Day Four: Exploring Bordeaux City

On our only full day in Bordeaux City, we started out by attending Mass at the pretty Notre Dame Cathedral just off the main plaza.

The Notre Dame Cathedral of Bordeaux.
The Notre Dame Cathedral of Bordeaux.

We then headed to lunch at La Brasserie Bordelaise.  The restaurant specialized in charcuterie and all sorts of amazing grilled meats – we found ourselves wishing we had a restaurant like it at home.  We were seated in the front part of the restaurant, but later discovered that there was a whole huge back section with private rooms.  Clearly, the restaurant must do well in the evenings.

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Restaurant La Brasserie Bordelaise.

Christina is a huge fan of Lillet, so she was enchanted by the display of this entire restaurant with window displays of Lillet bottles that we came across as we wandered through the city.

The whole restaurant was decked out like this - unfortunately it wasn't open and the other pictures didn't do it justice.
The whole restaurant was decked out like this – unfortunately it wasn’t open and the other pictures didn’t do it justice.

The fountains and monuments were beautiful.  There was a very unusual fountain with mists of water that shot out of the ground at regular intervals.  It was warm enough that people were simply sitting on the ground being sprayed by the fountain.

Misty fountain (probably not it's official name).
Misty fountain (probably not it’s official name).
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Beautiful monument.
The river was lined with these stately buildings.
The river bank was lined with these stately buildings.
A peek-a-boo view of another church.
A peek-a-boo view of another church.
Christina about to start shopping...
Christina about to start shopping…

At some point, Christina decided she really needed to shop – the close proximity to all the stores was killing her.  But it may have killed her even more to realize that 90 percent of the stores were closed on Sunday, though I was happy that it didn’t kill the wallet!

I had to settle for some window shopping as well – I have to say, there were some beautiful storefront displays.  We loved this champagne shop – sadly, we ran in exactly at closing time, so couldn’t stay!

An interesting concept - the store, Badie, has a champagne shop on one side of the street, and a wine shop on the other side.  Pretty cool.
An interesting concept – the store, Badie, has a champagne shop on one side of the street, and a wine shop on the other side. Pretty cool.

We had dinner that night at the rustic and charming La Tupina, a restaurant that had been recommended by two of our wine friends in Seattle, who claimed we absolutely could not miss the duck fat frites.  Suffering from a little palate fatigue, it appears we ordered wines by the glass that were not memorable, because we didn’t take a single note!

The open kitchen where meats were prepped and roasted.
The open kitchen where meats were prepped and roasted.
The famous duck fat frites.  Greg and Eric, this is for you!
The famous duck fat frites. Greg and Eric, this is for you!
The outdoor seating.
The outdoor seating.

Perhaps it was the effect of having meal after heavy meal, but Christina and I laughed out loud when a small motorbike appeared on the street outside the terrace of the restaurant with a large crate on the back marked “Sushi World,” which the delivery person took to the back kitchen door of the restaurant.

Christina shook her head.  “I never figured I’d be saying this while in Bordeaux,” she sighed. “But sushi sounds really, really good right now.”

On the way home, we couldn’t help but notice that the city is as beautiful by night as it is by day.  We certainly enjoyed our stay, and very much look forward to returning someday.

The Opera House.
The Opera House.
A hotel in the main square - can't remember the name now.
The Grand Hotel de Bordeaux in the main square .

Tomorrow, on the road again…

Marathon Dinner on Day Three: Le Chapon Fin in Bordeaux City

Our package with our tour company included a dinner at Le Chapon Fin,  the very traditional 1 Michellin * restaurant within walking distance of our apartment downtown.  Le Chapon Fin is also owned by Sylvie Cazes, the same woman who owned the travel company who was arranging our tours, so it’s no accident that the famed restaurant appeared on our itinerary.

The interior is very unusual, with rockery carved “caves,” a sort of lattice structure around the soaring high ceilings and an overall ambiance that made Christina giggle and declare that it felt like being inside a cross between a jewel box and a “Little Mermaid” movie.

The food, however, was no laughing matter.  This very serious meal in Chef Nicolas Frion’s restaurant began at 8:00 pm, and at nearly midnight, with still one more course to tackle, we finally cried “uncle” and they packaged up and sent the final dessert course home with us.

