Every year when the leaves of the vines begin to rustle under the onslaught of the harvesting machine and, that clusters secateurs to cut through the pickers fall heavily in hoods, I take my backpack and I'll take a first contact with the future vintage.
On foot As usual, I travel according to my fancy, the Bordeaux vineyard.
This year, I was accompanied by a friend with whom I share many things and especially the taste of wine.
We joined our Sunday evenings starting point to be at work for departure at 8:30 am Monday.
I'm lucky to have a friend, a real, sincere and generous, who just made on his property, six lovely guest rooms where comfort can compete with the big hotels. very wide beds, larger than a grape harvesting machine and cozy as a bird's nest. Added to this happiness, a spacious bathroom and practice. Large shower where one can make two movements easing.
For lunch, Bernard had prepared a veal chops square and some fries : happiness.
By discretion and intelligence, Bernard had we intend to drink as "Condrieu". We had to insist finally taste "Mayne Lalande 2007 "That was a revelation for us. The balance and the charm of this wine has dazzled us.
obviously, we discussed at length and discussed this vintage will perhaps save some bankruptcy winemakers.
It's almost one o'clock in the morning, that "friend Bernard" told us he had to get up at 4:00 am for his first harvest day because he said and, I give him reason, must with this hot weather, pick the grapes at the "fresh".
Monday : temperature 27 °
In the morning, we start at 8:30 am. Bernard is already at work for more than 4 All through the year, you can taste a lamb shoulder cooked slowly and the 7 hours leg lamb. His eyes light up and his mischievous smile by way of greeting "whore it's beautiful".
We let its juices to its anthocyanins, its beautiful bunches and its hilarity.
Mayne-Lalande is on the edge of the moor and the large trees do not bear overshadow this vine crowned as the parade.
Roses top Rege is dapper and our journey starts under good auspices.
We follow a small Esteys where Bernard once fished crayfish, then we go back to Fonréaud , the vineyard is beautiful on the plate and, Patrice, my companion is happy to share this moment of pure happiness.
We stop near a vegetable garden and compare the maturity of tomatoes.
I got a little wrong path, we must then go up the road a few minutes ; moments of anxiety and discomfort, because cars pass us sharp allure, the laborious France goes to work mines and sullen wonder what these 2 cons morning walk on this road ?
We arrive at Moulis in front of the church. The "supermarket" Catherine is welcoming ; quick coffee and steering castle Brillette, a wine map of La Tupina.
The team is in place and the young owner is delighted to see us. He is amazed to know that we will walk for three days on the Bordeaux vineyard.
To the right, a small road to the mill of "Tiquetorte". This quaint mill gives us a bit of freshness. The sun is already high and encourages us to force the pace.
Citran The castle is a jewel in a green setting. Antoine Merlot received us, calm as usual. He showed us the family property.
The few barrels mills that we see here and there, remind us that the Médoc was once the breadbasket of the region.
We pass the very castle Paveil de Luze and we decide to go in full vineyard between two rows : it is magical. Passing in the middle of the vineyard, I told Patrice, the number of plants per hectare is important and even critical for the quality.
Top rank, we see in the distance two men idly watching this happen, we see a little vindictive,
The conversation begins. " What are you doing ? We walk, we look, What we walk ! in the vineyard, said the older ? Yes in the vineyard, the harvest look beautiful. It's a little tense. But my eye amused by this control a little dumbfounded that the owner finally told me, "but you are not the owner of restaurant « La Tupina » ? That's it, I discovered and the ice is broken, uncross your arms and you shake hands.
Margaux direction through the vineyards with the safe conduct of Mr de Luze, that monitors his own vine
My name is Philippe Delfaut with whom we have lunch. But unfortunately the friend "Barbier" Lion d'Or is closed on Monday.
We land at the Relais de Margaux, Quick and friendly meals every three.
Then a big car ride over the vineyards of Margaux, to finish off the tray Margaux, masterfully throne where the mausoleum of Pope Alexis Lichine.
