No. 214-215: Bordeaux Wine Country and Château Moulin Riche
In water one sees one’s own face, but in wine one beholds the heart of another…
Of course, the main reason to make the trip to Bordeaux is to taste, savor and purchase the regions fermented gold. The wine certainly is divine là-bas, and we did our fair share of goûter(-ing) some very fine wine in Bordeaux and the surrounding areas.
I already have a formidable Bordeaux wine connection à Paris (my sweet friend, Hélène), and I was excited to visit some of her recommended vineyards. Per her advice, we started our tasting in the Médoc region at the Château Maucaillou Moulis-en-Médoc.
Maucaillou, short for mauvais cailloux or bad pebbles, as the farmers of the Middle Ages deemed the land on which they could not get their important cereal and grain crops to sprout no matter how hard they tried, turns out not be such a bad patch of land. In fact, the mauvais terroir has become the perfect environment for producing some “highly expressive” wines. And, Chateau Maucaillou is the perfect place for a novice to learn about grapes, terroir, aging and tasting. The Château offers a 30-minute film (with English subtitles) explaining the winemaking process from field to bottle, followed by a tour and a (limited) tasting.
From Médoc we headed to a couple of other appellations, Pauillac and Margaux and sampled some more world famous wines. In Margaux we stumbled upon a small cave hosted by an amiable vintner who introduced me to the appellation, Saint Julien-Beychevelle, and the first wine that I have ever gone gaga for. En franglais, she patiently explained the unique and surprisingly complex terroir of this particular appellation and château that gives the wines so much character. After tasting three different offerings (and after three years of dropping in and out of wine tasting courses), I finally had an “ah-ha” moment, and completely flipped for a 2009 Château Moulin Riche. I don’t have the kind of money to become a wine snob, but if I did, the Moulin Riche is where I would be hanging out.
As it was, I talked Superman into buying one bottle for a special occasion, and we continued on through the rolling hills and vineyards along the rivers of Aquitaine. En route we visited the Louis Vuitton’s teensy-weensy château and mugged for the camera on his family home’s doorstep. We sampled some Frank Phélen from Saint-Estèphe, and ended the day with some heavenly full-flavored Pomerol mis en bouteille au Chateau Sablard du Grand Moine.
It was a perfect day in every way. I’m not sure how I came to be living this remarkable life. But I am grateful for every day, every hour, and every single minute. This break in Bordeaux’s wine country was certainly no exception. Chin chin Superman! Thanks for all you do and all you bring to our life in France.