Our sommelier for the evening, Alexander, did a fantastic job of surprising us with one fun discovery and perfect pairing after another.  Here’s the wine line-up, and some photos of the fantastic food – we admit – there were a few delicious courses we devoured before realizing we hadn’t snapped a photo – and we truly lost count of how many courses there were!  These are not at all the exact food and wine pairings, but you’ll get the picture!

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2011 Bell-Air Blanc – white orchard fruits, clean sea air and a hint of gravel, crisp acids on the long fuit filled finish.  Great match with the razor clams.

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2010 L’Espirit de Chevalier – ripe melon, rounder in the mouth, but with lemon acidity keeping it lively, medium finish.

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2007 Luchey Halde – clean bright fruit with zippy acidity, very lively in the mouth with a medium-long lemony finish.  Excellent match with the smoked Maigre fish.

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2003 Cantemerle – rich red/black cherry fruit, tart acidity but with smooth tannins, long slightly over ripe fruit finish.  Tastes like a baked black cherry pie.

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2010 Luis Chez – St. Joseph – Big ripe blackberry fruit combined with spices, very good tangy acidity, long ripe fruit filled finish.

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2010 Nicholas Rossingnal – Pernand Vergelesses 1er Cru Fichots (Pinot Noir) – Sweet dark berries and baking spices, very good acid, long sweet black fruit finish.

2002 Doisy Verdrines – Nice ripe honeyed melon and a slight bit of mango, slightly cloyingly sweet, wish it had a little bit more acidity to counter the sugar on the medium finish.

Our apartment by night on the way home from a marathon dinner...
Our apartment by night on the way home from this marathon dinner…

I made Christina stop for a photo of the outside of our apartment at night on the way home – she was a good sport considering how tired we were from two nights in a row of decadent dinners!

Tomorrow, we explore more of Bordeaux…

Champagne High

Authored by Christina

We realize we’ve fallen behind in posting – with the holidays looming, we figure we’ll still be re-living our Bordeaux trip well into the new year!  But we have some pretty good excuses for our lack of posts – especially this past week.

Last Monday, we enjoyed a blind, pre-1990’s Bordeaux tasting with Bob’s wine group (thank you Bill Schallert!), and this weekend, we hosted our 17th Annual Champagne party, which also serves to kick-off the holiday season.  While we put these posts together, here’s a bit of back-reading on the philosophy behind the Annual Champagne Party, which was posted a few years ago by dear friend Jeanne McKay Hartmann on her beautiful I Dream Of blog.

Getting ready for the party.
Getting ready for the party…

Over the next week or two, we’ll be interspersing our Bordeaux recaps with highlights from our recent tasting adventures. Any guesses as to which champagne house came in first place in the line-up this year?  Spoiler alert – it was Bob’s favorite…we’d love to hear from those of you who were there about your favorites too!


New Insights in Beautiful Bordeaux City

Authored by Christina

On our way from Bages to Bordeaux we made a quick little stop in Labarde for lunch at the amazing Le Gare Gourmande.  It’s a restaurant converted from a train depot – tiny, but very well appointed.

La Gare Gourmande.
La Gare Gourmande.

For lunch we enjoyed a dish of shredded white fish with tomato confit with crushed potatoes  – it was very good, and apparently a popular dish, as we then saw versions of it on other menus, though this was the best one we tried by far.  Reminds me of a halibut with tomato confit that I make often at home from the famed Balthazar French cookbook.  Not hard to see the connection there.

The very compact kitchen.  The menu is very fixed - and very fine.
The very compact kitchen. The menu is very fixed – and very fine.
Oops!  We were a little hungry.  It was really good!
Oops! We were a little hungry. It was really good!

We arrived in Bordeaux in the early afternoon and located our apartment for the weekend.  It was right in the heart of downtown Bordeaux on the rue Esprit des Lois.  These accommodations were recommended by our “tour designer” at Bordeaux Saveur.  They called it La Villa Grands Cru; it’s the in-city home of a French cheese shop owner – that’s as much as we can say about that.  What we CAN say is that is was a beautiful apartment looking right down into the city, and a heavenly place to make our home base from, within walking distance of everything we wanted to see.

The view from our apartment window. - and a view of my favorite kind of souvenir.
The view from our apartment window. – and a view of my favorite kind of souvenir.

I made a beeline for my souvenir at Hermes, just mere blocks away (the store was only open that one afternoon we were in town).  We walked and shopped the first afternoon, with the only downside being that the shops actually close fairly early by American standards!

