Saturday, June 27, 2009

In Bordeaux, VinExpo Calls for VinPartytime

By day, they manned booths, walked miles of exhibit floors, poured wines or tasted them and took part in discussions about the current State of the Vin -- but at night, last week at VinExpo2009, the Bordelaise and their guests from around the world partied on!

Like most guests, I had more invitations than I could accept. I missed some good parties, such as the Grand Crus dinner at Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, because I needed to recoup after a tour of Cahors that bumped into VinExpo week. Nine hours of sleep later I was ready to go again.

But I managed to catch some good times as well. First there were annual induction ceremonies such as the ones held by the St.-Emilion Jurade Fete de Printemps (I was honored to be inducted into the society) and the Commadeurs du Bontemps' Fete de la Fleur at Chateau d'Issan on the last night of the exhbition. During the reception for the fete, I paparazzied my hostess for the week, Anabelle Cruse Bardinet, proprietor and winegrower at Chateau Corbin, the blonde in the shot upper left along with her friend Isabelle Perrin of Chateau Carbonnieux.

Then there was the lovely luncheon hosted by Pierre Lurton at Chateau Cheval Blanc (photos below). While munching and sipping, some of us wondered how many cases more of Cheval could have been produced if the lawn where we were eating had been planted to vines instead. Lunch at Chateau Lagrange featured an excellent show-and-drink presentation by director Bruno Eynard of the terroirs and tastes of the estate's various plots and how he blended wines from them to make 2008 Chateau Legrange, which is still in the barrel.

Olivier and Anne Bernard have the reputation of being among the best hosts in Bordeaux, and they kept their record intact with a rollicking outdoor reception and tented dinner at their Domaine de Chevalier for the annual "Tour de France" event with seven winemaking partners (think Pol Roger, Leflaive, Faiveley) from around the country. At Chateau Lassegue, Pierre and Monique Seillan hosted a Bordeaux barbecue (partner and horseman Jess Jackson was a scratch) with tours of the vineyard in classic American sports cars and country music by the Rusty Pants (it must lose something in translation). The fiddler (upper right) may be pure French, but she sure played great downhome American music.

But the highlight of the week just might have been a private tour of Le Pin by owners Jacques Thienpont and Fiona Morrison. Le Pin is an unmarked, small, unpretentious country house, but its basement cellar helped launch the garagiste movement that was instrumental in changing how Bordeaux grew grapes and made wine and is also the source of one of the world's greatest, rarest, most expensive wines.

I'll diet tomorrow.

Until next time...

Roger Morris

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