Bought by his grandfather, Marc Pages, back in the 1960s, Chateau La Tour de By is run by Benjamin Richer de Forges and his cousin, Frederic Leclerc. This wonderful Chateau in the northern Medoc makes an range of outstanding wines that we are exceptionally proud to have had on our shelves since we opened in 2013.
We asked Benjamin for his half case of wine....
Wine 1 - Champagne Gosset 'Celebris' Brut Champagne Gosset "Celebris": The best champagne for me after all, even though I know Champagne rather well! It's the Champagne I used to ask my wife to marry me, when I was still a student. And she accepted! I will never forget this champagne which celebrated one of the most beautiful days of my life!
Wine 2 - Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1990 On the occasion of "La Fête de la Fleur", a few years ago, which took place at Chateau Lagrange, our Commandery was able to serve us a Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1990. This wine was for me a revelation of what a huge wine! I was bewitched by so much complexity, length, flavours and energy. I shared my emotion with the guests on my behalf, but none were touched by this wine, relegating it to the rank of "old vintages". Being annoyed by these assessments, at the end of the meal I went to see one of my great friends, present at this magnificent dinner, to ask his opinion as he was a great taster and passionate about wine. He confirmed to me that this wine was extraordinary and had also touched him emotionally. I was reassured!
Wine 3 - Chateau La Tour de By 2005 This wine is unforgettable for me because it is the only wine I was able to make with my Grandfather, Marc Pagès, and my cousin Frédéric Le Clerc. In the summer of 2005, Frédéric arrived at La Tour de By to join the La Tour de By team alongside my Grandfather. For my part, I was on a winemaking course to produce the 2005 vintage at La Tour de By. All 3 of us worked together to produce this superb vintage. In 2007, Grand-Papa died at the age of 83, leaving Frédéric alone to manage the estate. In 2009, I joined La Tour de By to help my cousin Frédéric. We haven't left each other since!
Wine 4 - Chateau Toplong-Mondot 1986 At least 10 years ago, I was invited to a great tasting of one of our partners in France near Chartre. At the end of the day, we were invited to a big dinner with a hundred guests. I was at a table with only Burgundy winemakers, very friendly and happy to have a Bordeaux person at their table to annoy him a bit! Our partner tasted wines blind during the evening and asked us to give our opinion... A wine arrived, which immediately brought back memories of childhood because it "petroled", with this smell of gasoline that reminded me of going on vacation when I was little and when my Dad went to fill up the car: I liked that smell of gasoline. My Grandfather Marc Pagès had been able to make me taste a Saint Emilion wine several times, on old vintages can give off these aromas of gasoline... and I loved this wine! So I got up and spoke saying "it's a Chateau Troplong Mondot 1986"! Exact answer, which allowed me to boast to my Burgundian friends for the rest of the evening!
Wine 5 - Chateau La Tour de By 1966 During a lunch, in 2000, with the whole family gathered at La Tour de By around Granny and Grandpa, I decided with one of my uncles to serve wines blind. The last wine served was the first vintage made by Grand-Papa, a 1966. This wine was extraordinary, dense and delicate at the same time, fresh and powerful and still with a very present fruit. I had fun questioning Grandpa so that he could try to guess and at the end I told him the vintage. He burst out laughing and said "It's a hell of a wine, because given the conditions in which we took over the estate and with so little means... It's superb!". That day I understood that the terroir of La Tour de By is immense and that my Grandfather was a very great winegrower.
Wine 6 - Chateau Beychevelle 2003
When Covid arrived and everything started to stop around the world, with my cousin Frédéric, we worked a lot to prepare the orders that we still had so that they left as quickly as possible before they be cancelled. We were very worried, because all our commercial activity was coming to a complete stop. We didn't have much information about this new virus which seemed to be deadly. 3 evenings a week, I stayed with my parents, because the other 2 days, I had to go look after my children (the school being closed) in order to let my wife go to work. Every evening at my parents' house, as I was concerned about this "end of the world" atmosphere, I was able to set up a deal with my parents: "you cook and I provide the wine". Damn for damn, I had fun only releasing pretty bottles. The greatest memory during this period is this famous Beychevelle 2003, superb wine, tasted with a simple homemade bacon quiche! That was delicious!
If I could share only one of these with three people, real or fictional, living or dead, which would it be, and who would they be? Chateau La Tour de By 1966 is surely the wine I love the most: on the one hand it is still magnificent and above all it reminds me of my Grandfather, Marc Pagès whom I loved so much! I would like to be able to share this wine with him again one day, now that I take care of La Tour de By with my cousin Frédéric Le Clerc and that I understand what he experienced making wine at La Tour de By all these years. It won't be possible in my lifetime, but if I could bring a bottle of this magnificent 1966 with me when I go up to Heaven... I think it would be a great opportunity and a nice moment to be able to share this bottle again with Grandpa!
We stock a range of products from Chateau La Tour de By, click here to see them