The top four windows are part of our home-away-from-home.
The top four windows are part of our home-away-from-home.
The stunning living space.
The stunning living space.
The great kitchen which we were itching to use, but alas, didn't have time!
The great kitchen which we were itching to use, but alas, didn’t have time!
A better view of the view from our apartment with the Opera House on the left.
A better view of the view from our apartment with the Opera House on the left.
Our apartment by night on the way home from a marathon dinner...
The apartment by night on the way home from a marathon dinner…

We were glad to have time to enjoy our beautiful home-away-from-home before dinner.  We also got the chance to meet the woman who had been coordinating the trip for us – the absolutely charming Clemence de la Ville.  She arrived by bike – seven months pregnant – glowing and gracious.  We were delighted to meet her, and at this point, we had a burning question for her.

“So, by chance Clemence, did you tell the estates that we have a blog?”  (Honestly, we weren’t sure how much blogging we would wind up doing, or whom we would tell about it at this point, as it was such a new thing for us.)

“Oh yes,” she said, without skipping a beat. “I sent it to all of them and told them that you were wine bloggers and would probably write about them.”

Oh.  Mystery solved.  You see, for the past day or so, people had started referencing the blog, and I kept telling Bob that it appeared they were giving us press kits when we left – not the usual marketing brochures.  After more than 20 years in Public Relations, it felt a little funny to be on the other side of the journalistic table – heck – many of our tours were led by PR people – but I also think that the blog led us to have some really rich and insightful conversations with people that we might not have otherwise had.

The blog was started as a way to put the results of our annual champagne party adventures up, and had been evolving into a way to share our wine experiences and recommendations.  I sent it to Clemence originally as background and a bio, really.  What then transpired in Bordeaux was a whole new level of storytelling responsibility, and we realized that we were more than up to the occasion, especially since I’ve spent my entire career setting up media tours, which was exactly what this had become!   Couple that with Bob’s more than 20 years collecting wine, and we realized that we actually make a pretty good team.  We know we have a lot to learn (like how to take better photos and to remember to photograph our food BEFORE we begin to eat it for starters!), but we’re grateful to Clemence for so innocently setting us on this path – we’re having a ball with it so far.

And now you know the rest of the story – and the reason why we feel compelled – and why we are quite enjoying – retelling our trip stories day-by-day, stop-by-stop, glass-by-glass.

Thanks for joining us on the journey!

Speaking of journeys – wait till you hear about our dinner that night…

The Morning of Day Three: Chateau Lynch Bages

We kicked off the weekend by checking out of our hotel to head into the city of Bordeaux.  But first, we headed to Chateau Lynch Bages to take a tour and participate in a blending session.

One of the very first Bordeaux wines that I ever had was a 1985 vintage of Chateau Lynch Bages from Pauillac.  I don’t remember the specifics of having that particular wine 22 years ago, but I became hooked on Bordeaux and Lynch Bages from that point on.  I have been a long time fan of Lynch Bages and have really enjoyed getting to know Jean-Charles Cazes over the last six years.  Chateau Lynch Bages makes big muscular cabernet dominant wines that become elegant with age and are classic Pauillac in style.

The stainless vats.
The stainless steel vats.
A barrel room.
The barrel room.

The wine style of the Chateau may be very traditional, but it uses state of the art technology (stainless steel vats, optical sorting) to help produce their wines, which is a real asset to ensure consistency.  Chateau Lynch Bages is one of the few Chateaux in Bordeaux to have their own bottling machines, as most rent bottling trucks – talk about a crazy business during the crush!

Lynch Bages is one of a few Chateau that has its own bottling equipment.
Lynch Bages is one of a few Chateau that has its own bottling equipment.

We also saw where they are producing their whites – the Blanc de Lynch Bages that we had enjoyed at a previous Bordeaux Fete wine dinner in Seattle.  It’s a wonderful wine – crisp, floral, bright fruit with juicy acidity and minerality – we bought a bottle on our way out of the Chateau – and happily drank it a few days later, wishing we could get more at home.

The tanks for the Blanc de Lynch Bages.
The tanks for the Blanc de Lynch Bages.

The Chateau also houses a small wine museum, where they keep old winemaking equipment as a nod to the not-so-far-off techniques of their winemaking past.  They joked that in a pinch, they could also roll out this equipment to help with a harvest should technology ever fail them!  The more rustic equipment was juxtaposed with very contemporary art, combining to make it a hip and cool viewing experience.

The old wooden vats.
The old wooden vats.
The wine making and art museum.
The wine making and art museum.  They say no one has fallen through the floor yet!

