Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Bordeaux Wine Tour 2013 by ombiasy
Led by Annette Schiller, the Bordeaux Wine Tour 2013 by ombiasy took place from September 9 to 19, 2013. The group comprised 12 wine lovers from the United States, including Annette and Christian Schiller.
Day 1: Monday, September 9
Arrival in Bordeaux.
Check-in at Hotel La Tour Intendance in Bordeaux City.
03.00 pm Welcome drink and introduction to the Bordeaux wine region in the hotel.
04.15 pm Tour and tasting at Château Pape-Clément, Graves, Appellation Pessac-Léognan, Grand Cru Classé.
Planted with vines in the 13th century, the Château Pape-Clement is the oldest continuously operating wine estate in the entire Bordeaux region. Its name is derived from one of the heirs of the winery who later became Pope Clement V. and wrote history by moving the papacy to Avignon. Now Château Pape-Clement belongs to the wine imperium of Bernard Magrez, which now covers about 40 estates in Bordeaux and other parts of France as well as in the rest of the world.
Winemaker Arnaud Lasisz was our host.
07.15 pm Dinner at the Restaurant L’Estacade in Bordeaux City.
The restaurant is situated right on the water of the Garonne river and the view of the city of Bordeaux across the river is magical.
Day 2: Tuesday, September 10
11.00 am Tour and tasting at Château Angélus, Appellation Saint-Emilion, Premier Grand Cru Classé A.
Château Angélus is one of the only four (Angelus, Ausonne, Cheval Blanc, Pavie) wine producing estates classified as premier grand cru classé A in the Saint-Emilion appellation. It sits in the middle of a natural amphitheatre on the south-facing hillside of the famous footslope „pieds de côtes“, just half a mile from the village of Saint-Emilion. Château Angélus has been in the Boüard de Laforet family for seven generations.
Laurent Benoir was our host.
01.15 am Check in at Hotel Au Logis de Remparts, Saint-Emilion.
After settling in at the hotel, we had time to explore the narrow cobble stone streets of the spectacular medieval town of Saint-Emilion, perched on the edge of a plateau.
05.00 pm Tour, winetasting and dinner at Château Canon La Gaffelière, Appellation Saint-Emilion, Premier Grand Cru Classé.
Canon La Gaffelière belongs to one of the 15 Premier Grand Cru Classé B châteaux in Saint-Emilion. Proprietor Count Stephan von Neipperg is a descendant of a German noble line dating back to the Holy Roman Empire. Members of this dynasty always played important roles in European history and politics, and have been making wine since the 12th century. The family still owns a wine estate in the Württemberg region of Germany, where their roots are.
Count Stephan von Neipperg welcomed us.
Day 3: Wednesday, September 11
10.30 am Tour at Château Beauséjour, Appellation Puisseguin Saint-Emilion.
For centuries this château and château Langais have been in the possession of the Dupuy family. Gérard Dupuy, the current owner, could not be there, but his partner Claire (in life and business) showed us around. They have done extensive renovations of this old estate. Since 1947 Gérard’s father Alain has been convinced that the best wines stem from vineyards and cellars that are managed acroecologically, in harmony with the ecosystem. Since 1996 the Château is certified organic by “Ecocert”.
12.00 pm 3 course lunch with wine pairing in the newly renovated dining area at Château Beauséjour that served as the horse barn in the old days.
Gérard Dupuy’s mother and his sister joined us for the reception. Claire joined us for the reception and lunch, and guided us through the wine tasting.
03.15 pm Tour and tasting at Château de Figeac, Appellation Saint-Emilion, Premier Grand Cru Classé.
Château de Figeac is the second one of the 15 Premier Grand Cru Classé B châteaux in Saint-Emilion that we will visit. Its prominent neighbour is Château Cheval Blanc. Château de Figeac can look back on a turbulent and eventful history since its beginnings in the 12th century. Wine production started in the 17th century. In 1892 the Manoncourt family took over the Château, restored it to its former glory, and transformed the estate into one of the most elegant châteaux in Saint-Emilion.
