Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bordeaux Wine Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France

Pictures: Lunch at Château Pichon-Longueville-Baron, Appellation Pauillac, 2ième Grand Cru Classé

Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2016), France - Overview

Led by Annette Schiller, the Bordeaux Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours took place from September 6 to 15, 2016. The group comprised 14 wine lovers from the United States and Switzerland, including Annette and Christian Schiller. This posting provides an overview. Future postings will focus on specific events of the tour. See the list of postings at the end of the article.

Annette Schiller: Our way of traveling allows wine lovers to fully experience authentic Bordeaux. "Bordeaux" embodies not only "wine": The interplay of wine and food is very important. Therefore our tour has a strong culinary component, with exquisite wine pairing lunches and dinners at the Châteaux playing a daily part of our journey through the Bordeaux wine region. Drawing on our love and deep knowledge of the region and close personal ties to many of the Château owners/ managers/ winemakers, our small group visits many of the hidden gems that other tours pass by, but which are essential to feel what Bordeaux is all about. In a nutshell: this is an on ground wine class on Bordeaux!

Day 1: Tuesday, September 06

Arrival in Bordeaux, check-in at Hotel La Tour Intendance

Hotel La Tour Intendance in Bordeaux, a 3plus star, is an exquisite, very stylish boutique hotel tucked into a quiet corner of the center of Bordeaux.

02.00 pm Welcome coffee and introduction to the Bordeaux wine region in the hotel

03.45 pm At Millésima in Bordeaux: Tour of the warehouse and wine tasting with cheese pairing

We visited a Bordeaux lover’s paradise, the prominent wine merchant “Millésima” where over two million bottles of top Bordeaux wines are stored and waiting to be shipped. A stroll through the vast storage rooms feels like being a kid in a candy store. We were introduced to the rules, regulations, and peculiarities of the “Place de Bordeaux“ and the “en primeur” system.

This was a fitting introduction to “Bordeaux”. 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.

The tour ended with a formal tasting of 4 wines with cheese pairing.

Manuela Picot was our host.

05.30 pm Winery tour and tasting at Domaine de Chevalier, Graves, Appellation Pessac-Léognan, Grand Cru Classé

This estate dates back to the 18th century and is located in Léognan, the capital of the Graves region. The first grapes were planted by a man who was a chivaley, the old Gascon word for knight. Later the modern French word “Chevalier” was used for the estate, the old name “Domaine” instead of the word “Chateau” to describe a wine making estate has never been abandoned. Like Château Pape-Clément, Domaine de Chevalier is also classified for its red and white wines. In 1983 Domaine de Chevalier was bought by the Bernard family, producers of Cognac and major Bordeaux wine merchants. The estate comprises about 200 acres with 110 under vine. 13 acres are planted with white grapes (Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion) and the rest with the classic Bordeaux blend varietals.

Adrien Bernard, the son of the current owner, Olivier Bertrand, was our host.

07.45 pm Dinner with wine pairing at restaurant L’Estacade in Bordeaux

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: Wednesday, September 07

10.00 am Winery tour and tasting at Château Canon La Gaffelière, Appellation Saint-Emilion, Premier Grand Cru Classé B

Canon La Gaffelière is one of the only 15 Premier Grand Cru Classé B châteaux in Saint-Emilion. In Saint-Emilion the classification is revisited every 10 years – contrary to the Bordeaux Left Bank, where the classification of 1855 is set in stone. We happened to be with Count von Neipperg at the Château when in 2012 Canon La Gaffelière was promoted to the Premier Grand Cru Classé status. Proprietor Count Stephan von Neipperg is a descendant of an Austrian / 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 highly regarded wine estate in the Württemberg region of Germany, where their roots are. On the 2015 Germany Wine Tour by ombiasy WineTours we visited the historic von Neipperg estate in Schwaigen.

Magali Malet was our host.