While we were at Chateau Lynch Bages, we had the opportunity to take part in a blending session.  We were given four wines of a single grape varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petite Verdot, all from the 2008 vintage and without any oak influence. These were the component parts of the 2008 Chateau Lynch Bages, and it was really interesting to taste them in their “raw” state, pre-blending.  Each varietal brings it’s own flavor profile and characteristics, from the mellow Merlot to the more wild Cab Franc.

The blending session.
The blending session.

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon – Deep red/black sweet dark cherry fruit, dry and very tannic.

2008 Cabernet Franc – Darker black fruit, wild, brambley, slightly sour and more acidic, very tannic.

2008 Merlot – Sweeter red fruit, rounded in the mouth, tannic but not dry.

2008 Petite Verdot – Darkest of the four, wild blackberry and spice, hint of tobacco, powerful, very dry and very tannic.

The four varietals - and the finished product!
The four varietals – and the finished product!

At the end of the blending session, we were given a taste of the 2008 Lynch Bages – the blend was made up of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petite Verdot, with aging in 75% new French oak barrels. The blend was so much better than any of the individual parts – and it gives you a real appreciation for the subtleties the winemakers are working with.  Here’s my review of that wine:

2008 Chateau Lynch Bages – Sweet dark blackberries, with a little bit of red pie cherries, rich spicy fruit flavors that were slightly dry and very tannic on the medium-long finish.  This is a very nice wine, but it’s still just a baby.

A few of us were then given the opportunity to try our own blends.  I decided to reduce the Cabernet Sauvignon, and pump up the Cabernet Franc, so I made a blend of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petite Verdot.  The results were a very dark wine of sweet black berries that were spicy, rounder in the mouth and with a smoother tannic finish.  Who knows how my wine would’ve aged, but you could definitely taste the difference a few small percentages in one direction or another makes – it’s certainly fun to experiment!

Next up, exploring Bordeaux city…

Day Two Dinner: Restaurant Cordeillan Bages – 2 Michelin *

Somehow, after our day of touring, we managed to grab a little time before dinner at the hotel.  But first, we wandered into the little town near the hotel that was constructed as an idyllic village – the little town of Bages.

The darling boulangerie in the town of Bages.
The beautiful boulangerie in the town of Bages.
We loved this clever doorway in Bages.
We loved this clever window in Bages.

The boulangerie there held a delightful assortment of cheeses, wines, pastries and nibbles.  But none so amazing (in my wife’s opinion), as the Foie Gras Chips.  If they weren’t so fragile, she would’ve smuggled them home in our bags.

Christina still dreams of these chips.
Christina still dreams of these chips.

We also forgot to mention the great Cafe Lavinal bistro in the heart of the town – we actually ate there the first night we arrived, but truth be told, we were so tired that Christina had to keep waking me up during dinner.

Cafe Lavinal - a classic french bistro.
Cafe Lavinal – a classic french bistro.
Another view of the Cafe.
Another view of the Cafe.
Even the gift shop was idyllic - and well stocked.
Even the gift shop was idyllic – and well stocked.
The front of our hotel, a very short walk from the center of town.
The front of our hotel, a very short walk from the center of town.
A view of the courtyard from our window.
A view of the courtyard from our window.

So, technically, on our second full day, but three dinners later, we found ourselves back at our hotel, the Cordeillan Bages, for dinner at their renowned restaurant, run by Chef Jean-Luc Rocha.  The moment you entered, you knew it was going to be a serious white-tablecloth dining experience.

Bob reading his favorite book - the restaurant wine list!
Bob reading his favorite book – the restaurant wine list!

We each had a different glass of champagne to start the evening, and then enjoyed a bottle of red from the Barton estates – we thought it fitting, since we had been there that morning.

The 2003 Languoa Barton.
The 2003 Langoa Barton.

2003 Langoa Barton – Sweet dark red/black fruit combined with baking spices and just enough good acidity to keep it all lively.  The tannins are mostly resolved and the wine has a nice long spicy fruit filled finish.  This is drinking very well right now and over the next decade.

Honestly, at this point, the food all runs together.  We had a fixed-course meal, and Christina declared my dish choices the winners, though they were all truly amazing, and the service was impeccable.

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The food was not only beautiful – like art on a plate, it tasted just as good as it looked.  I’m not ashamed to admit that after the cheese course, we had to call it a night and head straight to bed!  Too much to do the next day…!

