Famille Hugel announces the loss of Etienne Hugel

Riquewihr, April 10, 2016 – It is with the greatest sadness that Famille Hugel announces the loss of Etienne Hugel who died suddenly on Saturday, April 9, 2016.

Aged 57, Etienne Hugel had joined the family business in 1982 and was in charge of promoting Famille Hugel wines abroad. Now exported to more than 100 countries around the world, Famille Hugel wines are today proud to be represented by a great number of Alsace wine lovers who were able to share many pleasurable and convivial moments with Etienne Hugel.

“A visionary and a hard worker, my son Etienne traveled the world relentlessly, showing unparalleled people skills and infectious enthusiasm,” declared André Hugel. “Throughout his life he was able to communicate his passion, his professionalism and his personal values to all those with whom he worked.”

All the Primum Familiae Vini members are deeply saddened by his passing away and extend their condolences to his father, André Hugel, his wife Kaoru and his two children, Charlotte and Jean-Frédéric.
We all have lost a dear friend and great supporter of the Primum Familiae Vini.

Mireia Torres , President of the Primum Familiae Vini

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Greatest of Grapes II, a huge success

We couldn’t have done it without you

Our event was a huge success and thanks to you, we raised over $100,000.

Thank you to the participating wine producers, volunteers, GFH Global Foundation Legends team. Funds will be distributed to Hope System of Care (COV), Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (HAS), and Laval School and Orphanage.


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Death of Baroness Philippine de Rothschild

All the Primum Familiae Vini members are very sad of the passing away of Baroness Philippine de Rothschild. She was a unique inimitable woman in the wine world, with an incredibly charismatic personality and great sense of humour.

We all have lost a dear friend and great supporter of the family values that the PFV embraces.

Our deepest condolences go out to her family.

Alessia Antinori, current PFV President.



Philippine de Rothschild, Chair of the Supervisory Board of Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA, died in Paris on 22 August 2014 at the age of 80 from the effects of a serious operation.

After a notable stage career, not least at the Comédie Française, she became a leading figure in the wine world. With her energy, charisma and radiant personality, she considerably expanded the family company, both in France and elsewhere, and maintained the family’s estates at the highest level, the illustrious Château Mouton Rothschild foremost among them.

Pauillac, 23 August 2014

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Lifford Agency Dinner with Pierre-Henry Gagey

Steven Campbell, owner, Lifford Agency, hosted a dinner last night with Pierre-Henry Gagey, President of Maison Louis Jadot and Honorary Director of Grapes for Humanity, U.S., Inc. Pierre-Henry provided some of the finest wines from his private cellar which included: Puligny Montrachet “Les Folatieres” 1997, Le Montrachet 1985, Beaune “Les Avaux”, 1999, Gevrey Chambertin 1978 and Clos Vougeot 1969. Honored to be included as guests of Lifford Agency were Arlene and Michael Willis, Geddy Lee (Board of Directors).


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Château Haut-Brion

In the vineyard
H.R.H. Prince Robert of Luxembourg

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to taste the wines of famed first growth producer Domaine Clarence Dillon and the wines of Château Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion, with special guest H.R.H. Prince Robert of Luxembourg. Corporate Tables are $25,000.   Special Guests to include world renowned wine writer, Hugh Johnson,  Marchese Piero Antinori, Jean-Guillaume PRATS, Leonardo Frescobaldi and Pierre-Henry Gagey.

A special performance by Robert Pilon, Robert has had the honor of performing throughout his illustrious career for dignitaries such Canadian Governors-General, Prime Ministers, the Lord Mayor of London, Mayor Rudolph Guiliani, and was asked to sing for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Canada’s 125th celebration on Parliament Hill.

SOLD OUT Contact: 1-800-218-1422 to be added to the waiting list.

Wines to be served at the dinner include: Château Laville Haut-Brion blanc 2005 ~ Château Haut-Brion blanc 2004 ~ Château Bahans Haut-Brion rouge 2001 ~ La Chapelle de la Mission Haut-Brion rouge 2000 ~ Château Haut-Brion rouge 1999 ~ Château La Mission Haut-Brion rouge 1998 ~ Château Haut-Brion rouge 1995 ~ Château La Mission Haut-Brion rouge 1990.


