Thoughts from Days Past as the Future Begins

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This blog is authored by a middle-aged man with more than 25 years of his professional life dedicated to the wine industry….in 1999 I opened a boutique wine shop after deciding my life’s passion had brought me to that point…now, as of 2009, I’m re-writing my entire plan, refocusing all my energy and  inviting those interested to come along on the next stage of this voyage…what are my credentials?  below you’ll find a few:

My history…(this was the original “About Us” page, first penned to offer our readers some insight to the original location’s offers)

I’m posting these old thoughts here today so they become a part of our archives…a new and revitalized Philosophy Page launches this afternoon…

The year was 1984. Our “unabashed Francophile” leader – as he has been described by the local wine writers here in Houston – was just beginning his career in the wine business working in one of the more upscale dining establishments in the Dallas area – Riviera. Christopher Massie found himself under the wing of owner Franco Bertolasi at times, and by the end of one short year, had encountered tastings that included1982 First Growth Bordeaux, multiple vintages of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and verticals of Ramonet White Burgundies. Yes, the 1980s were a great time to be in the wine business and Christopher was indeed in a great place to cut his professional teeth.

In 1988, Christopher attended one of the most important tastings of his career. This one tasting would shape his palate and guide his path more than any other he had yet been a part of. The wines being poured were all imported by Kermit Lynch and the speaker was the national sales manager at that time for this famous French Import Company. To listen to Christopher talk about that tasting – even today – will convince you of his dedication to artisanal, hand-crafted, estate bottled, naturally produced French wines. ESPECIALLY Burgundies!

Another moment in time came when Christopher was working retail for one of the giants of the industry – also in the Dallas area – and met the national representative for Vineyard Brands. At that time, in the very early 1990s, VB represented the absolute best of Burgundy. With a little help, Christopher was off to Burgundy for a two week meeting with folks such as Thierry Matrot, Mongeard-Mugneret and the late Monsieur Gouges to name but a few. Christopher would return to Burgundy nearly a dozen times more after that trip, sealing his love for this region and further developing his expertise for its wines. Visits to the cellars at DRC, Dujac, D’Angerville and more than 3 dozen others over multiple vintages honed his skills for understanding the differences in these terroirs and the subtleties of vintages.

By the mid 1990s, Christopher had established a relationship with David Hinkle of North Berkeley as well. Further visits with the finest names of Burgundy as represented by this firm simply cemented a life’s love and work. Magnien, Arlaud, Raphet, the names read like a who’s-who of Burgundy. Naturally, we’re about so much more than just Burgundy. Christopher’s passion for the best also includes the greatest wines of the Rhone Valley, Italy and Spain. Not to mention the work we’re doing up and down the coast in California with some of the best names in Pinot Noir, Rhone Varietals and Chardonnay. Bordeaux? You’ll notice we dabble in the “futures” market, too. Have been – very quietly – since the late 1990s.

So, why would you want to buy from us?

We think it’s clear. We handle some pretty exclusive stuff. The wineries and importers that we choose to work with are ones that Christopher has built a relationship with over many years.  If reviews from the most prominent wine critics on the planet are important to you, if they guide your initial decision making process, feel very comfortable. More than 90% of our hand selected wines have been, for several vintages, very well received by names such as Robert Parker, Allen Meadows; AKA Burghound, Steve Tanzer and other prominent wine writers. And while we do not necessarily seek out critical acclaim, we feel proud to let you know that it has been bestowed on the products we offer to our discerning clients.

When you purchase your wines from CEPAGE NOIR you will be completely guaranteed that we have taken great care to taste, research and fully discover each and every one .

We also think you’ll enjoy the fact that we regularly pull corks on these amazing specimens for the pleasure of experiencing the wines with our collectors and clients. We literally open between 3 and 5 cases of wine every month as we monitor the wine’s development and ageing curves. We consider ourselves experts here and experts are continually learning. We invite you to learn with us as we go along…

After nearly 25 years in this business, Christopher Massie opened the original Christopher’s Wine Warehouse in 1999 to bring all of this and so much more to the serious wine buying community of Houston and the Texas market.

In response to ever-increasing demands from the local and expanding markets, we launched a unique and highly effective approach to purchasing these fine wines to further enhance our services.  With our new approach firmly in place, we re-named our operation, selecting the name Cepage Noir Wine Co., to indicate our passion for the great Pinots and blended wines from around the globe. Cepage Noir Wine Co. now sells some of the most famous names of the wine world direct to the consumer at prices that are below retail, below those prices that even the “big boys” of retail are offering!  We now buy direct from the source and drastically reduce the percentage once demanded by the middle men.  Cepage Noir Wine Co.  is geared to offer the consumer absolutely untouchable prices for the most sought after wines of our time.

As with every item we select, as we have been from the beginning, we remain:

Dedicated to the discovery and enjoyment of the world’s finest wines.