Our last day in Bordeaux was bound to be a great one, but it started off with a panic. I woke in the morning remembering some of the wines that we had collected from the Left Bank and realized that I never saw them in the blind tasting. Somehow in the collected mass of wines at Wayne’s shop we had missed six wines and now we had to do another blind tasting of these six before we started on our tasting of the Right Bank.
I went to the Brasserie at the Relais de Margaux and fortunately one of the guys whom I’ve know for several years was working as the manager. I asked him if we could set up a blind tasting in the restaurant just prior to lunch and he loved the idea. I retrieved the wines from Waynes, told the group what had happened and what we would do and we assembled for our pre-lunch blind tasting – pictured above in the right column. We tasted the six wines and two of them blew me away. I was really glad I had remembered them but disappointed that we didn’t taste them with the others. We then went outside to the patio overlooking the golf course and had the wines with lunch. Once again, the wines were even better with food and now we have a very good showing from the Left Bank for the club.
All this tasting wine and eating was exhausting and everyone was tired so we took the rest of the afternoon off. Around 4:00 we assembled again at Cave L’Avant Garde to taste the twenty-one Right Bank wines we had collected. We usually have a point scale for our blind tastings like Parker or Wine Spectator but this had become a little cumbersome when tasting the Left Bank wines so I changed the format a little for the Right Bank. I told the group that really my scale is this: OMG, WOW, Great, Good, OK and Oh My NO!. Only OMG’s and WOW’s are worth considering for the club but you really don’t know until you taste them with food so anything on the bubble we will take to dinner. I’m not doing reviews of a ton of wines that will appear on shelves so it’s really not important what I think about a wine I’m never going to put in the club. The only thing that really matters is that I find a wine I will send to our members. I’m picking wines for the club and only wines that really impress me make the cut so this is a great evaluation scale. This made our tasting much more simple and direct. If a wine didn’t blow us away we didn’t consider it. Of the twenty one wines, four made the OMG or WOW category. This combined with the wines from the Left Bank and a couple we picked last year will make an outstanding selection for 2017.
We took twelve wines to dinner (including some “Great’s” that were on the bubble of being WOW’s) at the Relais de Margaux, and it is always amazing how some do better with food and some do worse. We loved Pierre-Emmanuel’s wine as well as Patricks and the ones from Bourseau so it was great to take the covers off the bottles and see that we loved a wine that we had visited. We are in great shape for 2017 and will have another amazing collection of wines for our members.
At dinner we discussed the week and the “best and worst” of our time together. We finished the evening again with a glass of Sauterne on the deck, but it was cloudy so we couldn’t see the rising moon; we had to just enjoy the Sauterne. It had been a wonderful week and I am glad my friends from the US got to meet and enjoy my friends from Bordeaux. I’m glad they got to be part of the whole wine searching/tasting experience and it was really fun to share it with them.
The next morning I left on an early train to meet Deb for the rest of my time in France and reflected back on a fantastic week. It was a wonderful time filled with great people, and great wines. I think back on Thomas, Pierre-Emmanuel, Patrick, Marie-Dominique, Laurent, Stefan, Christine, Guillaume and of course Wayne and Cathy – without whom we couldn’t do any of this. I think back on some of the truly amazing wines we’ve collected in the past ten years. The ’09 and ’10 Pierhem, the ’05, ’06 ’09 and ‘-10 Reclos, the ’08 Vieux Mallet, the ’05 and ’09 St Brice, the ’08 and ’09 Tour Bicheau, the ’06, ’08, ’10 Bourseau, the ’11 Clement St Jean, all of the Beau Rivage’s and Clos la Boheme’s and many more I’m not thinking of right now; the list goes on and on. I’m sure you have your favorites and I look forward to adding many more to that list.
It’s really incredible that I get to do this, and as I look back on the past ten years I continue to be amazed and I’m already looking forward to next year. Thank you for making it possible.
But it didn’t end here. I found two more wines in my travels that are amazing and I’l tell you about them in the next newsletter.