12.30 pm Winery tour at Château Beauséjour, Appellation Puisseguin Saint-Emilion

This visit took us to one of the 30,000 non-classified châteaux in the Bordeaux region that produce 95% of Bordeaux wines. We met a passionate, gifted winemaker who makes beautiful wines, and is following biodynamic principles. For centuries this Château and Château Langais have been in the possession of the Dupuy family.

Gérard Dupuy, owner and winemaker, showed us around.

01.30 pm Wine pairing lunch at Château Beauséjour, Appellation Puisseguin Saint-Emilion

We enjoyed a wonderful 3 course luncheon matched with the wines of Château Beauséjour in the newly renovated dining area at the château that served as the horse barn in the old days. The lunch was prepared by an old frined of Gérard Dupuis, who used to run a fine restaurant in the area and is now doing catering.

Gérard Dupuis, owner and winemaker, joined us for lunch.

04.00 pm Winery tour and tasting at Château de Figeac, Appellation Saint-Emilion, Premier Grand Cru Classé

Château de Figeac is one of the 15 Premier Grand Cru Classé B châteaux in Saint-Emilion. Its prominent neighbor is Château Cheval Blanc. The vineyards of Château de Figeac border the Pomerol appellation vineyards and thus the vines grow on a very different terroir than the rest of the Saint-Emilion vines. The Figeac wines show a more “Left Bank” character than the rest of the Saint-Emilion wines. 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.

Gwennaelle Brieu was our host.

We also had a chance to talk with Figeac's Director Frédéric Faye about the 2016 harvest.

05.45 pm Check-in at hotel Au Logis des Remparts in Saint-Emilion

Au Logis des Remparts in Saint-Emilion is a very charming, well tended historic 3plus star, upscale boutique hotel in the heart of UNESCO world heritage wine town Saint-Emilion with a stunning garden, beautiful views on the vineyards and a gorgeous outdoor pool.

Before the nocturnal walking tour, some of us took a swim at the hotel's outdoor pool.

09.00 pm Nocturnal walking tour through Saint-Emilion

A guide led us on a very special nocturnal walking tour through the romantic, spectacular medieval town of Saint-Emilion perched on the edge of a plateau. We also visited the underground monuments and the unique monolith church hewn into the rock the town rests on. Saint-Emilion is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Some of us finished the day with a bottle of Saint Emilion at L'Envers du Décor, my favorite wine bar in Saint Emilion.

Day 3: Thursday, September 08

09.30 am Winery tour and tasting at Château Beauregard, Appellation Pomerol

Pomerol is a tiny winegrowing region (1800 acres), 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 Beauregard is the only “real” château in Pomerol, tracing its beginnings to the 11th century. From 1677 until 1991 it belonged to the Beauregard family, who sold it to the Credit Foncier Bank. In July 2014, Château Beauregard was sold to a partnerhip between the Moulin Family, the owners of the large, French chain of Galerie Lafayette stores and the Cathiard Family, the owners of Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte.

Roxane Gomez was our host.

We also met Guillaume Fredoux, the Technical Director of Château Beauregard.

11.45 am Winery tour at Château Le Bon Pasteur, Appellation Pomerol

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, a highly regarded oenologist in her own right created a model vineyard and produce outstanding wines.The Rolland family recently sold the winery to a Chinese investor.

Dany Rolland and Benoit Prevot, General Manager and Winemaker, were our hosts.

12.45 pm Lunch with wine pairing at Château Le Bon Pasteur 

We enjoyed an exceptionally fine lunch with the wines of Michel and Dany Roland. We started the lunch in the garden with an aperitive and then moved to the dining foom for a 3-course luncheon and 6 wines.

Dany Rolland and Benoit Prevot, General Manager and Winemaker, joined us for lunch.

