Sunday, January 6, 2013


''The Flying Winemaker' and Michael Rolland Team Up for CAMPO ELISEO 

I have written much in the past about Francois Lurton and his ability to roam the globe in search of the perfect plot of land to create vineyards that, in time, have unbelievable results.
It is much like one looking for oil.
Francois Lurton has that ability in his DNA to create wines in areas that have had some, but, not much recognized success.
To reach his goal on one project, Francois Lurton teamed-up with Michael Rolland, a noted international oenologist and wine consultant. In essence, they are rivals that have the same goal in mind.
That goal is to find land and create a vineyard that will yield grapes that will produce wines that will be written about for years to come.
The team of Francois Lurton and Michael Rolland found a plot of land in the Toro region of northwest Spain, which satisfied their curiosity. It was the perfect location for this project.
Michael Rolland explained that he wanted to make wines with Francois in an area where he had some prior experience. “Francois and I wanted to make wine in a hot region, so, Toro, near the Douro river was a perfect answer.”
Michael Rolland had visited the Toro region twenty years prior and the wines he sampled were really dreadful. Even with awful wines, what Michael saw was true ‘potential’ in the region. With Francois’ help, they had an opportunity to create fantastic wines.
The region received its DO (Denomination of Origin) in 1987.
The project started in 2000.
Together, they decided to plant the Tinto de Toro grape, a variant of Tempranillo, to produce a truly 100% Tinto de Toro. They called the wine Campo Eliseo like “Champs Elysées.”
The land (vineyard) was close to the Douro river, which was perfect for drainage. In addition, the terroir and warm weather conditions helped mold their decision to create complex wines.
The team of Francois Lurton and Michael Rolland produced their first vintage of Campo Eliseo in 2001. The last released vintage is 2009.
The two recently were in our country to show off their wines from Campo Eliseo. They want us to see what progress they have made since the original plantings in 2000.
In essence, the tasting of their wines is a culmination of twelve years of work.
They are showing the vintage progression from the original vintage to the present release. In layman’s terms, they are giving us the privilege to taste the wines of Campo Eliseo in what is called a ‘Vertical Tasting’.
The results were quite spectacular.
The consistency of the wines showed us the obvious characteristics of the Tinto de Toro grape and how this pair turned their plot in Toro into a quality, world-class product.
All vintages showed oak, dark fruit and spice.
My favorite vintage was the 2004, followed by the 2006.
Presently the 2009 is available for purchase with random stores selling past vintages.
The team of Francois Lurton and Michel Rolland have achieved true success with the wines of Campo Eliseo.
As a side note: If you can not find Campo Eliseo at your favorite wine shop, simply ask the store owner to bring the Campo Eliseo in, or look for other wines from Francois Lurton. He currently has vineyards in Chile, Argentina, France and Portugal.
That is why they call him ‘The Flying Winemaker’.

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