On Saturday we headed to the Right Bank, famed for its Merlot and Cabernet Franc based reds and home to such illustrious Chateaux such as Cheval Blanc, Pavie and Ausone as well as something called Petrus around the corner in Pomerol!
We stopped at Chateau Croizille which is a Saint Emilion Grand Cru and embarked on a rather remarkable tasting adventure.
Carlos Carvalho hosted our visit in an expert manner as we began in the small vineyard right by the winery. With rows of all six grape varieties – Merlot, Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Carmenere – with bunches of ripe grapes still hanging, we were able to taste and contrast the sweetness and tannin levels of the fruit itself. Into the winery and Carlos presented us with a 2 day old fermenting juice, followed by a Merlot that had literally just finished its fermentation. A truly fascinating experience for us all.
The property comprises two estates – Chateau La Tour Baladoz and Chateau Croizille. Baladoz is traditional and still uses cement tanks and a typical Merlot dominant blend, whereas Croizille has been rebuilt in 2012 with lots of stainless steel, new oak and a higher than average Cab Sauv component.
Having tasted the grapes and fermenting juice we moved into the simply stunning tasting room with probably the best view in the right bank. We tasted through a selection of wines that illustrated the contrast in style of new and traditional and joined the dots for many in conversion of grape to wine.
A fabulously instructive visit.
We headed into Saint Emilion for lunch at the appropriately named Lard et Bouchon – an old favourite and a supposedly light meal became somewhat drawn out as we tucked into some rather delicious 2010 La Bastienne Saint Emilion.
Back to Bordeaux for dinner at Bistrot Le Glouton (I’ve impressed myself with my choice of aptly named restaurants on this tour). Duck stuffed ravioli, beef and dauphinoise, mature cheeses and some gourmet patisserie filled any remaining gaps we had.
It’s quite intimidating organising a tour to probably the most famous wine region in the world. I can only say that the tour, in my opinion, far exceeded my expectations, and gave plenty of food for thought for further exploration….