One rainy day in Mayo, West Ireland my head sommelier came to surprise me with the news that I would be going on an all expenses paid trip to Bordeaux…a week later I found myself in what only could be described as a dream, complete with its very own dreamy pink wine castle!
Although only a whistle-stop tour of 3 days, we had a busy itinerary of 4 different vineyard tours, a guided history tour and plenty and plenty of wine tastings and dinners…not my average days off but all sounding very exciting so far!
Most excitingly however, for the duration of our trip, we stayed in a pink Chateau, typically French in style and in every way my kind of crib.
It was the home of Chateau Loudenne, the name given to the delicious pineappley, coconutty, peachy Savignon Blanc and the velvety, black cherry and blackcurrant noted Merlot/Cabernet Savignon blend from Saint-Yzens-de-Medoc in the North of the Medoc.
A tour through the vines gave us a perspective of the plots that are best suited to each grape variety grown there. The low afternoon sunshine projected golden hues over the vineyard.
Through the back doors of the Chateau was a beautifully sun drenched terrace.
The perfect setting for a vertical white Bordeaux tasting! And no I don’t mean we were all standing up straight and tasting together…this a term for tasting the exact same wine but from different vintages (years) to see how the wine develops and is affected by variations in weather. By the way 2015 was my favourite as it seemed to have the most pineapple and conconut notes…think pina colada…mmm!
Next stop was Chateau Angludet, a small family owned winery in the heart of Margaux.
Here we tasted one of the Chateau’s best and one of the most difficult vintages, an interesting way to learn about the diverse effects weather can have on a wines flavour.
The perfect end to the day…sipping Chateau Loudenne on a sunny boat ride along the river Gironde, taking in sights of famous Chateau’s such as Chateau Latour!
Don’t mind if I do! We were treated to a beautiful 3 course dinner in a small rural restaurant along the river Gironde, of course all helped along with a few bottles of Chateau Loudenne.
The next day was an early start but completely worth it…just look at this Chateau! This is the magnificent home of Chateau Pichon-Baron in Pauillac. Classed as a “super second” in Bordeaux, Chateau Pichon-Longeuville Baron is a wine with a huge reputation that consistently delivers complex wines with flavours layered by notes of cassis, black plum, vanilla and cinnamon.
We tasted a great selection which included different vintages, vineyards and labels.
None of us let a drop go to waste, with one of the French somms on our trip commenting that the wine might possibly be…better than sex. Great praise indeed coming from a French man!
Next stop was the home of Leoville Barton, another super second along the Medoc but this time in the more Southern region of Saint-Julien. My tasting notes from these wines show less powerful aromas with a more floral element comparing to Pichon-Baron wines from Pauillac…as a somm might say, the Leoville Barton style is much more femenine…yeah yeah, makes me cringe too!
This Chateau had a particularly gorgeous courtyard…one which I could happily see myself sipping wine in all day if it wasn’t for a busy itinerary!
Lunch time! Good job as well since all of that wine tasting (erm…swallowing) was really opening up my appetite.
The end of our Medoc tour finished in a lovely restaurant back in the village of Margaux. Unfortunately, no time for any more wine tasting here because after dinner it was time to pack and have one final glass of Loudenne back at the dreamy pink Chateau.
Bon Voyage Bordeaux! I’ll be back one day, there’s plenty more tasting to be done.