As a “newer” member of the enormous, complex world of wine, gaining knowledge through hands-on experiences is a great tool. I will be departing in less than 10 days for the truly beautiful, historic, and delicious Bordeaux wine region. Bordeaux’s wine history dates back to the time of the Romans. It has seen growths and declines, survived disease and wars. It is a large, vibrant wine growing region that lies in the southwestern part of France. The hearts of the Bordeaux winemakers ensures its survival!
From August 1976-July 1977, I lived about 80 km north of Bordeaux, in the Charente- Maritime. It will always be my second home! I was only 17 at the time, not really into wine- I did, however, quite enjoy the Pineau des Charentes! It was the culture, the people, and the landscape that so intrigued me and captured my heart. I have been fortunate to have returned to my “families” many, many times, but this trip will be my first “wine education trip”. (Sometimes I think I must have a secret French side to me…after all, I was born on Bastille Day!!) I will use the visits/tastings to help me with my studies for my French Wine Scholar certification. What better opportunity could I hope for?!
I have several visits scheduled to such incredible Grands Crus châteaux: Château Lascombes in Margaux, Château Pichon-Longueville in Paulliac, ChâteauPhélan-Ségur in
St. Estèphe, Château Beauregard in Pomerol, and Château Beau- Séjour Bécot in St. Emilion. I am extremely grateful for the warm welcome that has been extended to me!!Bordeaux has numerous regions within itself. I will only be touching the surface. Time allowing, I also plan on stopping in Blaye and in Pessac- Léognan to give my palate some training on their wines. The challenge will be to imprint the differences between the left and right bank wines! Will I be able to discern if Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, or Merlot (which is the most widely planted in Bordeaux) is more prominent? Will the Petit Verdot, Malbec/Côt, or Carmenère come through enough for me to pick up? Is the blend for the white wines more Sauvignon Blanc or Sémillion? Is it possible to find the hints of Colombard, Ugni Blanc, or Muscadelle in the whites? Time, attention to subtleties, and continual tastings are necessary to answer these questions. Although my time in Bordeaux will, unfortunately, not be long enough to truly master these skills, I am ready to begin my wine journey.