Bordeaux Wine Behind the Bottle (VIDEO)
Premier Grand Crus
In this wine video, Monique Soltani goes behind the bottle in Bordeaux for her award-winning channel Wine Oh TV and gives us a look at what it takes to make world class wine in Bordeaux, France.
Château La Mission Haut-Brion
We began our Bordeaux wine trip at Château La Mission Haut-Brion where we had the great pleasure of touring the spectacular Château which dates back to the 16th century. We started off our wine tour with a little history lesson in the estate’s iconic chapel. Then our tour guide Barbara was nice enough to let us pick and taste the wine grapes straight from the vine. In my very humble opinion the 2012 Bordeaux Merlot vines are tasting simply divine! We got to Bordeaux right in the middle of harvest where Château La Mission Haut-Brion had already started harvesting their white wines. When you watch the video you will get a glimpse of the 2012 harvest in full swing and see the Bordeaux wine grapes ready to burst.
After our tour we were brought in for a private tasting of the 2007 Château La Mission Haut-Brion and 2007 Château Haut-Brion. It might have been way to early to try these fine wines and they might have been far too young to drink but we had no problem. The 2007 Château La Mission Haut-Brion and 2007 Château Haut-Brion went down smooth as silk at 10 am!
If you would like to inquire about a Bordeaux wine tour at Château La Mission Haut-Brion Click Here! Keep in mind, tours need to be arranged several months in advance!
Next stop Château Margaux! When we pulled up the place was packed with tour buses looking to get a glimpse of the famous mansion guarded by gates. The wine lovers weren’t allowed inside but they were allowed to snap as many photos as they wanted from a distance. I’m not going to lie, when I saw the tours turned away I was a little worried that we might get the boot too. Not the case, our tour guide welcomed us with open arms. I had an image of Chateau Margaux being a stuffy winery filled with wine aficionados looking down on us American wine lovers. Boy was I wrong, our host could not have been more gracious! She explained to us that they get so many tour requests it would be impossible to grant them all since making wine if their first priority!
Château Margaux was founded in the 1400’s and was once home to Edward III, King of England. There are countless interesting facts that I could ramble on and on about but I won’t. I will however highlight the fact that they have their very own cooper on staff. Château Margaux produces roughly one third of its own barrels in house. If you watch the wine video, you will see wine barrels broken down and in their beginning stages. They start out as wooden staved vessels of a conical form, then they are bound together with hoops that possess flat ends or heads. Most barrels weigh between 125 to 140 lbs. when empty. While we where their we got to meet the longtime cooper who is set to retire and is currently training his replacement. We are told a good cooper is hard to find, this was once a sought after profession, but in this modern era the art of crafting coopers is nearly gone with the wind. When ended our tour with a tasting of the 2008 Château Margaux and a taste of their second wine label Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux. All in all an amazing end to a once in a lifetime wine tasting experience.
If you would like to inquire about a Bordeaux wine tour at Château Margaux Click Here! Keep in mind, tours need to be arranged several months in advance!
Our wine trip started in the Médoc and ended in Sauternes, arguably home to the best sweet wine producers in the world. In the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855, Château d’Yquem was the only Sauternes given the Premier Cru Supérieur rating. Château d’Yquem wines are complex, sweet and well balanced thanks to the relatively high acidity. Château d’Yquem wines are known for their longevity and can last over a century if the wine is cared for properly.
One of the most unique things we discovered while touring Château d’Yquem was their hands on harvest. Harvest can last for weeks and the well trained harvesters at Château d’Yquem pick individual berries rather than the normal process of harvesting entire bunches. The harvesters are trained to spot certain berries that have been attacked by “noble rot” (Botrytis cinerea). The vineyards are planted mostly with the Semillion grape variety but also include Sauvignon Blanc. Château d’Yquem also produces a dry white wine called Ygrec made from an equal blend of Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Our tour ended with a tasting of the 2006 Château d’Yquem and I have to say, saying goodbye has never been so sweet.
If you would like to inquire about a Bordeaux wine tour at Château d’Yquem Click Here! Keep in mind, tours need to be arranged several months in advance!
Château d’Yquem Fun Facts:
Thomas Jefferson visited the château and later wrote:
“Sauternes.This is the best white wine of France and the best of it is made by Monsieur de Lur-Saluces.”
Jefferson ordered 250 bottles of the 1784 vintage for himself, and additional bottles for George Washington. However, at that time the technique of allowing noble rot to infect grapes had not yet been discovered, so the wine Jefferson was drinking was a different sweet wine.
The 1811 Château d’Yquem, a comet vintage, has exhibited what wine experts like Robert Parker have described as exceptional longevity with Parker scoring the wine a perfect 100 points when tasted in 1996.
Premier Grand Cru
Château Lafite Rothschild Médoc (Pauillac)
Château Margaux Médoc (Margaux)
Château Latour Médoc (Pauillac)
Château Haut-Brion Pessac-Leognan
Château Mouton-Rothschild Médoc (Pauillac)
Premier Cru Supérieur
Château d’Yquem (Sauternes)