Day Two, The Final Destination: Chateau Mouton Rothschild

Chateau Mouton Rothschild in Pauillac, is a large estate that definitely has the tourism part of the wine business in full gear.  Mouton Rothschild was the only Chateau that we visited in Bordeaux that was very commercial on the tourism front.  We were part of a large group touring the wine facility and there were several more large groups waiting.  Our guide was very knowledgeable and personable – and kind, considering we were running a bit late due to our lunch at Lion d’Or.  We drove ourselves on this trip, and all in all, we did fairly well, though we did have a bit of trouble staying on schedule here and there!

Christina at Mouton Rothschild.
Christina at Mouton Rothschild.

The estate is beautiful, but definitely of newer construction.  There’s a self-described focus on art and beauty, with zen-raked pathways and golden stone walls. Naturally, in deference to their labels which rotate art each year, Mouton Rothschild also has very nice museum on site that is worth seeing, though it takes a while to get through it in a group, so you want to plan accordingly.  We weren’t allowed to take pictures in the museum, so the picture of the famous Ram logo is the last we got before entering.

The Mouton "Ram" crest.
The Mouton “Ram” crest.

This clever chateau actually built windows into their wooden vats, so that they could have a better visual of the interiors.  We didn’t get the chance to inquire about why more chateau don’t do this, as it seemed like a smart – and useful – innovation.

The top of the vats at Mouton.
The top of the vats at Mouton.
The wooden vats as seen from above.
The wooden vats as seen from above.  The vertical slats are windows into the interior.

While at the Chateau, we were able to taste barrel samples of 3 wines from the 2012 vintage:

2012 Chateau d’Armailhac  – Subtle nose of red fruit, in the mouth tart red fruit with a slight green streak running through it, strong acidity and a dry tannic short finish.

2012 Chateau Clerc Milon  – sweet red/black fruit and coconut on the nose, with a little bit of green bell pepper.  Richer in the mouth, with medium dark fruits, a little wood, good acidity and a medium dry finish.

2012 Chateau Mouton Rothschild  – Richer dark Red and black fruit with a little charred oak on the nose.  In the mouth, rich red fruit combined with blackberries, smooth and full bodied, good acidity and a slight green bell pepper, rich red fruit flavors coming through again on the long dry tannic finish.

Bob in a cellar at Mouton Rothschild.
Bob in a cellar at Mouton Rothschild.

A Lunch to Remember: Restaurant le Lion d’Or

Authored by Christina

On our first evening in town, Jean-Charles Cazes from Chateau Lynch Bages had offered to set us up with a lunch at what he described as a very local restaurant.  He said they had a wine locker there, and that it would be hard for us to get in on our own because the owner was a bit particular, but that he would take care of it.  And he most certainly did.

When we arrived at the Lion d’Or, we were completely charmed by its quaint exterior. The interior was divided into two rooms with a small billiards table on one side.  We were greeted in French by a thin, bespectacled waiter who seemed somewhat disgruntled by our presence.  He led us to a table in a dark corner at the back of the restaurant, picked up a key from the table that was marked, “Lynch Bages,” and in a very authoritative voice (and broken English, bless him), said, “You may have ONE bottle of wine from the locker.”  Honestly, it was all we could do to keep a straight face.

The Lynch Bages wine locker at Le Lion d'Or.
The Lynch Bages wine locker at Le Lion d’Or.

I couldn’t resist following Bob into the other dining area where he was led to the Lynch Bages locker.  While Bob was discussing our wine choice with the waiter, the crowded table near the locker was inspecting Bob.  Suddenly, one of that party hopped out of their seat to take a picture of Bob removing a bottle.  At this point, I was about to start laughing out loud.

We got the distinct impression from the staff that we were interlopers, outsiders, but honestly, we were so charmed with the novelty of the experience, I think we managed to charm the staff right back.  We managed to muddle through the menu together, and order some outstanding food.  Duck confit, these little fried potatoes – not quite pommes frites, not quite waffle fries – so good.  But the star of the show was the wine.

You see, we had made a bit of a tactical error in our trip planning – or rather, our expectations of what we would be drinking.  We drink enough aged Bordeaux at home to know how we like it, but it’s a tough pill to swallow when you know what you paid for the wine you have aging at home, and then you see it on the restaurant menus for more than ten times the price.  And naturally, at the tastings, most of what were sampling was newly released – you could taste the potential in many cases, but that was about it.  Not a lot of serious drinking for the pure enjoyment of it.

