I was recently taking a week off before I was going to start my new job and after all the traveling in the last months, I was determined to stay home and do pretty much nothing. Everything was going according to the plan until I got an email from BelgianWino asking if I was interested in joining my fellow foodblogger Kristof on a four day Bordeaux wine tasting adventure. I’m not much of a drinker in general but one beverage I definitely appreciate is wine. So hellz to the yes, sign me up (I guess I am just not meant to be doing nothing).
We visited Bordeaux in what is called ‘en primeur’ week. For those who are not familiar with the happening, it’s the time of the year where everybody rushes to Bordeaux châteaux to try the precious nectar of the year before. Unbottled. From the barrel.
Straight from the airport, we rushed to Château Pape Clément, one of the oldest documented histories of any estate in the region, where we were able to catch a glimpse of the characteristics of 2012 vintage by trying close to 50 wines (=heaven). Even though the Château Pape Clément wine is one of the best we have had, many of the less pricey wines we’ve tasted were really delightful and will definitely find their way back onto my table.
At night we hit the town to taste some of the Bordeaux sweetness (thank you Sweet Bordeaux), followed by a scrumptious dinner and bars many of them serving the 2012 vintage. It’s where we found out that our guide, Benoît-Emmanuel Trocard, is a wine maker himself and his gigantic bottles of wine can be found all around the city’s bars.
Friday morning started with a class at the L’Ecole du Vin de Bordeaux situated in the Bar à Vin (which has pretty much become our ‘local hangout’) where we learned more about the region, the grapes, the terroir and ended the class with a scent recognition exercise that we failed miserably.
My favorite part of the trip was a visit to Château de Fontenille owned and run by Stéphane Defraine – a Belgian wine maker living in the region. “Being a winemaker is a life, not a job”, said Stéphane who bought Château de Fontenille in 1989 and have dedicated his life to making it a success.
His Bordeaux wines (including his very special Magic 7 wine) were wonderful but it was the passion for what he does, his and his wife’s implausible hospitality (and maybe their three cats) that made it into an unforgettable experience.
After we worked hard helping with the process of bottling wine (ok, maybe not sooo hard), Stéphane gave us a fortaste of wine blending followed by a homemade feast prepared by his wife. While enjoying the fromage, pain and vin, we shared stories on our shared passions, food and wine.
On Saturday, the sun was shining and it was a perfect day for Printemps des vins de Blaye – food and wine festival in the Citadelle de Blaye! A full day of wine tasting, workshoppin’, boat trippin’ and enjoying spring (which let’s be honest, have made us wait for itself for-freaking-ever). But the best part of the day was wine blending workshop where we got to make our own wine, have it bottled, labeled with our own brand (woot woot for Princess Misia wine) and take it home!! Stay tuned as I might invite one of you for the grand opening (of the bottle).
Before leaving Bordeaux on Sunday afternoon, we strolled around this beautiful city and did what I love to do most when I’m travelling- visited a local market. There is just nothing better to get to know a local way of life and local produce than the local market.
À la prochaine,