Friday, 23 April 2010

Back Home!

Well we are finally home after trains, boats and hire cars! The trip was rather an adventure starting with the overnight ferry journey where places were few and far between. Most people were sleeping on chairs but as we went down to level -6 deep into the boat, we found that good old Libby and done the impossible and booked not one but unbelievably two cabins!

So after a very comfortable crossing indeed we hit the mayhem of the St. Malo ferry terminal – no hire cars, no taxis, no information and huge queues. We suddenly began to think that the nightmare was about to start but luckily we immediately bumped straight into an AVIS hire car lady on her way back to the main depot (a couple of miles from the ferry terminal) to sort out more hire cars and she said ‘hop in I’ll take you directly there on my way’. We got straight in the car and 10 minutes later we had an upgraded hire car and were on our way back to Bordeaux, leaving the chaos behind – you see French service is not that bad!

On arriving back in Castillon the colour of the landscape had changed dramatically whilst we were away as the long awaited Budburst had at last taken place.

The bright lime green leaves of the fresh fragile buds always seems to be the perfect signal to the skies, asking them to warm up significantly, produce rain and create the ideal humid conditions for mildew to attack the defenceless buds! So it was very busy in the vineyards with all the growers frantically spraying light doses of sulphur to keep the mildew at bay.

The rush to get back was because this morning I had to be in the northern Bordeaux appellation of CĂ´tes de Blaye for 7am to load the first third of our 2008 Grand Chai red Bordeaux at Chateau Rolland La Garde. The wines from here are elegant and structured with oak and a very important part of the final blend.

Once all was safely loaded, it was a race against the clock to get to Chateau Feret Lambert in the Entre-Deux-Mers to load the fruit driven and soft tannin second third of the blend – and then beat the first truck to the bottling plant in Rauzan for the unloading!

Certainly no French lunch today as I was straight on my way to the big powerful dark fruit of the final third at Chateau Roc Pellebouc.

The ever energetic owner and winemaker Ludovic was in fine form and full of jokes and tales whilst we slowly filled the tanker. Finally I made it back to the bottling plant to see the blend finished, quite a days work! The three wines have complemented each other superbly and this is a lovely little classic claret which I certainly will be investing in.


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