Day 4: Thursday, September 12
09.00 am Walking sightseeing tour through the beautiful town of Saint-Emilion. We also visited the underground monuments and the monolith church hewn into the rock the town rests on.
11.15 am Tour of Château Le Bon Pasteur, Appellation Pomerol.
Pomerol is a tiny winegrowing region, located on the pilgrim road to Santiago de Compostela. Wine has been produced here since Roman times. Later the Knights of the Order of Malta cultivated the vines. In the Middle Ages, these knights established the Commanderie de Pomerol, which still exists today. Château Le Bon Pasteur was acquired by the Rolland family around 1920. The grandson of the original owner, Michel Rolland, well known around the world as “flying winemaker” and wine consultant, and his wife Dany, also an oenologist, created a model vineyard and produce outstanding wines.
12.45 pm 3 course luncheon with wine pairing at the Château.
Dany Rolland joined us for the lunch.
04.00 pm Tasting at Château Tertre-Rôteboeuf, Appellation Saint-Emilion.
This estate is located on a hill in Saint-Laurent de Combes with phantastic panoramic views of the vineyards in the Dordogne valley. We were welcomed by François Mitjavile, the owner of Château Tertre-Rôteboeuf. He is an exceptional winemaker, often unconventional in his views with regard to the mainstream wine scene in France. He is a maverick and refuses to take part in any classification system. His wines are brillant, unique and simply phenomenal. Since Robert Parker discovered these wines, prices very often exceed the prices of the wines from the premier grand cru classé estates.
François Mitjavile was our host.
08.00 pm Dinner at the restaurant Le Bouchon, Saint-Emilion. We had hoped that the weather would cooperate and that we would be able to enjoy dinner outside on the market place to soak in the spectacular architectural heritage and breathtaking atmosphere of illuminated Saint-Emilion. But it did not.
Day 5: Friday, September 13
10.45 am Tour and tasting at Château Climens, Appellation Barsac-Sauterne, Premier Grand Cru Classé. Château Climens was first mentioned in 1547.
Since then only five families called Climens their home, with the Lurton family being the last owner when Lucien Lurton bought the estate in 1971. In 1992 Bérénice Lurton, Lucien Lurton’s youngest daughter took over the reins at Château Climens. The estate sits on the highest point in the Barsac appellation and is surrounded by 75 acres of vineyard. The vineyard is entirely planted with Semillion - unusual for a Sauterne – which gives the Climens wines its racy complexity and freshness. Work in the vineyard is based on biodynamic principles and in 2011 Château Climens received the biodyvin certification.
Bérénice Lurton guided us through the tasting.
01.00 pm 3 course lunch with wine pairing at Restaurant Château de la Tour in Cadillac.
Catherine Boyer, proprietor of Château du Cros, and winemaker Julien Noel joined us for lunch and guided us through the tasting of their wines.
03.10 pm Winery tour at Château Du Cros, Vignobles M. Boyer in Loupiac.
After the luncheon we took a short drive to the château where the wines, we had for lunch, came from. The history of the Château du Cros began in 1196 at the beginning of the 300 years of English rule over Aquitaine when Richard Lionheart granted the property to Sir Boson Casau as a fief. Today the Boyer family passionately produces excellent wines: a rich dessert wine from 100 year old vines in the Loupiac appellation, a dry white wine in the Graves appellation and wonderful red wines.
After the winery tour we walked up to the old medieval castle on the hill from where we had a spectacular view overlooking the Garonne river, with Bordeaux in the distance to the north and the Landes region to the south.
We finished the visit with another tasting in the winery’s tasting room.
Day 6: Saturday, September 14
10.00 am 2 hour walking sightseeing tour through Bordeaux.
12.45 pm Tour of the warehouse, lecture, and 3 course luncheon with wine pairing at Millésima in Bordeaux City.
In Bordeaux the wine merchants have always played a decisive part in the wine world. The buying and selling of wine, the setting of a price of a bottle of wine from a specific chateau for a specific vintage, the entire conduct of business is described as „La Place de Bordeaux“. The wine trade in Bordeaux goes back many centuries to the time when Aquitaine was English. Since then, set rules that appear mysterious to the outsider, have been in place. We visited one of the prominent wine merchants “Millésima” and were introduced by Manuela Picot to the rules, regulations, and peculiarities of the “Place de Bordeaux“.