05.30 pm Tasting were it all started: At the garage winery of Jean-Luc Thunevin, owner and winermaker of Château Valandraud

Jean-Luc Thunevin is closely associated with the "garagiste" movement. In 1995, Château Valandraud was given a better rating by Robert Parker than Château Pétrus. In 2013 , Château Valandraud was promoted to Premier Grand Cru Classé in the 2012 Classification of Saint-Emilion wine. The vineyard area currently extends 4.5 hectares. The annual production of the Grand Vin is typically 15,000 to 20,000 bottles.

Other labels produced by Jean Luc Thunevin include the Virginie de Valandraud, 3 de Valandraud and Bad Boy.

Nicolas Seveno led the tasting.

7:00 pm Dinner at Chai Pascal

Chai Pacal is one of my favorite wine bars in Saint Emilion.

Day 4: Friday, September 09

10.30 am Winery tour and tasting at Château de Fargues, Appellation Sauternes

The story of Château de Fargues in 1306 when a nephew of Pope Clement V, Cardinal Raymond Guilheim de Fargues bought the property and built a fortress with solid walls and rough stones not at all resembling what we imagine of a “Château”. For more than 500 years, the estate is in the same hands since it had been acquired through marriage by the Lur-Saluces family, a powerful aristocratic family of Southern France, who also owned Château Coutet and Château d’Yquem, among others, until the end of the 20th century. Château de Fargues is a very large estate of mixed farming with 425 acres of land: 250 acres of woods, a system of artificial ponds, a breeding area, cattle pastures, about 65 acres of arable crops and 62 acres under vine. However, producing a “Sauternes” only started in the late thirties of the 20th century when the father of the current owner Marquis Bertrand de Lur-Saluces converted 25 acres of vineyards from red varieties to Semillion and Sauvignon-Blanc. Alexandre de Lur- Saluces continued the work of his father and today 42 acres are planted with white varieties. The vineyards are farmed with respect to the soil; there is no use of herbicides, as fertilizer the cow manure is used instead.

Our host was Prince Eudes d’Orléans, 3rd in line of the throne, should a monarchy be reinstituted in France, who is the Managing Director at Château de Fargues.

12.45 pm Three course lunch at 1-star Michelin restaurant Claude Darroze with matching wines from Châteaux de Chantegrive, Grave

The restaurant is an ancient stage coach stop in the center of a typical French very laid back country village in the heart of vineyard country Sauternes and Graves. The cuisine of Claude Darroze concentrates on the traditions of France’s South-West region with a sophisticated twist, and every single bite is a culinary delight.

Marie-Hélène Lévêque, owner of Châteaux Chantegrive, joined us for the luncheon and we had her wines paired with the dishes.

03.30 pm Winery tour at Château de Chantegrive, Appellation Grave

Following the luncheon, Marie-Hélène Lévêque showed us her winery. We also met Arnaud Dubois, the Technical Director of Château de Chantegrive.

Château de Chantegrive is a large estate with 220 acres under vine on an exceptional terroir of gravel terraces. It produce both red and white Grave wines which are highly regarded by wine critics world-wide. Château de Chantegrive is member of the ‘Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux’, the Association of Premium Châteaux of about 140 members. This is a relatively young estate compared with the history of most wine estates in the region. Henri & Françoise Lévêque loved wine and were strong believers of the potential of the terroir in the Grave region, which convinced them to sell their superb stamp collection to acquire their first two hectares in 1966. 50 years later and some 220 acres further, their children have taken over. Marie Hélène Lévêque carries on the work of her parents with a dynamic passion alongside her mother, brothers, and sisters. In 2006 the Lévêque family called upon the services of Hubert de Boüard, owner of the famous Château Angelus, to act as consultant oenologist entrusted with the mission of taking the quality of Chantegrive wines even further.

06.30 pm Check in at Grand Hôtel François in Bordeaux

Grand Hôtel Français in Bordeaux is a refinded lodging in an 18th century mansion right in the center of old town Bordeaux, in walking distance to all interesting places with highly comfortable rooms. This hotel is part of the Best Western group.

