06 June 2015

Brother Tom has a Wine Cellar in Bordeaux! The French Report: Part I

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 river in front of us, and an old stone fortress on top of the hill, with a few excellent restaurants within its walls.

Below this building, Tom has a wine cellar, stocked with delicious wines, magnums, keepers, drinkers - reds, rosés, whites.

Upstairs is his apartment, lovely, old stone and modern fixtures.

On the OTHER side of the big river in the Médoc are the more famous wines, the premier grand crus: Châteaux Latour, Lafite, Margaux, Mouton-Rothschild. I’ve learned I prefer this side of the river.

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!

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 one is an expert, and INTO what they do.
Did I even mention the oysters?
We learn about cheeses. Crêpes. Mussels. Oysters. And of course, wines. We tour wineries, some of which are simple family affairs, and we wind up eating 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 French vines from hail? Nothing added. Nada. Niente. Nichts. Rien.

During the day, we take bicycles along the “rails to trails” system, which I love. Being old railway tracks, the trails are almost flat. It's 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.

Absolutely “magnifique”! 
Thanks, Tom!

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