Following a tour through the impressive warehouse where millions of the most expensive wine bottles are stored and waiting to be shipped, we had a luncheon with wine pairing in the dining room at Millésima.
In the evening, some of us went to a concert.
Day 7: Sunday, September 15
09.30 am Since it was a Sunday, we did do as the French do: We went on an excursion to the country side and enjoyed a wonderful luncheon at the Basin d’Arcachon, the famous oyster harvesting bay.
11.15 pm Visit of the Earl Ostrea Chanca oyster farm and oyster tasting.
M. Doerfler is dedicated to his oysters and explained everything we wanted to know about oyster farming and the different kind of oysters.
12.45 pm Lunch at Pinasse Café, Cap Ferret with a gorgeous view over the bay, the oyster farms and the village of Arcachon and the Dunes de Pilat, the largest in Europe, in the distance. Many of us had a Plateau des Fruits de Mer.
On the way to Pauillac, we stopped at the beach.
05.30 pm Hotel Le Vignoble-France et Angleterre in Pauillac
07.30 pm Dinner at the restaurant La Salamandre in Pauillac.
Day 8: Monday, September 16
09.30 am Along the route to Saint-Julien we saw, among others, the famous tower of Château Latour, Château Pichon-Longueville, and Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande.
10.00 am Winery tour and tasting at Château Léoville Poyferré,
Appellation Saint-Julien, 2ième Grand Cru Classé. Léoville Poyferré exists as its own domain since 1840, when the big Léoville property was divided into smaller entities. The current owner, the Cuvelier family bought Château Léoville Poyferré in 1920. At that time the Cuvelier family was already established in the wine business as important wine merchants in northern France. Since 1979, Didier Cuvelier has managed the estate. Under his leadership, constant improvements have been undertaken, including a state of the art optical sorting machine in the cellar.
Anne Cuvelier was our guide.
During the tour, we bumped into Michel Rolland.
12.00 pm 4 course luncheon at Château Léoville Poyferré with wine pairing.
Didier and Anne Cuvelier joined us for the luncheon and lead us through a vertical tasting of the wines of Château Léoville Poyferré.
04.30 pm Tour and tasting at Château Pontet-Canet, Appellation Pauillac, 5ième Grand Cru Classé.
Château Pontet-Canet has the largest production (20,000 cases) of any classified growth. It is regarded as „super second“; the quality and prices of its wine is in the same league as the second growths, although it is a 5ième grand cru classé according to the classification from 1855. Château Pontet-Canet was established in the 18th century and since then ownership has only changed three times, the last time in 1975 when the château was bought by Guy Tesseron, from a well known Cognac producing and marketing family. Today Château Pontet-Canet is run by Alfred Tesseron and his niece Melanie, descendants of Guy Tesseron. In the vineyard is where the Tesserons probably have most made their mark in Bordeaux. Alfred Tesseron has spent the best part of the last 10 years converting to organic and biodynamic viticultural practices. Instead of fuel operated tractors, horses are used to cultivate the vines avoiding soil compacting and allowing for better root development. In 2010, Château Pontet-Canet became the first major Bordeaux wine producer to earn the official Agence Bio (AB) organic certification.
Alfred Tesseron joined us for the wine tasting.
Day 9: Tuesday, September 17
09.45 am Drive to Saint-Estèphe. Along the route we passed the famous Châteaux Mouton Rothschild and Lafite Rothschild as well as Cos d’Estournel.
10.00 am Tour and tasting at Château Lafon-Rochet, Appellation Saint-Estèphe, 4ième Grand Cru Classé.
This Château features some of the finest vineyards in the world. It is situated in the small appellation Saint-Estèphe and is sandwiched between two prominent neighbors: Cos-d’Estournel on the other side of the street and Lafite-Rothschild, separated only by a small dirt track, and visible across the vineyard that belongs to Lafon-Rochet. Since the 16th century this Château makes excellent wines and had been in the hands of the same family for almost 300 years when it was bought by Guy Tesseron about at the same time when he bought Pontet-Canet.
