Bordeaux


pau.jpgIt’s been a bit mad, this last week or so.  I was in Seattle (or rather Bellevue, a fairly soulless suburb) for a four-day conference.  Not a great deal to report on the wine front, I’m afraid.  I did drink some, but nothing terribly memorable and, to be honest, most was held in the tight grip of a waiter and I was unable to see the label.  Given we were being entertained and I hadn’t therefore ordered any of it, I’m not sure what it was!  I’m pretty sure Merlot featured and I’m assuming it was US wine, but other than that… 

Otherwise, it was the odd beer (and if you’re ever offered some of a local brew called Arrogant Bastard I can recommend you decline…the arrogance, I suspect, describing those who could have ever claimed they’d produced a decent beer) and an extraordinarily large shot of tequila, which was totally unnecessary (but when are they not?).

I left Seattle on Thursday evening, and a rather ridiculous journey took me to Heathrow, then a car to Stansted to catch a flight to Poitiers followed by a train to Bordeaux to meet a very good mate, Chris, who’d flown into Bordeaux earlier that afternoon.  I’d therefore avoided going home altogether between the business trip to the US and an indulgent weekend of drinking, eating and watching fantastic old cars race around the streets of Pau, in the foothills of the Pyrenees.

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Prompted by my old buddy James Warren, I’ve just had a listened to the first ever Berry Bros. & Rudd podcast – sorry, podcask (a truly awful pun, for which I am a sucker).  As full disclosure, James has been involved in recent BBR PR activities, specifically related to new media-type stuff, so it’s not a huge surprise to see a podcast appear on the BBR website.

Inevitably, I guess, the company’s first podcast (which it also claims is the first by a wine merchant) spends a while explaining just what BBR is and does – in fact, it spends about the first half of its eight minutes or so doing just that.  But, as it’s the Chairman himself Simon Berry doing the chatting and you’ve been eased into it all with a nice piece of classical music, it doesn’t seem too blatant. 

Just as you are getting slightly concerned the whole thing’s going to be a BBR advertisement, however, Simon quickly gets into his thoughts on the Bordeaux 2006 vintage.  Very briefly (as we all suspected) it’s nowhere near as good as the 2005 (Simon reckons it could be a touch better than 2004, particularly on the Right Bank) but the worry is that prices won’t adjust accordingly.

But don’t take my word for it!  Have a listen.  It’s a decent length for a podcast and fairly engaging.  A good first effort which bodes well for the future.

Sadly, I have to end this post on a less positive note.  I opened the Reserve de la Comtesse 1988 this evening.  Corked.  Nasty.  I’m well and truly gutted.

03-01-07_0825.jpgI was down at Bordeaux airport on Saturday picking my folks up.  It’s a nice airport – not too big, light and airy and deathly quiet on a Saturday lunchtime.  It’s also got rows of vines planted outside the terminal building! 

Typical of most aiports, it’s got a selection of shops and cafes and, inevitably, there’s a shop that sells wine for those last-minute impulse purchases before jumping on the plane.  The wine shop’s also got a sale on at the moment – and it’s definitely worth a browse.

On the floor of the wine shop there are a load of cardboard wine carriers, each holding six bottles.  There are signs on top explaining that there’s currently 25% off the price of the wines in the boxes – and it’s only when you get closer that you notice the scribbled details on each box of what’s inside. 

03-01-07_0911.jpgMost were mixed cases and the example in the photo gives you an idea of the quality.  This one contained three bottles of Chateau Cheval Blanc 2002 (at 292,10 euros each), and single bottles of Chateau Figeac 1998 and 2000 (157 and 149,50 euros respectively) and Vieux Chateau Certan (276 euros).  So a quick bit of mental aritmetic and that little lot comes to nearly 1,500 euros (I’m not sure whether that was before or after the discount!)  I noticed other boxes containing bottles of Petrus, Ausone, Latour…remarkable.  Well worth a look if you’re ever passing through the airport – the shop’s upstairs between the two terminals (and is actually part of the newsagent’s!)

dsc_0007.JPGI popped into Bordeaux today…I had to go down there to drop my folks off at the airport so took the opportunity to drive into the city centre.  I should really do so more often – it’s such a charming place.  The centre’s very compact so you can get around on foot easily, though there is a fantastic new tram system which is being extended everywhere judging by the amount of roads being dug up to make way for tram tracks.  I parked underground near the Place de Tourny…I didn’t really know where that was until I popped up by a beautiful old carousel and recognised the café where Michelle and I had enjoyed a lovely lunch with my old mate Woody on our first visit to Bordeaux.  Which was nice.  Given this new blog, I was also pleased to see that the café in question sat right next door to the Vinoteque Bordeaux wine merchants, which I resolved to pop into after a spot of lunch and a wander around…after all, I had 50 euros from Mr James Warren burning a hole in my pocket.

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