Wednesday, 28 October 2009

A whistle-stop tasting tour and Sauvignon search

Once again another glorious day here in Bordeaux I am certainly not fed up of saying so! And the weather forecast tells me it's not over yet! Today was sunny t-shirt weather but no time to sunbathe because I was expecting a JMS whirlwind to be knocking on the Chai door at any moment!

We had a busy schedule ahead of us so Clare picked me up and we motored off in the sunshine – roof down – to Arveyres where we met Olivier Cazenave at his lovely little riverside Chateau to taste some 2009 whites and reds. The quality is definitely there this year with some lovely dry Muscadelle too!

JMS and I then bolted over to Entre-Deux-Mers and met Ludovic Roussillon at his place in Rauzan. We checked out his 2009 Merlot and Cabernets and they certainly didn't disappoint – already deeply coloured with rich black fruit and silky tannins!

A "merci, merci" and a couple of "bientot's" and were up and away heading ever deeper into the Entre-Deux-Mers and the tiny village of Espiet with its not so tiny cooperative. In this region people tend to farm very large vineyard areas in comparison with Saint Emilion or Castillon.

Espiet is where we make an important element of the Laithwaite Sauvignon blend and Aussie winemaker John Lakey has been monitoring the wines very closely. The Sauvignon here is famed for its great acidity and pure grassy aromas and JMS and I are here to collect samples so we can start blending tomorrow first thing.

Once again back on the road, heading now for Sauveterre where we make our other Sauvignon blending components. Sauveterre is on the other side of the Entre-Deux-Mers and the Sauvignon is richer and rounder here. We tasted samples with winemaker Pascal but just before heading off I noticed an old 1970's aerial photo of the Co-op. As we stopped to take a look a young enthusiastic lady overheard us talking and introduced herself as Mademoiselle President of the Sauveterre Cave Cooperative. This was quite strange as normally the President of a Co-op is a very old man! The photo was fascinating showing the cellar before all the modern development and I also learnt that the now municipal swimming pool in fact was originally a large concrete basin used for drying prunes!

Then it was straight back to the Chai to run through some wines with JMS and prepare for tomorrow's blending when we will make a Sauvignon from all the components collected today.

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