Annette and I visited 2 of my favorite Bordeaux wine bars, with other group members: Wine More Time and Le Wine Bar.

Day 5: Saturday, September 10

10.30 pm Winery tour and tasting at Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Appellation Pessac-Léognan, Grand Cru Classé

The noble Bosq family started growing grapes here as early as 1365. The property was purchased in the 18th century by Scotsman George Smith, who gave the estate its present name. He also built the manor house and exported his – by now famous – wine to England on his own ships. Current owners are Florence and Daniel Cathiard. Both Florence and Daniel were professional skiers belonging to the French Olympic ski team in the mid 60s (with triple gold medal legend at the 1968 Winter Olympics Jean-Claude Killy). After their career in sports, Daniel built a supermarket and sporting goods store imperium and Florence an advertising agency. In 1990 they bought Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte with the wealth generated by the sale of all their assets. Daniel and Florence Cathiard invested heavily, restored buildings, replaced vats, constructed a new barrel cellar, converted vineyard practices to sustainable farming and paid detailed attention to hand picking, sorting, and practices in the cellar. They brought the quality of Smith-Haut-Lafitte wines to the level for which they were once renowned.

Virginie Bertot-Fletcher was our host.

01.00 pm Lunch at the 2-star Michelin restaurant La Grande Vigne

The restaurant is part of the “Les Sources de Caudalie”, a complex comprising a hotel, several restaurants and a health spa, which the Cathiards constructed next to the Château. The meals at this restaurant are a sensuous revelation and will tease all of your taste buds.

La Grande Vigne Deputy Sommelier Simon Renaud guided us in our wine selections. Sommelier Aurélien Farrouil was absent, participating in the Marathon du Medoc. The menu was a fixed menu chosen by Annette Schiller.

07.00 pm Check in at hotel la Tour Intendance in Bordeaux City

Annette and I checked out 2 new wine bars, with other group members. Le Millesime and Wine Lounge. The former has an amazing list of wines by the glass, including Mouton Rothschild, Margaux, Angelus and Haut Brion.

Day 6: Sunday, September 11

09.30 am Visit of the Musée du Vin in Bordeaux

To visit this stunning museum which opened its doors in the spring of 2016 is a must. Architects Anouk Legendre and Nicolas Desmazières designed a building that evokes – on the outside as well as inside – the wine’s soul and liquid nature through seamless roundness. I quote the museum leaflet: “La Cité du Vin is a unique cultural facility where wine comes to life through an immersive, sensorial approach, all set within an evocative architectural design. La Cité du Vin gives a different view of wine, across the world, across the ages, across all cultures and all civilisations. La Cité du Vin invites you on a lively, eye-opening journey around a world of wine and culture.”

11.15 am Departure from Bordeaux and drive to Cap Ferret

12.30 pm Lunch at Pinasse Café, Cap Ferret

Cap Ferret is on the tip of the Basin d’Arcachon, the famous oyster harvesting bay. Pinasse Café in Cap Ferret is a popular restaurant specializing in seafood, 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. I had a Plateau des Fruits de Mer.

04.00 pm Visit of the Earl Ostrea Chanca oyster farm

Owner Ralph Doerfler showed us how he raises his oysters and guided us through the oyster tasting.

Ralph Doerfler loved the weekend family outings to visit his grandparents at their cabana on the Arcachon Bay when he was a child. It was then that he fell in love with the sandy beaches of the bay, the life style away from the hustle and bustle of Bordeaux city, and the smell and taste of oysters. Growing up he decided to study and learn everything there is to know about oysters.

07.00 pm At hotel Relais de Margaux in Margaux

Relais de Margaux in Margaux is a 4 star resort, spa, and golf hotel in a former late-19thcentury wine château. This hotel complex sits right in the backyard of Château Margaux. Its vast lawns sprawls up to the wall that surrounds the château grounds.

