Famed Professor of Bordeaux Dies
Another big name in wine has passed. In February of this year, we lost Peter Mondavi, Sr. — one of the pioneers of California’s now-booming, world-renowned Napa Valley wine industry. This time, we lost a legend from Bordeaux.
Famed professor of oenology and winemaker Dennis Dubourdieu passed last July 26, following a protracted battle with brain cancer. He was 67 years old.
Known for being a pioneer in the Bordeaux and global winemaking industry, Dubourdieu published more than 200 research papers on oenology. He also taught some of the world’s leading wine experts and founded a prestigious wine research and education institution. He was also a consultant some of the best Bordeaux wine estates, and even produced wine at his own estates.
He is simply a wine giant who has left a remarkable legacy in the world of wine, to which many wine enthusiasts will forever be grateful.
The Legacy of Dennis Dubourdieu
Born into a winemaking family in Barsac in 1949, Dennis Dubourdieu spent most of his life pioneering modern winemaking. He was a French winemaker and professor of oenology at the University of Bordeaux.
Before he became a teacher, Dubourdieu studied agronomy and economics in Montpellier. He followed that with a master’s degree in oenology at the University that would later be the home of his teaching career.
Dubourdieu completed his doctoral thesis on ‘the molecular structure of botrytized grapes’, in 1978. Four years later, he finished a second thesis on ‘the filtering and fining of botrytized wines.’
He became a professor at the University of Bordeaux in 1987. Throughout his tenure, he mentored about two generations of future winemakers, wine researchers, and wine enthusiasts, earning the moniker, “professor of Bordeaux.” In 2009, he presided as director for the Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences in Bordeaux.
The Pope of White Wine
Called by many as one of the world’s most famous wine scientists, Dubourdie specialised in winemaking processes for white wines. He researched on white wine aging and vinification, which helped in the development of today’s white wine. His new processes added more freshness and purity to the wine as well.
Dennis Dubourdieu was also a successful vigneron, having several wine estates in Bordeaux. The main property was Doisy-Daene, which was passed on to him from his father in 2000. There he produced his famous rapier-styled dry white. Dubourdieu would go on to produce a great many varietals of red and white wine, including Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Throughout his long career as a winemaker, Dubourdieu managed more than 300 acres of vines, and produced many wines at his estates. The list includes Doisy-Daene, Clos Floridene, and Chateau Reynon where he lived with his wife, Florence.
Rest in Peace, Professor
Most may never be aware of it, but wine lovers all over the world have benefited from Dubourdieu’s work. He will be missed.