Latest Petit Verdot Kirwan leave the vat. In the vineyard the last crates are already on the table of the first tri. Each grain is controlled and, what happens in the winery is beautiful. At this stage of classification (Kirwan 3 th cru) we can not afford to make about.
new sorting, vibrating table 10 People on each side, the juice is already greedy. This will be a very good year.
Tour of the property and cellars, the reception room and shop, wine tourism is being established.
I ask Philippe to go on the set of Angludet. This majestic property a bit away, then you have to go see the friend Laurent Vonderheden, unfortunately just left. Pity, I would have liked to greet him and taste his "Monbrison" another discreet jewel of the appellation.
Back to "Mayne Lalande" a bit exhausted where we find the friend Bernard Lartigue sweaty but happy.
We give you an appointment in the evening at 20:00 at "Café Lavinal" in Jean-Michel and Jean-Charles Cazes.
quick visit to "Ducru Beaucaillou", Bruno Borie damage is not within its walls. More, the grape is there and these odors.
We arrive at "Cordeillan-Bages" around 18:30. Our rooms are great. In fact, this are suites (we were upgraded).
Trip to the pool with my disposable swimsuits : relaxation and the last rays of sun playing in the leaves of fig trees.
Sadly, it is still Monday and the restaurant is closed. I would have liked to taste the cuisine of friend Thierry, tant pis, for another time…
We go to the "Café Lavinal" in the hamlet of Bages, where Jean-Michel and Jean-Charles Cazes are present. Coincidence or just some friendly remnants still exist after so many years.
I love Jean-Charles. This boy is not only very friendly, but his intelligence and patience make him, I have no doubt about it, another "Cazes' important player in the Bordeaux vineyards.
This restored hamlet certainly needs patina, but it should be an example to some other owners that invest abroad and leaves die villages with prestigious names. "Come gentlemen, wake up, it is in your future and that of your children ". "You want to develop wine tourism then, follow the example of "Cazes".
Dinner Bernard Lartigue company that I find a little tired. The "Café Lavinal" is a pretty place and the chef did his best to serve tasty pub food.
Mardi : temperature 25 °
Forced to get up at 6:40. The breakfast service is a little disappointed. We need from the other side of the estuary.
Have you seen this magical river at sunrise when the ferry leaves Lamarque and across gently out this record of fire ?
The river ablaze and a time is half copper and half steel color. It is absolutely beautiful. Too bad we can not go on deck, because keep you well ? for safety reasons access is prohibited.
So, we suffer the conversations of workers from the other side that they usually this show and who speak colleagues who must "have ears whistling".
We park the car on car park of maritime fairways. We drink a coffee and we'll say hello to Jean Lissague the store of "Côtes de Blaye" (to make your wine purchases at the same price as the property).
Start walking in the vineyard. We meet the first harvesting machines and finally we notice that the result is not bad.
We climb up to the ridge that gently starts at the foot of the "castle Barbe". The friend Xavier Carreau is not there but his employees are already at work in the winery. Pity, I would have liked to say a word and cross your pretty eyes of Madame Carreau.
This place of the vineyards of Blaye is for me one of the prettiest. On the left the church steeple of Cars and right vineyards clinging to these hills and below, the Gironde. The light is beautiful in September and the landscape amazes my friend Patrice : "It's beautiful," he said.
I am the vine through a route that I have repeatedly used to when I left running since the "Belle Etoile" to Bourg Saint Androny to market.
Other times other pleasures.
We reach "Plassac", small cafe and visit the site near the church. We then climb up to the "Fishermen's Virgin" and there, the view over the vineyards and the estuary is breathtaking.
We walk quietly until "Roc de Thau" but the sun rises in the sky and we heated head. It's 11:30 ET we have an appointment with Jean Lissague 13:00 Bourg.
For it, I commandeered a car and its occupants who cooed on a bench watching the beautiful estuary.
We arrive at the restaurant right on time crimson sun and died of thirst.
We hit the road by car, not without a bit Patrice charge bottle of Côtes de Blaye.