Day 7: Monday, September 12

10.00 am Visit and tasting at Château Palmer, Appellation Margaux, 3ième Grand Cru Classé.

Wine has been produced at this estate since 1748. In 1814 the vineyard was purchased by a General Charles Palmer (1777-1851), who served under Wellington in the British army against Napoleon. His lavish life style forced him to sell his property in Margaux in 1843, but despite this short period he left his mark; the property, vineyards and wine remain Château Palmer to this day. The Château changed hands multiple times until it was acquired in 1938 by a syndicate of four very prominent Bordeux families, the Sichel, Ginestet, Miailhe and Mähler-Besse families, forming the Société Civile du Château Palmer in the process. In the meantime the Ginestet and Miailhe families have pulled out. The heirs of the Sichel and Mähler-Besse families remain shareholders of the consortium. Today, the vines of Château Palmer cover a surface of 52 hectares located in Margaux and Cantenac, made up of 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot. The Palmer wines have consistently been rated as “super-second” Margaux and a recent tasting confirmed this.

Melodie Petit was our host. We also had a chance to look at the Picasso exhibition in the tasting room.

12.15 am Winery tour and tasting at Château Pichon-Longueville-Baron, Appellation Pauillac, 2ième Grand Cru Classé.

At the beginning of the tour, we were welcomed by Jean-Rene Matignon, Technical Director.

Nicolas Santier, responsable du développement réceptif et tourisme, was our host.

The history of this estate can be traced back to the late 16-hundreds and matches the history of its twin estate across the street, Pichon Longueville-Comtesse de Lalande until the Pichon estate became divided in 1850 due to inheritance circumstances under the Napoleonic laws. Château Pichon-Baron (for short) stayed in the de Pichon-Longueville family until 1933 when the last surviving family member sold it to Jean Bouteiller, member of a family well-known in the Bordeaux wine scene. His heirs did not manage to keep the quality of the wines and in 1987 the estate was bought by AXA Millésimes, whose goal was to enable great wines from vineyards with a glorious past to achieve their full potential. Total reconstruction of the fermenting room and cellars, and renovation of the château itself, began in 1988.

01.30 pm Private Lunch at Château Pichon-Longueville-Baron

We had a spectacular lunch in the private dining room of Château Pichon-Longueville-Baron, prepared by Château Pichon-Longueville-Baron's Chef Bernadet Damien.

We were greeted with a Champagne followed by an excellent gourmet meal matched by the fabulous Pichon-Longueville-Baron wines.

04.00 pm Arrival at hotel/ restaurant Le Vignoble-France et Angleterre in Pauillac

Hotel/ restaurant Le Vignoble-France et Angleterre in Pauillac is a very well equipped, privately owned 3 star hotel plus restaurant in the heart of the Médoc region, right on the waterfront of the Gironde estuary,.

06.00 pm Winery tour and tasting at Château Lafon-Rochet, Appellation Saint-Estèphe, 4ième Grand Cru Classé

Owner Michel Tesseron was our host. We were also greeted by Directeur Technique Lucas Leclercq.

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 Lafon family for almost 300 years. In 1895 the phylloxera disaster forced the family to sell Château Lafon-Rochet. A period of a rapid succession of several disinterested owners followed until Guy Tesseron (who also bought Château Pontet-Canet) acquired the Château in the 1960s. He and then his son Michel brought Lafon-Rochet back to its former glory. The new generation is now at the helm and Basile Tesseron is energetically pursuing quality control.

08.00 pm Private Dinner at Château Lafon-Rochet, Appellation Saint-Estèphe, 4ième Grand Cru Classé, with Owner Michel Tesseron

We had the honor and privilege to be invited by Michel Tesseron, owner of  Château Lafon-Rochet, to a dinner in his private dinning room.

We started with Champagne and then moved to the dining room for a very entertaining dinner with one of the most prominent wine personalities of Bordeaux.