The waiter had prompted Bob to select a bottle of 2001 Chateau Lynch Bages, and the moment we tasted the wine we were so grateful for it.  Bob has handled the technical aspects of the wine in his review below, all I can say is that the wine took me immediately to my Bordeaux happy place.  We smiled, and toasted Jean-Charles.  Suddenly, I understood why the waiter said we could only have ONE bottle!

Christina with the 2001 Chateau Lynch Bages.
Christina with the 2001 Chateau Lynch Bages.

2001 Chateau Lynch Bages:  Deep dark garnet color, with a very good nose of red/black fruit, baking spices, forest floor and a hint of charred wood.  In the mouth, deep rich flavors of blackberry and dark bing cherries, with medium acid keeping it all lively.  The wine is full bodied, broad and expansive on the pallet, with a great combination of spices on the velvety smooth long sweet fruit filled finish.  The tannins are mostly resolved and the wine is drinking very well at this point in time, but will continue to add more complexity over the next decade.  If you have this wine in your cellar, the hard part will be not drinking it now.  The 2001 Lynch Bages is very elegant and a truly classic Bordeaux wine.

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A nibble.

We later learned from other reviews of Lion d’Or, that the owner can be fairly temperamental.  Perhaps attitude is everything, or perhaps we got a good day.  At the end of our meal, the owner came out and sat at the table nearby, conversing in French with that group.  Then, turning to us, smiling and rubbing his generous belly, he asked us in broken English, “es good?”  We could only smile back our agreement.

Merci beaucoup, Jean-Charles!

Day Two, Stop Two: Chateau Lascombes

Chateau Lascombes is a beautiful, old, ivy-covered stone Chateau, but it is not one of the most widely known Chateau from the Margaux region.  Under new ownership in 2001, Chateau Lascombes changed how they were doing things in the vineyards and in the cellar.  They have made big improvements in their winemaking, especially since the 2004 vintage, which I think was their breakout year.  Lascombes was recently sold again in 2011, and currently employs Michel Rolland as a winemaking consultant.

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Christina and Bob Watt at Chateau Lascombes.

As explained by our tour guide, Benedicte, Chateau Lascombes is mixing both traditional and modern techniques in their winemaking, using large wooden vats as well as stainless steel, the use of dry ice in the fermentation process and gravity fed blending.  The Chateau uses a very modern looking Oxoline barrel racking system, where the barrels can be rotated in place.  The long Chai (barrel room) is very modern looking with its space age blue lighting.

Christina and Benedicte, our tour guide, in the Chai room with it's distinctive blue lights.
Christina and Benedicte, our tour guide, in the Chai room with it’s distinctive blue lights.

The wines that we tasted at Chateau Lascombes were the second label wine Chevalier de Lascombes from the 2007 vintage and grand vin 2002 Chateau Lascombes.

2007 Chevalier de Lascombes – Nice simple red fruit, very approachable, with good acid and a slight bit of tannin on the medium length finish.

2002 Chateau Lascombes – Darker, ripe black fruit with more complexity, good acidity and some tannin kicking in on the medium-long dark fruit filled finish.  This is a nice wine for the vintage, which was highly variable depending on the region and Chateau.

Chateau Lascombes is what I would classify as a more modern producer (in Bordeaux terms) for the region.  The wines tend to be a little more ripe compared to some in Bordeaux, but are not quite as ripe as what you get from California or Washington.  The wines of Chateau Lascombes are a little more approachable in a shorter time period than some of the other more traditionally-styled Bordeaux wines.

Our tour guide was very charming, and we learned that she had recently completed her degree in wine tourism.  Quite a few of our guides in Bordeaux had studied wine tourism and you could see from talking with them that they were very excited to bring more tourism to the Bordeaux region in general.  What surprised us was the actual lack of tourists in the Bordeaux region during crush time, as compared to say, Napa Valley in California which would be crawling with tourists during harvest.

Ironically, wine tourism in Bordeaux reminds me of wine tourism in the up and coming Walla Walla, Washington region at home. From what we could see, tourism is still just very young in Bordeaux.  Some Chateaux told us that they had actually only opened their doors to the public just two years prior, and most said that they began to be open to more than just the press and trade between five to eight years ago.   Though Bordeaux’s tourism business is still in the building stages, they seem committed to throwing the doors wide open, and we certainly experienced a very warm welcome.