Winemaker Lucas Leclerc was our host. For the tasting, we were also joined by owner Basile Tesseron. Basile's father, Michel Tesseron, is the brother of Alfred Tesseron of Château Pontet-Canet.
12.10 pm Lunch menu at the restaurant Le Peyrat in Saint-Estèphe, right on the banks of the Gironde.
At the restaurant, we bumped into the Chateau Sociando-Mallet team, who also had lunch there.
01.30 pm Tour and tasting at Château Coufran, Appellation Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgois.
Château Coufran was bought in 1924 by Louis Miaihle, the grandfather of the current owners. Since 1793 the Miaihle family has been involved in wine; back then as well known wine brokers and more recently as wine producers. Due to the microclimate in the vineyards 85% of the grape varietals planted at the Château is Merlot, which makes the wines of Château Coufran unique in the Left Bank. The estate sits on a hill and from the vineyards you have a phantastic view over the Gironde estuary.
Frédéric Vicaire, co-owner, showed us around and guided us through the tasting.
04.00 pm Hotel Château Cordeillan-Bages, which belongs to Château Lynch-Bages. Time to relax, to savor the beautiful surroundings and amenities of this Relais and Chateaux hotel. We felt a bit what it is like to be a châteaux proprietor in the Médoc.
06.00 pm Visit and tasting at Château Lynch-Bages, Appellation Pauillac, 5ième Grand Cru Classé.
The history of the estate reflects the interesting history of English and French rule in Aquitaine. The original owners, the Lynch family from Ireland, could trace back their roots to an ancestor who was a companion of William the Conqueror. Without an heir, in 1824 the estate was sold and was in the hands of two other families before the Cazes family took over the property in 1933. Since then, the Cazes family has developed the estate with passion and tenacity and started an in-depth modernisation in the 1980s. They are committed to making the most of the terroir, and are devoted to attain the ultimate in quality and prestige of a classified growth.
The visit comprised a tour of the museum and of the winery, followed by a tasting. Jean-Charles Cazes, owner of Lynch-Bages, greeted us.
08.00 pm Menu du terroir at Café Lavinal in Bages.
Day 10: Wednesday, September 18
10.30 am Tour at Cooperage Berger and Fils, where we learned how a barrique is made. The tour was most interesting and we stayed much longer than planned and thus had to cut short our following visit.
Veronique Berger was our guide.
12.00 pm Tasting and light lunch at Château Brane-Cantenac, Appellation Margaux, 2ième Grand Cru Classé.
This estate was founded in the 18th century and was bought by the great-grandfather of the current owner, Henri Lurton, in 1925. The Lurton family is part of the grand wine dynasties in Bordeaux and plays an important role in the Bordelais (we already visited Château Climens, which belongs to Henri’s sister). The branched out family has wine producing properties in many different appellations in the Bordeaux region. Henri Lurton is oenologist and totally dedicated to producing the best possible wines while at the same time caring about respecting the environment. He built a state-of-the-art cellar according to environmental aspects that houses the fermentation tanks while the barrique cellar remains in the oldest part of the estate.
Corinne Conroy guided us though the tasting and joined us for a picnic lunch.
04.00 pm Grand Hotel de Bordeaux - time to relax, to reflect about all the phenomenal wines we had, and to enjoy this fantastic spa hotel.
07.30 pm Short tour of Château Haut-Bailly, Graves, Appellation Pessac-Léognan, Grand Cru Classé, followed by a 4 course wine pairing dinner in the private dining room of the Château.
At American-owned Château Haut-Bailly wine has been produced for more than 4 centuries and the quality of its wines has always been labeled as outstanding. Château Haut-Bailly is one of the 16 wine producers awarded with the Grand Cru Classé certification in the 1959 classification of the Graves estates. The château and its surroundings vineyards are beautiful, the wines and food are exquisite. It was a perfect setting for our farewell dinner.
Diana Paulin (from Arizona) was our charming host.
Day 11: Thursday, September 19
09.00 am Breakfast buffet at the hotel. This was our last activity together. After breakfast the tour ended.
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