Day 8: Tuesday, September 13

09.15 am Winery tour, and tasting at Château Sociando Mallet, Appellation Haut-Médoc

Sociando-Mallet is a non-classified (the wine estate winemaking estate. However during the past decade the wines regularly outperform other well-known estates and are regarded as wines of highest quality. The origins of the chateau go back to the year 1633 when the Basque nobleman Sièvre Sociando established his residence at this location. In the mid 19th century the widow Mallet bought the estate and linked the names to create Château Sociando Mallet. Château Sociando Mallet was a forgotten and dilapidated property with only 20 acres of vineyards when Jean Gautreau, a “négociant” from Lesparre bought it. He saw the potential in the fantastic vineyard sites right off the Gironde estuary and quickly expanded and replanted vineyards and brought the winemaking facilities to state of the art standards. Today Sociando Mallet has 200 acres under vine in the filet pieces of Haut Médoc.

Sybil Marquet was our host.

10.45 am Visit of the cooperage Berger & Fils and witness the fascinating art of making a “real” barrique.

Berger & Fils is a small, top notch cooperage. We spent 2 hours there, witnessing the fascinating art of making a barrel.

12.45 pm Lunch at the restaurant Le Peyrat in Saint-Estèphe

This unassuming, very traditional French restaurant right on the banks of the Gironde River is always packed for lunch, because it is the favorite hangout for the locals, including winemakers of the neighboring châteaux.

03.00 pm Winery tour and tasting at Château Cos d’Estournel, Appellation Saint-Estèphe, 2ième Grand Cru Classé

This châteaux boasts of one of most impressive architecture in all of Médoc. In 1791 Louis Gaspard d’Estournel inherited holdings in Saint-Estèphe upon the death of his father. Over the years he added more land to his holdings, and bought several vineyards in the commune of Saint-Estèphe. The potential of Saint-Estèphe in those days was not fully recognized compared with the appellations further south (Pauillac, Saint-Julien, etc.), which were already fully exploited. Louis Gaspard was enthusiastic about his wines but there was no reputation for this appellation at this time. He ran into financial difficulties and the estate was acquired by a debt collector in 1811. He remained on board as manager and was able to buy it back in 1821. In the meantime recognition for Saint-Estèphe wines was on the rise and in the decades that followed Louis Gaspard was able to buy the best plots off neighboring estates. Settled in, and seemingly financially secure, Louis Gaspard d'Estournel started to built new cellars and a “châteaux”. His taste reflected his many travels to the Orient, and he constructed tall pagodas, and an imposing arch decorated with lions and unicorns. The doorway was sent over from the Palace of Zanzibar. In 1852 – one year before his death- he had to sell again and the châteaux changed hands many times since then. Current owner is industrialist Michel Reybier, who acquired Cos d’Estournel in 2000.

Managing Director Aymeric de Gironde joined us towards the end of the tour.

Day 09: Wednesday, September 14

09:00 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 three 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 host.

During the tour, we also had a chance to chat with Cellar Master Didier Thomann and Vineyard Manager Bruno Clenet.

11.00 am Winery tour and tasting at Château Margaux, Appellation Margaux, 1ière Grand Cru Classé

Château Margaux is one of the oldest wine producing estates in the Bordeaux region and can trace back ist roots to the 12th century. It is one of the only 5 1ière grand cru classé châteaux. Vine planting started in the early 16hundreds and in 1582 the Margaux estate covered about 220 acres of vines, Today, almost 500 years later the estate has changed little in terms of size and layout. The highest price ever associated with a bottle of wine belongs to a bottle of Château Margaux, vintage 1787, which was insured at 225,000 $ and was opened at a tasting in 1987. Château Margaux can look back to many different owners over the past centuries, just like many other châteaux in Bordeaux. In 1977 it was acquired by André Mentzelopoulos, a Greek native who arrived in France in 1958 and became a wealthy man by building up a supermarket chain. He renovated the château and invested heavily in the winery. He replanted vines, bought new oak barrels, reintroduced a second wine to enhance quality, and constructed a new underground cellar. He died very suddenly in 1980 and the estate has been managed very succesfully since then by his daughter Corinne. We will get to see the new cellar which had ist grand opening before the Vinexpo last year. It is designed by Sir Norman Foster and is the talk oft he town.