Highlights of Live Auction:   One double magnum of Château Haut-Brion rouge 1996 – One double magnum of Château La Mission Haut-Brion – plus a visit of both Châteaux Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion followed by a tasting and lunch with the landlord or the winemaker at the Estate.    All Auction Items Preview

Highlights of Silent Auction:  One Jeroboam of Beaune Clos des Mouches donated by Véronique Drouhin – One Magnum of Musigny 1961 donated by Pierre-Henry GAGEY, Maison Louis Jadot.  Plus:

Amazing Thailand!!! – 3 nights in a Deluxe Suite at Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok (http://www.fourseasons.com/bangkok) followed by six (6) nights at Villa Emikami in Phuket (www.emikami.com).  Villa Emikami has three bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, a private swimming pool and spacious living and dining areas.   It is located within the private reseidetial estate of Katamanda in Kata, Phuket.  The estate, which provides full housekeeping services t the villa has a tennis court, gym and a Thai restaurant.

Evening Sponsored by:   Mutual of America and Navios Maritime Holdings, Inc.  – www.navios.com

Location: Four Seasons Hotel – New York City

Date: Wednesday, October 21, 2009 , 6:30 p.m.


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Marchese Leonardo Frescobaldi – Sarasota

An exclusive tasting and dinner with wines from the private library of Marchese Leonardo Frescobaldi was held at Michael’s Wine Cellar in Sarasota, Florida. Wines served included: Attems Pinot Grigio 2007, Pomino Benefizio 2006, Montesodi 2005, Montesodi 2004, Mormoreto 2003, Mormoreto 2005, Pomino Vin Santo 2003. This sold out event was a huge success. Funds raised were distributed to the Lavalla School and Orphanage in Cambodia.

Location: Michael’s Wine Cellar, Sarasota, Florida
Date: Saturday, February 28, 2009 , 6:30 p.m.

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Pierre-Henry Gagey – Maison LOUIS JADOT

An exclusive Fine Wine Dinner with Pierre Henry Gagey, President, Maison Louis Jadot was held on October 17, 2008 in Sarasota, Florida. Wines donated by Pierre-Henry included: Puligny Montrachet Premier Cru Les Folatiéres 2000, Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru 1992, Beaune Premier Cru Les Bressandes Red 1997, Clos Vougeot Grand Cru 1985, Chambertin Grand Cru 1979, Château Suduiraut 1999. This event was SOLD OUT and Sarasota Magazine was the media Media Sponsor. $25,000 was distributed to the Children’s Surgical Center in Phnom Penh, Cambodia; $10,000 to Oak Park School for disabled children in Sarasota, Florida and $20,000 to the World Education Fund in Laos.

Location: Michael’s on East (SOLD OUT)
Date: Friday, October 17, 2008 , 6:30 p.m.

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Corinne Mentzelopoulos, Château Margaux

An  exclusive Fine Wine Dinner featuring the wines of Château Margaux, one of the five first-growth wine-producing properties in Bordeaux was held on October 24, 2007 at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City.    We were honored to have Corinne Mentzelopoulos, owner of Château Margaux as our featured guest who donated all of the Château Margaux wines from her private cellar in Bordeaux.   Wines served: Pavillon Blanc 2005, Pavillon Rouge 1995, Château Margaux 1999, Château Margaux 1996, Château Margaux 1989 plus Château d’Yquem 1999 and Dom Pérignon Champagne 1999.

Special guest included Hugh Johnson, Marchese Piero Antinori, Jean-Guillaume PRATS, and Guy Rigby, who acted as Master of Ceremony for the evening.   Robert Pilon, stage, television and recording artist graced the evening with his beautiful tunes and Jim Lawrence, Director, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement from the U.S. Department of State was a guest speaker.

Over $100,000 was raised to support Cofeeland Landmine Victims Trust, A Polus Center Project, in Nicaragua, Honduras, Columbia, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

Château Margaux Program


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Rich diversity from a hill of stones

Published March 24, 2004

LONGBOAT KEY – I cannot refrain from bragging about this pairing of food and wine: All of the courses matched vintages of Cos d’Estournel from the last three decades at one of Bordeaux’s most beloved names.

If Cos d’Estournel does not impress, I could note that the guest of honor was the successor to a French maharajah.

Mais oui, the estate was so famous 150 years ago that its wines regularly were shipped as far as India. The proprietor styled himself the maharajah of St. Estephe and put pagoda towers and doors from Zanzibar on his chateau, curios that remain today just up the road from Lafite-Rothschild.

To those who know and admire Cos, I’ll detail the indulgence by the numbers: ’75, ’93, ’96, ’86 and, most gloriously, ’70. If you happen to have these in your cellar at $100 to $400 a bottle, my advice is to give ’96 and ’86 more time, but you can open the other three now for luscious drinking.

The occasion was a private dinner for 24 in a Longboat Key condo to introduce potential donors to Grapes for Humanity, a charity founded by Michael and Arlene Willis, a Canadian-American couple who bring together their connections in the world of wine to help victims of land mines. A four-course meal from Morton’s Catering of Sarasota accompanied talk of rehabilitation and prosthetics and toasts to Franco-American friendship.