I fall asleep in the car. We reach "Fronsac" by making a detour to the "port of Asque".
The "castle of Carles", everyone is at his post. But the expected time of departure. for here, gentlemen, we do not wine, This is the "high sewing". Everything is calculated to the millimeter and ultra modern winery is also shining a US years 50.
We visit and buy some bottles. The castle is majestic and this property produces the great "Fronsac" is certainly as good as a Grand Cru Saint Emilion. Besides, our friend "Parker" did not make a mistake.
The city tour is always a pleasure. What chance do we have to live in a beautiful area.
We have an appointment with Muriel Thunevin who is kind enough to accommodate us. No ostentatious luxury, displayed or wealth but comfort, space and beautiful materials. What we can do best in the spare style and strict : the dream.
The rendezvous for dinner is at 7:15 am. We have to reach the house of Thunevin in Saint-Emilion where there, we go join his friends who celebrate the Saint Michel.
Very nice, relaxed, warm, friendly. The biggest names in Saint-Emilion are present at least, those with.
We leave for dinner. Muriel prepared a meal as she has the secret. Simple, tasty and fragrant. Judge for yourself, tourin tomato, sublime, gratons absolutely exquisite and a rabbit with morels that would cry my grandmother.
I can not tell you the wine because it is almost indecent to work so late and having to taste and compare what is being done more beautiful on this terroir of Saint Emilion.
The friend Jean-Luc always as generous, very playful and simple without cheating, or interest. He opens his heart and soul.
Thank you my good friends.
The next forced to leave and to leave this beautiful house. Nicolas is not there but we see that the equipment is ready.
We join up "Pavia Macquin" by way pretty hillside.
We climb this beautiful rump with a light step and get to the castle Troplong Mondot. In the office, where two young women friendly welcome me, I ask to see "the beautiful Christine".
The beautiful Christine arrives at a run. She embodies the beauty and elegance of the vineyard.
We visit the winery that looks like an art gallery in New York. What refinement and what intelligence.
Wine is a key for me to travel and to dream. We are in paradise, anyway, children of a kindergarten listening wisely the operations manager.
We leave full of joy and confident for the future.
We go on tiptoe to "Tertre Roteboeuf" not to disturb lunch François.
We go back to the caves Ferrand, the historical enigma of Saint-Emilion.
Then we join Christophe Château near the Church of St. Hyppolite go for a bite at Philippe Carille the "Castle Poupille".
Atmosphere of harvest : the troupe is to table, lunch is on Spanish time and the cook makes prowess. Congratulations to the family Carille, bravo for this famous "Poupille" that Japanese compare to "Petrus" and especially Congratulations to the lovely Philippe woman who has the patience to endure her husband's friends.
Back to Bordeaux with images of smells and tastes.
A s you say about the three-day ride in the world's most beautiful vineyard, in this Garden of Eden, where each piece is worked, graven, monitored, cajoled by man.
What to say about these harvests that some already qualify century vintage.
What say you of all these winegrowers, but unanimously today to say that the wine was first made in the vineyard so that for years they were in the tub playing the sorcerer's apprentice for the supreme distinction : good our "Parker".
today harvest 2009, the grape is beautiful, but between those who vendangent to 5 am for having the freshest grapes, those who pick up in small crates and those already sorted in the vineyard, those who plucked the 2 sides and have some clusters some brulées, those leafless than a single side, those who have 8000 vines per hectare on fine soils or those Graves 5000 vines per hectare on clay and sandy soils, those who like to "Troplong Mondot" that tore 4 hectares for land, this poor land who are asked too, regenerate and can regain all his ardor, bios who took the bandwagon to position commercially and, even some that make the "biodynamic" as if to ask forgiveness for this land require maximum.
No grower is similar and even the great appellations options different.
Undoubtedly Bordeaux wines are far better than all New World wines and the prices of "small Bordeaux" are very accessible.
But again, although it is said that this vintage is exceptional, we must try and compare to find what is expected : a good wine .