My Brother's Wine Cellar in Bordeaux

In Which:

Trish and Stan Learn New Things About Wine 
and Have a Great Time Doing It.

The French know how to live well. 
(Didn’t I say that before?)

The villages in Bordeaux are jam-packed with vineyards. 
There are 7 bottles on the table in front of us. 

Three of the people with us are winemakers. 
These are their wines. 

I love ALL of them.

There is a massive body of water in front of us, the Gironde estuary.
Where the Garonne and the Dordogne rivers meet.
We're in Blaye - near Bordeaux.

An old stone fortress - UNESCO Citadel of Blaye - on top of the hill.

A few excellent restaurants within its walls.

Below this building, my brother Tom has a wine cellar.

It's stocked with delicious wines:
Ones to drink now, keepers, magnums - reds, rosés, whites.

Upstairs is his apartment. 

Lovely, old stone and modern fixtures.

On the OTHER side of the big river is the Médoc. 

The more famous wines are there, the premier grand crus: 
Châteaux Latour, Lafite, Margaux, Mouton-Rothschild. 

I’ve learned I prefer the right side of the river.

Son Mikey checks out the current selection.

These guys are INTO wines. 

We swirl and sniff.
Discuss the world in a mixture of languages and vintages. 
Even the barrels and the corks are a specialty subject. 

Then the meals - delicious!

There are a few glasses on that table...

Course after course,.
Each paired with bottles of wines that we bring along under our arms. 
Everyone knows each other here. 

Twice a week, there’s a market.

The fruits are ridiculously beautiful and delicious. 
The cheeses are handmade. 

The seafood was swimming this morning. 

The sausages handmade, stuffed with olives, truffles, chanterelle mushrooms. 
(The one with the olives is my favorite.) 

Every vendor is an expert, and INTO what they do.

Did I even mention the oysters?
It's kind of a Sunday morning tradition. With champagne.

We learn about cheeses. 

Crêpes. Mussels. Oysters. 
And of course, wines. 

We tour wineries.

Some are family affairs, and we wind up sharing lunch under a tree. 

Then Stan plays music and he and Tom send off Tom’s drone in the vineyards. 

Lunch cooked by the winemaker on the open fireplace. 

Others are rather grand affairs.

What they all share is an incredible passion for making good wines.

Brother Steve from DC joins us, and Mikey and Iris from Berlin.
It becomes a family reunion. 

-Bring on another magnum and a couple dozen oysters! 

Don’t forget the fresh warm baguettes!

Did you know that Bordeaux wines don’t give you a headache the next day? 
Something to do with biodiversity, no sulfites, natural. 
But I’ll vouch that it’s true. 

Did you know it’s forbidden to water or fertilize or even to cover Bordeaux vines from hail? 

Nothing added. Nada. Niente. Nichts. Rien.

During the day, we take bicycles along the “rails to trails” system
The "Greenways".  Les "Voies Vertes".

Being old railway tracks, the trails are almost flat. 
This section is part of the Santiago de Compostela trail. 

Through vineyards and towns from the middle ages. 
Always with a good bakery and a few good restaurants.  

And somewhere, a bottle of good wine.

Maybe even a picnic.

Absolutely “magnifique”! 

Thanks, Tom!