The transition from my father to me happened very easily,” he says. “Everyone thought that Jean-Michel would have difficulty retiring, but when the decision was made, my father immediately stepped aside. Getting on as well as we do makes everything so much easier, and we still confer on the important decisions, such as pricing.”
While Jean-Michel may be retired, he is far from inactive. Over the last decade, he has worked to resurrect the hamlet of Bages—where derelict stone buildings once housed a workers community neighboring the château. Now a destination in Pauillac, the restored buildings are home to a local bistro, a delicious bakery (Jean-Michel’s grandfather was the baker in town), a butcher and a gift shop stocked by Jean-Michel’s daughter, Kinou.
Meanwhile, the 36-year-old Jean-Charles has plenty to keep him busy: a new winery to build at Lynch-Bages (more about winemaking than architecture he insists); a new wine project in the Douro Valley, Xisto; a generic third wine, Pauillac de Lynch-Bages; Château Les Ormes de Pez in St-Estèphe; Domaine des Sénéchaux in Châteauneuf-du-Pape; L’Ostal Cazes in Minervois; Tapanappa in Australia; and the wine merchant business, J.M. Cazes Sélection. Named after his great-grandfather who purchased Lynch-Bages in 1938, Jean-Charles is as much a people person as his father. “I love meeting the interesting people who are involved in the wine business,” he says. “That’s great and very motivating. But there are not enough hours in the day to achieve all I want to. I’ve had to learn patience—and that’s not easy to learn…”
96 ‘05 Château Lynch-Bages Pauillac $150 (10/08)
95 ‘06 Château Lynch-Bages Bordeaux Blanc $65 (12/09)
90 ‘06 Château Lynch-Bages Pauillac Grand Cru Classe (12/09)