Inside La Place – The strength of Talbot

 Jean-Michel Laporte

General Manager
Working at the estate since 2018
Met by Gerda at the Château

Château Talbot

4ème Grand Cru Classé en 1855

Jean-Michel Laporte


Gerda: Tell us about you … 

Jean-Michel Laporte: I am an engineer in agriculture, a wine enthusiast, and devoted to the estate. 

Gerda: What are the main challenges you personally face, in the practice of your work?

Jean-Michel Laporte: We want the grapes to reach maturity with the best quality and quantity. We also want Talbot to be seen as a Château of excellence.


Harvest 2021


Gerda: How did your harvest go?

Jean-Michel Laporte: I am very glad about this vintage. The work done by the vineyard manager and his team have been huge and I am very surprised by the quality. 2021 is not a great vintage but it is better than I originally thought it would be. The Cabernets Sauvignon are remarkable. The vintage is quite similar to 2001, but with a real coating in the middle palate. It is tactile. We did 3 to 4 more pump-overs which means more extraction than expected. I am confident there will be a good surprise in the future. We also had a good yield: 44hl/ha. It is comfortable because it will allow us freedom during the blend.

The brand Talbot today and tomorrow


Gerda: What positioning (s) do you want for your brand (s)?

Jean-Michel Laporte: I want Talbot to be always a pleasure for the customer and be a reference in Saint-Julien. I also want the customer to be ready to pay the price. As for Connétable de Talbot, it is a very pleasant second wine. We want this wine to be a Great Wine while remaining approachable.

G: How do your wines stand out, and are unique?

JML: They have a great ageing capacity. Last night I drank a half-bottle of 1947 with a Swiss wine critic. It was extraordinary, complex, and vibrant. Even if Talbot is not the most powerful wine in Bordeaux, it distinguishes itself by pure aromas, good balance, tannic structure, and good acidity.

G: Which of your recent accomplishments would you like to share with your customers?

JML: We keep planting the plateau with Cabernet Sauvignon and use only our massal selection, from vines over 88 years old. During the vinification, we are trying to get more extraction in order to bring more tactility and a fleshy middle palate. We have also increased the percentage of new wood since the vintage 2018: 60% instead of 50%. Tannins are more enveloped.

G: How far along are your property(ies) in the “green transition”?

JML: We never did chemical weeding at Talbot. We have the certification High Environmental Value Level 3 et we cultivate 8 hectares of land with the organic specifications. Those plots allow us to test our method. It is both interesting and difficult. The specifications to produce organic wines are difficult in Bordeaux with the Atlantic climate. We have chosen to be as eco-friendly as possible.


The business

Gerda: What are your priorities in terms of business development? 

Jean-Michel Laporte: To develop the US market which actually represents 4% of our distribution. The aim is to reach 8%. With the help of Jean-Louis Carbonnier (our local correspondent on this market), we want to contact again our distributors. We also want to work more with the wine retailers and the restaurant owners. We need to give a positive image to professionals by remaining faithful to the Place of Bordeaux. Thanks to the Place of Bordeaux, we were distributed in 106 countries last year. For three years, we increased our sales from 5% to 11% in England.

We are focusing on Africa and South-East Asia as well.

G: Which vintages should the ma