Thursday, April 07, 2011

Margaritas and Montecristos in the Medoc with Monsieur Lapin

Totally on the wine trail, albeit a ways from Italy. It has been three days non stop in Bordeaux with the 2010 en primeurs. And what a packed three days on the Left Bank in the Medoc it has been. From Lafite to Latour, Margaux, Mouton and many more, tasting the new vintage and assessing the pageant that emanates from one of the centers of the wine world.

What is one to do after such an intense period? Our hosts at Chateau Larose-Trintaudon got wind that one of our party was craving rabbit, so their Portuguese saint, Maria, who has been at the chateau since 1968, prepared a most wonderful rabbit baked with mustard, a classic of the region.

Before that though, traveling colleague and master sommelier, Guy Stout, went to the local market and brought back to the chateau all the fixings for Margaritas. What better way to break down the massive tannins from a great vintage (the 2010) but with a classic Texas cocktail for our French hosts?

Patrick Rolland, our affable host and the director of the estate, rolled through downtown Bordeaux and brought back a box of Cuban cigars, very much legal in France. My favorite, the Montecristo #2 was part of the booty and along with a snifter of XO Cognac, our hard working crew kicked back in the man-cave in the chateau and had an evening to relax and prepare for more tasting the next day.

And where are we headed? None other than the right bank, where we will sample Saint Emilions and Pomerols, like Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Pavie-Macquin, Vieux Certan, LaFleur, Le Pin and Petrus.

I am wondering if the Right Bank will show wines with even more extraction and tannins than the Medoc, which considering this vintage is being perceived as another great one, will test my Cal-Ital palate to the limits. I am after all one who loves white wines and softer reds. But this is part of the day job, so no complaints from me. We're hitting it hard, but this is one of those times to get together in one place and see what the wine god did in one of the most revered wine regions of al time. And whether you like them or not or find yourself in another camp, maybe the naturels or the amphoras, this is where a lot of the decisions are made that move the business of winemaking forward.

The next report hopefully will find me back on the wine trail, in Italy, where Vinitaly is gearing up and another pageant is rapidly unfolding. And while I am moving as fast as a rabbit, I have tons of pictures and notes for future posts, should anyone care.

On to Italy...

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