Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Left Bank – Tuesday, 4/29/08

Another absolutely amazing day! I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends that they introduce me to people like Christian who is the international winemaker for Lafite. As arranged, he picked me up at my hotel at 8:30am and we headed north to the Medoc and our early appointment with Charles Chevallier at Chateau Lafite. What a tour! The place is amazing with splendid old cellars – both a first and second year cellar; huge impressive fermentation vats; and state of the art equipment. The vineyards are filled with gravel and are close to the river – as are all great vineyards on the Left Bank.

The tasting here was one of the best, with vertical comparisons of Lafite, Carrudes (the 2nd label) and Duhart-Milon (one of their many other estates) for 2007, 2004 and 1999. Of course, the 1999 Lafite stole the show with layers of dark fruit, black licourise, spice, a perfect balance and layers of complexity. Wow!

Next stop was Pichon Longueville (see photo) – one of the most beautiful chateau in Pauillac. One of the winemakers was our tour guide and I was extremely impressed with the circular tank room and two underground barrel rooms, as well as the new bottling line. We tasted 07’s and 06’s, and after begging, I was allowed to buy a bottle of the 2005.

Next stop was lunch at Lynch Bages new villages behind the winery with hotel, restaurant and shops. A nice new tourist destination. Christian ordered a bottle of his Argentina Malbec with lunch, and I tried not to drink too much because I knew we were touring the winery afterwards. First stop was the Lynch Bages museum which was fascinating with all of the old equipment. After the tour, we tasted 07’s, 06’s, and a 2004 Lynch Bages with 84% cab, which was my favorite. We ended with the 2007 Blanc de Lynch Bages which was incredibly refreshing with grapefruit and honey – 45% sauvignon blanc. I was surprised to end the tasting with a dry white, but they said it was the custom and helped to clear the red tannins. It turned out to be true!

On the way back to Bordeaux, Christian took a quick detour so I could see Château Cos d'Estournel in St. Estephe – just a few minutes up the road. We then drove by Latour and Mouton Rothchild, which I had visited on my previous trip. After a brief rest at my hotel, I drove the short 15 minutes to Christian’s house and met his lovely wife and daughter. They treated me to a memorable dinner including Krug sparkling and a bottle of Latour with the main course. Talk about a day in heaven!

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