Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Bordeaux Day Four



The morning of day 4 started with our team of intrepid wineslingers decamping from the bijoux B&B in St. Emilion. When I say ‘bijoux’, what I really mean is that while some of the team sauntered out of stately rooms, this blogger was unpacking stiff limbs from a bolt-hole reminiscent of one of those torture chambers where there is neither room to stand up or lie down. Anyway, after a reviving breakfast, we jumped in the Zafira and Ben took up his position between the two girls in the backseat where he could effect the most trouble.


First stop was at Pavie where we chewed our way t
hrough our second breakfast. Chateau Pavie is sure to please many and some of the cheapies were pleasant surprises but those in the middle were “a holy fright” as my Mum would say. The booming classical music in the barrel room wasn’t much better. Poor grapes…the punishment they must go through…


Next was a quick visit to Cheval Blanc where the Grand Vin galloped away with all the plaudits. Things were still quite sensible as we zipped in and out of Clos l’Eglise where Haut-Bergey particularly impressed as a value possibility. Monsieur Vaulthier presented another masterclass at Chateau Ausone with all five wines looking stellar at their respective levels. Fonbel does it again! The giant toilet-roll holder was still there but without
John Derrick and Willie this time around, the team managed to control themselves. In fact it was all still fairly low-key through lunch at out favourite cave in St Emilion and then the Garagiste tasting chez Jean-Luc Thunevin. La Dauphine and Valandraud were both superb and by and large the extraction had not gone intergalactic.


Things started to get a bit weird when we headed off to the St Emilion tasting at Chateau Larmande. In a wonderfully useless kind of way all the entrances were closed off and manned by strong, silent types (”He looks very cold…do you think I should give him my jumper?” - Ben), forcing us into many U-turns and voluminous back-seat advice. Eventually we found a way into some completely unrelated chateau, from whence a comedy Disney train chugged us from one car park to another. Well it would have been comedy if it hadn’t turned quite so arctic by this stage. Lucky Ben still had his jumper. The tasting was pretty positive with great efforts from Angelus, Larcis-Ducasse, Pavie Macquin, Figeac and Canon-la-Gaffeliere amongst others. Lots of fleshy black fruit with well managed tannins. Then it was back on with the Mickey Mouse ears and on to the train. Into the car in one piece but this experience had done its damage and sent everything sliding closer to ‘Fear and Loathing in the vines’. The driving was starting to get loose and Ben was intent on quizzing
Alice to see if she was picking anything up. “What’s that Chateau?” “Cheval Blanc!” “Lucky Alice, I was on the phone to Easyjet to get your ticket changed”.

La Conseillante ruled the Pomerol tasting and set us up for our final and quite delicious visits to Eglise Clinet, Vieux Chateau Certan and Le Pin. ‘Ronnie the Radar’ finally started working again and navigation became much easier on our way back to base camp. After a relaxing beer it was to dinner at L’Envers du Décor (to our mind the best restaurant in St Emilion) where ‘jumper over jacket count’ climbed rapidly from one to four and Alex cracked his second and third jokes of the year. Oh how we laughed…

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Burgundy wine
(French: Bourgogne or Vin de Bourgogne) is wine made in the Burgundy region in eastern France.[1] The most famous wines produced here - those commonly referred to as Burgundies - are red wines made from Pinot Noir grapes or white wines made from Chardonnay grapes. Red and white wines are also made from other grape varieties, such as Gamay and Aligoté respectively. Small amounts of rosé and sparkling wine are also produced in the region. Chardonnay-dominated Chablis and Gamay-dominated Beaujolais are formally part of Burgundy wine region, but wines from those subregions are usually referred to by their own names rather than as "Burgundy wines".

Burgundy has a higher number of Appellation d'origine contrôlées (AOCs) than any other French region, and is often seen as the most terroir-conscious of the French wine regions. The various Burgundy AOCs are classified from carefully delineated Grand Cru vineyards down to more non-specific regional appellations. The practice of delineating vineyards by their terroir in Burgundy go back to Medieval times, when various monasteries played a key role in developing the Burgundy wine industry. The appellations of Burgundy (not including Chablis).

Overview in the middle, the southern part to the left, and the northern part to the right. The Burgundy region runs from Auxerre in the north down to Mâcon in the south, or down to Lyon if the Beaujolais area is included as part of Burgundy. Chablis, a white wine made from Chardonnay grapes, is produced in the area around Auxerre. Other smaller appellations near to Chablis include Irancy, which produces red wines and Saint-Bris, which produces white wines from Sauvignon Blanc. Some way south of Chablis is the Côte d'Or, where Burgundy's most famous and most expensive wines originate, and where all Grand Cru vineyards of Burgundy (except for Chablis Grand Cru) are situated. The Côte d'Or itself is split into two parts: the Côte de Nuits which starts just south of Dijon and runs till Corgoloin, a few kilometers south of the town of Nuits-Saint-Georges, and the Côte de Beaune which starts at Ladoix and ends at Dezize-les-Maranges. The wine-growing part of this area in the heart of Burgundy is just 40 kilometres (25 mi) long, and in most places less than 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) wide. The area is made up of tiny villages surrounded by a combination of flat and sloped vineyards on the eastern side of a hilly region, providing some rain and weather shelter from the prevailing westerly winds. T

he best wines - from "Grand Cru" vineyards - of this region are usually grown from the middle and higher part of the slopes, where the vineyards have the most exposure to sunshine and the best drainage, while the "Premier Cru" come from a little less favourably exposed slopes. The relatively ordinary "Village" wines are produced from the flat territory nearer the villages. The Côte de Nuits contains 24 out of the 25 red Grand Cru appellations in Burgundy, while all of the region's white Grand Crus are located in the Côte de Beaune. This is explained by the presence of different soils, which favour Pinot Noir and Chardonnay respectively. Further south is the Côte Chalonnaise, where again a mix of mostly red and white wines are produced, although the appellations found here such as Mercurey, Rully and Givry are less well known than their counterparts in the Côte d'Or. Below the Côte Chalonnaise is the Mâconnais region, known for producing large quantities of easy-drinking and more affordable white wine. Further south again is the Beaujolais region, famous for fruity red wines made from Gamay. Burgundy experiences a continental climate characterized by very cold winters and hot summers. The weather is very unpredictable with rains, hail, and frost all possible around harvest time. Because of this climate, there is a lot of variation between vintages from Burgundy.
You can find more info at: http://www.burgundywinevarieties.com/

 

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