1600 guests for an international celebration of the 200th anniversary of the vineyard and the end of Vinexpo
At 6.30pm on Thursday, 18 June, Mélissa Bouygues, President of Château Montrose, Martin and Olivier Bouygues, owners since 2006, and Emmanuel Cruse, Grand Master of the Commanderie du Bontemps, started to welcome the 1,600 guests invited to the 64th Fête de la Fleur, the first to take place in the grounds of this exceptional estate.
Chosen by the owners of top wine estates in the Médoc, Graves, Sauternes and Barsac to organise this exceptional gala evening, one of the most glittering events in the French wine industry calendar, Château Montrose was also celebrating two milestones in its own history:
the 200th anniversary of the planting of its vineyard in an exceptional location overlooking the Gironde estuary;
the completion of a spectacular renovation over a 7-year period so that the estate can continue to enhance its international reputation, backed up by facilities that are remarkable in every respect, whether technical or architectural.
1,600 guests to ring down the curtain on Vinexpo
The Fête de la Fleur traditionally marks the end of Vinexpo Bordeaux. This year, the Bouygues family wanted the event to combine beauty and simplicity, fine dining and poetry, expressing the values of an estate which cultivates the art of discretion.
Distinguished guests from the worlds of fine Bordeaux wines, finance, international luxury goods, politics and the arts included Alain Juppé, François Pinault (also owner of the famous Château Latour), Carole Bouquet (a French actress who makes wine on the Sicilian island of Pantelleria), Hubert Guerrand Hermès, Jane Hartley (US Ambassador to France and Monaco), the jeweller Alain Boucheron and Jean-Pierre Raffarin (senator and former prime minister).
Investiture by the Commanderie du Bontemps and its Grand Master Emmanuel Cruse of 40 guests, including Jean-Pierre Raffarin ©M.ANGLADA-SAISON D’OR
Each Fête de la Fleur is also an occasion for the Commanderie du Bontemps to welcome new Honorary Commanders into its ranks. Some of them are household names, some not, but they all share a love of the wines to which they swear an oath of loyalty. On completion of the investiture ceremony, celebrated in front of the château, 40 guests sponsored by one or more established Commanders thus became true ambassadors of Médoc, Graves, Sauternes and Barsac wines.
Christian Le Squer, executive chef of the Four Seasons George V, created a five-course dinner accompanied by six wines
3-star Michelin chef Christian Le Squer has taken his signature style of generous gourmet cooking into the Four Seasons Hôtel George V, bringing a lightness unencumbered by the opulence traditionally associated with palaces.
Invited by Martin Bouygues to create the menu for the gala dinner at the Fête de la Fleur, Le Squer drew his inspiration from the juxtaposition of terroir and river, starting with Caviar de Montrose. As at his restaurant in Paris, his creations combined beauty, purity and simplicity, values which are inherent in the genetic make-up of Château Montrose and Château Tronquoy-Lalande, Martin and Olivier Bouygues’ second property in Saint-Estèphe, which also featured at the event.
Matching six wines (Château Tronquoy-Lalande white 2012 – Château Tronquoy-Lalande red 2010 – Château Malartic-Lagravière 2005 – Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste 2000 – Château Montrose 1986 in magnums – Château Rieussec 2007), five courses were served in the estate’s four barrel halls, all pressed into service and sumptuously decorated to accommodate the 150 tables.
A ceremonial announcement heralded each entry of the 110 sommeliers to serve the wines, several thousand bottles of which had been opened for the exceptional gala dinner.
The imaginary garden of Montrose: a glittering finale, an ode to the land
It was nearly 11.00pm when the guests reached the natural theatre where the show to culminate the event took place: the Château Montrose vineyard.
Poetic projections onto huge balloons, a sound and light show evoking all the elements which make up the Château Montrose terroir and the history of a vineyard celebrating its 200th anniversary that night all combined in a truly spectacular climax to the evening.
Once the last starbursts of the firework display had faded away, a DJ was waiting to continue the party in the superb Eiffel-style orangerie erected in the gardens of the château, where guests carried on dancing into the small hours of a night set ablaze by the Fête de la Fleur with sparkling cascades of glittering light.