One came from Jean-Guillaume Prats, who runs Cos d’Estournel; his family owned it for three generations, making him a successor to Gaspar Estournel. When pressed to talk about the Raj tradition, he will give a bow of a mock swami. At 34, he embodies the dietary paradox of grand French cuisine, a lean-and-fit man with the well-finished look of an English schoolboy. But he is serious about philanthropy.

“We are so lucky; we must give something back,” he says.

Still, what to make of the treasures he contributed from his cellar?

Tasting through 30 years of a great name offers delicious object lessons in patience and the attributes of greatness in wine. Yes, there are bottles that are worth decades and hundreds of dollars; and the great names of Bordeaux can still uphold that tradition.

Cos has two significant distinctions. The first is unmistakable: a bouquet so spicy it hints of cedar and herbs and, if you can’t shake the memory of the maharajah, curry. The other is an intensity of deep colors and dark fruits and a firm, steely structure of tannins that makes it one of the slowest and most long-lived of Bordeaux.

Both hallmarks were apparent in the wines; their great aging potential allows you to taste that theme through immense variations, from sensuous to muscular, the characteristics a single year can wring from a single piece of land. With age, the scaffolding is removed, and what remains is beauty: rich in flavor, sometimes luscious, sometimes delicate.

“In Bordeaux, we do not have bad vintages,” Prats says. “Some are great and others are . . . more modest.”

Indeed, the chateau rates its years as exceptional, great, very good or years with difficulty – as were most of the 1990s. But 2000 ushered in a string of beauties, or at least they will be, when they grow up.

For this dinner, the ’93 was the youngest that was ready to drink, and it was silken. The ’96, a great year, and even the ’86, are more aggressive, fine amid the riches of duck in vanilla and Madeira or lamb with figs, morels and anise. These two will get even better later. The ’75, almost 30 years old, has a grace that combines finesse and freshness, making it perfect with a first course of fish and lush foie gras. Starting with an older wine may be heresy, but Prats says, “It’s something I do more and more, and this still tastes young.”

However, the ’70 had matured into a chocolatey richness, almost a syrup that matched the creamiest Explorateur and bleu cheeses at the finale.

The land that produced all of them is a stubby hill of pebbly gravel, called a cos, a few hundred yards from the great, broad Gironde, the waterway that has defined Bordeaux for centuries and delivered it to the wine-drinking world.

On the far side lies the Bordeaux many Americans love best and understand the most easily: Pomerol and St. Emillion, where the reds are famously and softly heavy with merlot.

On the southern side of the river is the Medoc and its communes, chateaux and vineyards, where blends rich in cabernet sauvignon fill bottles that will last happily for decades and have been known for centuries.

Chateau Cos d’Estournel sits on 170 acres in St. Estephe, the finest wine in that district, and right on the border with Pauillac, the heaviest hitter in Bordeaux.

In the great classification of 1855, which identified the region’s grand crus or great growths, wine merchants tapped four chateaux as premier cru, three of them in Pauillac, and ranked Cos in a second group of 15 great growths. Over the years, its strength won many fans, who regarded it a “supersecond” with more value and less hype than some grandees. In an unofficial reclassification in 1998 by Robert Parker, the American critic put Cos in the first rank.

What makes it special? The grapes are much the same each year, mostly cabernet, some merlot and occasionally cabernet franc and petite verdot. The harvest and much of the work is still done by hand and, while Prats uses some modern tools, he strives for the old character – and knows it, for he has drunk of the 1870s.

The land is largely the same, a well-drained hill of pebbles and limestone, where most vines are now 30 years old, densely planted and forced to reach their roots deep for water.

The only explanation the chateau makes is in the glass, year after year, different and the same.

If the mystery seems out of reach, one of the great advantages of Tampa Bay life is the wine cellar at Bern’s Steak House, where old Bordeaux vintages are common and fairly priced. Its Cos collection goes back to 1937 and includes that fine ’93 at a bargain $99.

You could also teach yourself a lesson in patience by dropping $100 on a future from the 2003 Cos d’Estournel. Yes, the French summer was murderously hot and the crop was cut almost in half, but Prats says the remains have made a remarkably ripe wine. When it comes out next year, set it aside for another eight, at least.

Might as well buy two. You’ll probably open one too early.

– Chris Sherman, who writes about food and wine for the St. Petersburg Times, is the author of “The Buzz on Wine” Lebhar-Friedman Books, $16.95. He can be reached at (727) 893-8585 or [email protected]

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