an outstanding enologist
Stéphane Toutoundji has a unique way of viewing his profession. He believes that enologists should aim to produce modern wines adapted to market demand, while at the same time reflecting their terroir and vintage.
Today's wine market is well-structured, and Stéphane Toutoundji's goal is to produce "crowd pleasing", aromatic, well-balanced wines that suit current consumer expectations, and therefore sell well. After working closely with their clients in the vineyard and cellars for a few years, the enologist's purpose is naturally to increase sales.
A true enologist nevertheless despises wines that are made purely to win medals or court critical acclaim.
In conjunction with winegrowers, Stéphane Toutoundji focuses on combining quality and profitability.
Stéphane Toutoundji has had a blog called Ras la Bouteille (a French play on words loosely translated as "I've had it up to the eyeballs") since June 2006. No subject is off limits, from his infatuations and discoveries of the moment to his unvarnished comments about the wine industry or world events!
The frequently humorous blog of this militant enologist constitutes an interface between the world of wine and the general public. It is also a way for Stéphane Toutoundji to let off steam and helps him to take a break from his frenetic activity, to step back and define his role.
And it works! Some 677,357 visits were recorded in 2007, and nearly 205,864 pages viewed in January 2008 alone.
Stéphane Toutoundji's blog is appreciated by professionals and wine enthusiasts alike. It has also raised a few eyebrows because the enologist does not mince his words, and tells things as he sees them.
An unusual background
Stéphane discovered winemaking almost by accident, when he visited Château Angélus, a Saint-Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, one fine day in 1988. Attracted by what he saw, he was able to persuade the owner, Hubert de Boüard, to take him on for an internship during the harvest. The famous consulting enologist Michel Rolland was advising Château Angélus at that time, and working with him convinced Stéphane Toutoundji that he had found a new vocation. Benefiting from the counsel of a world-famous enologist, he soon familiarised himself with the world of wine.
wine analysis laboratory
In 2002, Stéphane Toutoundji bought a fifty percent shareholding in the Gilles Pauquet Laboratory in Libourne, which currently serves 250 to 300 wine estates.
Two thirds of these customers rely on the lab for wine analyses, but the remaining third calls on Stéphane Toutoundji for winemaking advice.
He thus consults for 55 to 60 châteaux – particularly during fermentation, although he also follows the wine closely during ageing.
Stéphane Toutoundji's aim is to work both with estates that are already well-known, as well as others whose reputations are on the rise.
from famous great growths to up-and-coming châteaux
Stéphane Toutoundji does not choose his clients according to the size or reputation of their estate, and lavishes the same care and attention on lesser-known properties as great growths. He adapts his expertise to each one.
The rich diversity of wine estates he works with has given him great depth of experience. He also calls himself into question all the time – the hallmark of a good enologist.
He frequently consults for estates whose reputation has yet to be made, and helps them to produce good, well-balanced wines. In addition, he is also involved with cutting-edge winemaking techniques at some very large and well-known châteaux.
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