Marie Guillad was our host.

The harvest of the white grapes had just started.

12:30 pm Winery tour and tasting at Château Kirwan, Appellation Margaux, 3ième Grand Cru Classé

Châteaux Kirwan exists since the late 17th century. In 1710 Sir John Collingwood, a wine merchant, bought the property and established it as working vineyard. His daughter married an Irishman, Mark Kirwan and hence the name was born. Thomas Jefferson visited the châteaux in 1780 and had the highest praises for its wines. After Mark Kirwans’s death Camille Godard, a botanist and later the Mayor of Bordeaux, purchased the estate. His interest in the wines of Châteaux Kirwan was somewhat limited, and at the turn of the century it was sold at auction, and acquired by the négociant firm Schroder & Schyler. Since 1950 Jean-Henry Schyler has invested heavily in the châteaux, and the vineyards, built a new barrel cellar, and brought Châteaux Kirwan back to its former glory. Today the châteaux is managed by the next generation Yann, Natalie and Sophie Schyler.

Owner Natalie Schyler was our host.

12:30 pm Picnic Lunch at Château Kirwan, Appellation Margaux, 3ième Grand Cru Classé

Owner Natalie Schyler joined us for a picnic lunch.

04.00 pm Check in at Hotel La Tour Intendance

06.30 pm Winery tour at Château Haut-Bailly, Graves, Appellation Pessac-Léognan, Grand Cru Classé

At Château Haut-Bailly wine has been produced for more than five centuries. Like many Bordeaux estates, the property changed owners multiple times over the centuries. However, three owner families put their mark on the estate. In 1630 it was bought by the Le Bailly family which eventually gave the estate its name. In those days the château had about 80 acres under vine, roughly the same as today. There were many ups and downs during the centuries and by the 1950s the estate was in a sorry state. A wine merchant from Belgium, Daniel Sanders, bought the château in 1955 and started intensive renovations. His efforts proofed him right and Château Haut-Bailly was one of the 16 wine producers awarded with the Grand Cru Classé certification in the 1959 classification of the Graves estates. In 1998, Elisabeth and Robert G. Wilmers – he is an American banker, she is French – bought Château Haut-Bailly and spared no expenses to invest in the vineyards, winery, and the château to give the estate the possibility to keep producing top quality wines. Château Haut-Bailly is managed by Véronique Sanders, fourth generation of the Sanders family. Véronique Sanders and Robert G. Wilmers work hand in hand sharing the goal to produce top notch wines of outstanding character.

Daina Paulin was our host.

07.30 pm Wine pairing dinner at Château Haut-Bailly, Graves, Appellation Pessac-Léognan, Grand Cru Classé

We enjoyed a four course wine pairing gourmet dinner in the beautiful private quarters of the château. We started with Champagne. We then proceeded to the dining room and where we were served a delicious meal, prepared by the private chef of Château Haut-Bailly, Jean-Charles Poinsot. We took the coffee/tea in the living room and had the opportunity to tour the kitchen to personally thank the chef for his inspirational menu. This exclusive dinner celebration in the private living quarters of the owner was the perfect finale of our wine and gourmet tour.

Daina Paulin hosted us. Chef Jean-Charles Poinsot prepared the dinner.

10.30 pm Back at hotel in Bordeaux

Day 10: Thursday, September 15

09.00 am Breakfast buffet at the hotel

This was our last activity together. After breakfast the tour ended.

