Saturday, September 13, 2014

13 thoughts on my first day in Bordeaux

So I'm back in Barcelona, back in the madness. Classes beginning in a few days again ... second year let's go! But my head in still in the clouds, still in all the things I saw and tasted in Bordeaux. I can't begin telling you how excited, how inspired I am after this trip. Totally re-affirming, that this thing I'm working on is what I was meant to do. Alright. Enough looniness. I spent my first real day in Bordeaux driving to Pessac-Léognan, visiting 3 estates. A focus on dry white wines, but as always, lots of surprises. More on each property to follow. A few thoughts after a first day back in France, back on the wine trail ...

1. The city of Bordeaux is absolutely beautiful ... at once stately and elegant, a great sense of presence and identity.

2. Roads here are super easy to drive (even after a year without a car), but I can't imagine doing it without Google Maps. Roundabout after roundabout, with the most obscure signage.

3. The morning fogs and mist here are a very real thing. So dense you feel like you're floating in it.

4. The vineyards are immaculately maintained ... driving through the countryside is a seemingly endless canvas of dreamy greenery.

5. Each chateau's chai is a masterclass on how to build functional, beautiful installations of fine winemaking. The tools and toys don't make the wine, but in the right hands, they are the absolute difference in a very good wine and a great one.

6. The Bordelais take their oak very seriously.

7. Likewise their reputation as France's (and therefore the world's) preeminent wine region.

8. French women have this uncanny ability to be both elegant and sexy ... totally distracting when you're trying to focus on tasting, but we do derive pleasure from the context of wine don't we?

9. On that note, is there anything sexier than a woman who's competent behind a bar?! Damn near stabbed myself with my fork staring.

10. American tourists are 10 times worse in wine country than they are anywhere else. They're allowed to ask questions.

11. Talking to chateau proprietors and vineyard managers is always tricky - they after all are bound to talk up their estates. But in Bordeaux, they tend towards sensibility and humility, a refreshing attitude.

12. Spaniards! Please learn from your neighbours to the east and offer a carafe of tap water with dinner. On principle, I will not accept paying for ridiculously priced bottled water at a restaurant.

13.  Finally, after 13 months in Spain ... I had the chance to eat real French food. Simply divine. Soul warming, good for the morale and spirit.


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