May 1=Bordeaux Closed

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It’s Labor Day and that means all public buildings, transportation, banks, and tourist venues are closed.  Workers often take to the streets with flags flying in parades to make their sentiments known regarding pay,hours, etc.  We witnessed this in Turin a few years back and didn’t need to see it again in Bordeaux. 

BUT, back at the beginning of my trip I discovered that St. Emilion has three days of open chateaux visits.  May 1-2-3. We had a slow start to the morning, and the grey, misty rain didn’t help.  But after breakfast, a short walk to the local boulangerie which WAS open, and a light lunch, we set off, map in hand.

I think it is probably easiest to simply list where we went and give a brief synopsis.

  
Our friend in St. emilion who makes the wonderful “maison hamburger/duck” suggested this chateau when i asked his advice a few weeks ago.  He said it was one of the most beautiful and interesting caveaux in St. Emilion.  Hedidn’t  exaggerate!  A consort of 10 artists display their works amongst the bottles and barrels. Take a look: 

   
   

   
 

I loves this painting and thought it looked like our lovely guide.

Of course, at the end we tastes the wine, ans even though we said we would ahare a glass, we were not allowed.  ” Oh no, you must each have your own.”  We learned quickly to taste only, then discard the remainder.  After two or three tastings our guide said, “i would like you to try something very special.  Our owner, Paul, has a very small plot in Fronsac.  He works the fields by himself with a horse and does all tasks by hand.  He produces small batchesof fine wine. This should be kept in your cellar for many years. ”

  
Yes, it will be kept in our cellar.  We bought a bottle.

Chateaux Number  2:

  
This was another chateau with very interesting caves. The limestone in the area keeps the temperatures constant at about 12-14 C. With about 80% humidity.  These caves, like the first ones  at Villemaurine were natural.  We were later to see aome that were modern and dug.

   
 

The wife of the owner kindly gave us a special tour in English. The owner told us that much land in the area had been bought by Russians and Chinese but he was able to keep a few hectacres and now produces ” the finest wine in the region.”  Of course he’d say that!

Chateau number 3:  by this point we were already giving up on trying to follow the map of open chateaux.  Special signs posted on the road offered some help directing  cars to open chateaux.  We spied one that looked very new so gave it a try.

   
Honestly, it was a charming story about the family and the old woman who gave her name to the chateaux, but the wine was terrible.  Moving onward :
Chateaux number 4:  we spied this one close by.  

  
Again, a special tour in English.  We chuckled because as soon as we got out of our car the owner scurried to find his daughter who spoke English.  Don commented that it must be a requirement for these young guides to be beautiful.  

Again, a family winery with much pride, but wine was not to our liking. There was no barrel aging. “We prefer to keep the taste of the fruit intact” which seemed to say, ” Barrel aging is too expensive.”  

The tanks were some of th most colorful we’ve seen! 

Chateaux number 5:

  
We hit the jackpot.  As we entered the room we heard English and saw this man, the owner apparently, proudly explaining his wines.

  
We soon realized that we had stumbled onto a private tour, arranged by a Bordeaux group.  For the next 45 minutes we learned so much about his wines, vintages, how to taste, how and when to decant, what type of glass to use.  We tasted another 4-5 wines. 

 

We bought a bottle of the 2010.  My carrier for 6 wines was now full.  

At this point our palates were shot, it was raining, but I felt incomplete.  I wanted to return to Vincent, my new BFF wine guy, and order more of the 2010 haut Troupchard.  We wound our way through the slick, wet cobblestone streets, and did just that.  I had to taste it again to be sure it was as good as my palate remembered. 

   

I had to compromise with Don and we ended up with three bottles of my choice and three of his.  So the NC weinbergers will be receiving two shipments, one of which we will share with them and a shipment of our 6 bottles.

   
Our first shipment is ready to go (box on bottom right).   Other cartons are going to Allentown, Pa ( Vincent is going to try to put us in touch with that guy who has a business address to ship to ) and Singapore.
This was our third and final trip to St. emilion.  What a day of wine and fun!  

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