(To those looking for it, and those not, keep reading for the *extra summer wines list*)
I’ve been in Bordeaux all week. Again. But for the first time in many, many visits, I’ve been staying in the city itself. What a fun place. What a beautiful place. I loved it. Obviously, it helped that it was hot. It always helps when it’s hot. I only had one free hour to explore the city but loved wandering through its squares; along the quai past skateboard parks, fish vans and pavement cafés; splashing through the mirror pool (above) and checking out the pop-up restaurant festival in the Allées de Tourny.
I spent the rest of the time whisking in and out of chateaux, tasting with a group of Daily Telegraph readers who all fell in love with Christian Seely at Pichon Baron, tasted like demons all week, and poured themselves second helpings at Chateau d’Yquem (I think they asked. I hope they asked). We had the best time.
Most surreal moment: Over lunch, as the group obsessed over *how exactly* optical sorting machines, which separate the good grapes from the bad, function, and rounded on one gentle reader.
Group: “Edwin, you’re a physics lecturer, you must know how it works.”
Edwin [abashed]: “But my field is relativity.”
Most joyful moment: Opening the wines I’d picked for a tasting on the last evening and finding that the Alter Ego 2011 from Chateau Palmer is looking really good. And that it reeks of crushed violets. “Yes! So much that I thought I’d spilt perfume on my sleeve,” said someone.
Silliest moment: There were a few of these. Getting over-involved with the bells at Angelus in St Emilion, which can chime any national anthem was one. James Bond drinks Angelus in Casino Royale. I don’t see him spending as much time playing around with the chimes remote control as we did.
Current wine moment: I have come home hankering – again – for a fridge full of bordeaux whites. The sauvignon-semillon blend is just so graceful and refreshing. Here are three, and if you want the *Extra Summer Wines List* as mentioned in the Telegraph then leave a comment on this post asking for it and I will email it to you. Last lists will go out at the end of Wednesday 1st July.
THREE BORDEAUX WHITES
GRAVES EAT YOUR HEART OUT Chateau Beaumont Les Pierrières Blanc 2013 (13%, Lea & Sandeman, £8.50/8.95) White Bordeaux is hugely under-rated and this one’s a cracker. It tastes like a miniature fine wine at an ordinary wine price. The grapes come from Blaye and Bourg, and because white is picked earlier than red theres just time to ferment them in barrels and whip the wine out again so the barrels are freed up for the red Ch Beaumont. Result: a sauvignon-semillon blend that taste like baked red grapefruit and cooked lemons with a subtle touch of wood smoke. Love it.
Chateau Martinon Entre Deux Mers 2014 Bordeaux, France (12.5%, The Wine Society, £7.95) Very pretty, quite spiky, sharp and lemony white wine, made not just with semillon (which forms the majority) and sauvignon blanc but also some nettley sauvignon gris and floral muscadelle so that along with the citrus you have a summer lane-edge of scent. No oak. Clean and bright.
Clos Floridene Graves Blanc 2012/3 Bordeaux, France (13%, Co-op, £17.99)
Denis Dubourdieu is quite a name in Bordeaux, especially when it comes to white wine, and this is one of his. Particularly enjoy the higher than usual proportion (47%) of semillon. The rest is mostly sauvignon blanc but there’s a touch of muscadelle too. Oaked but supremely elegant. Filigree.