Postings on the Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France (Posted and Forthcoming)

Bordeaux Wine Tour 2013 by ombiasy

Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), France

Bordeaux Wines and their Classifications: The Basics

Bordeaux - En Primeur, Negociants, Courtiers, the Quai de Chartons and the Place de Bordeaux – A Short Introduction

Tour and Tasting at Millésima (Wine Merchant) in Bordeaux City

Tour and Tasting at Domaine de Chevalier, Graves

Dinner with a View: At Restaurant L’Estacade in Bordeaux City

Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars in Bordeaux City, France

Schiller's Favorite Seafood Places in Bordeaux City, France

Saint Emilion Wines and their Classification, Bordeaux, France

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in St. Emilion, France

The Wine Empire of the von Neipperg Family in France, Bulgaria and Germany 

Tour and Tasting at Château Canon La Gaffelière, Saint-Emilion, Premier Grand Cru Classé

Tour and Wine Lunch at Château Beauséjour, Puisseguin Saint-Emilion, with Owner and Winemaker Gérard Dupuy

Tour and Tasting at Château de Figeac, Saint-Emilion, Premier Grand Cru Classé

Tour and Tasting at Château Beauregard, Pomerol

Tour at Château Le Bon Pasteur, Pomerol, with Dany Rolland

Wine Lunch at Château Le Bon Pasteur, Pomerol, with Dany Rolland

Tasting were it all Started: At the "Garage" of Jean-Luc Thunevin, Owner and Winermaker of Château Valandraud, Premier Grand Cru Classé since 2012

Tour and Tasting at Château de Fargues, Sauternes, with Prince Eudes d’Orléans

Wine Pairing Lunch at the 1-star Michelin Restaurant Claude Darozze, with Marie-Hélène Lévêque, Owner of Châteaux Chantegrive

Tour of Château de Chantegrive, Appellation Grave

Tour and Tasting at Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Pessac-Léognan, Grand Cru Classé.

Wine Pairing Lunch at the 2-star Michelin Restaurant La Grande Vigne (at Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte)

Tour of the new Musee du Vin in Bordeaux City

Seafood lunch at Pinasse Cafe in Cap Ferret

Tour of the Earl Ostrea Chanca Oyster Farm and Oyster Tasting in Grand-Piquey, with Oyster Farmer Ralph Doerfler

The 5 Premiers Grands Crus Chateaux en 1855 of Bordeaux, France

What is a Bordeaux Cru Bourgeois? France

Tourt and tasting at Château Palmer, Margaux, 3ième Grand Cru Classé

Tour and Tasting at Château Pichon-Longueville-Baron, Pauillac, 2ième Grand Cru Classé

Wine Lunch at Château Pichon-Longueville-Baron, Pauillac, 2ième Grand Cru Classé

Tour and Tasting at Château Lafon-Rochet, Saint-Estèphe, 4ième Grand Cru Classé, with Owner Michel Tesseron

At the Invitation of Owner Michel Tesseron: Private Dinner at Château Lafon-Rochet, Saint-Estèphe, 4ième Grand Cru Classé

Tour and Tasting at Château Sociando Mallet, Appellation Haut-Médoc

How a Barrel is Made: Visit of the Cooperage Berger & Fils in Vertheuil

Lunch were the Locals eat: At Le Peyrat in Saint-Estèphe in Saint Estephe

Tour and Tasting at Château Léoville Poyferré, Saint-Julien, 2ième Grand Cru Classé, with Anne Cuvelier

Tour and Tasting at Château Margaux, Appellation Margaux, 1ière Grand Cru Classé

Tour and Tasting at Château Kirwan, Appellation Margaux, 3ième Grand Cru Classé, with Owner Nathalie Schyler

Picnic Lunch at Château Kirwan, Appellation Margaux, 3ième Grand Cru Classé, with Owner Nathalie Schyler

Tour and Wine Dinner at Château Haut-Bailly, Graves, Appellation Pessac-Léognan, Grand Cru Classé, with Daina Paulin

No comments:

Post a Comment