Thursday, 19 April 2012

UGC Bordeaux Trip - Days One and Two, by Alex Robertson

The Bancroft Fine Wine Team recently embarked on the annual trip to Bordeaux to taste the latest En-primeur vintage.  With low expectations of the 2011 vintage, we knew the trip would be a very different affair to 2010 where we were spoiled by superb wines across the board.  So with four days to taste over 250 wines, our first visit was Château d’Yquem, a surprisingly informal tasting and a sensational start to the trip. 

Ch. d'Yquem

The first day, despite the 4am start, was relatively easy going with enjoyable tastings at Ch. Smith Haut-Lafitte and Ch. Haut-Brion in the afternoon.

Ch Smith Haut-Lafitte

To top off the day, we were invited to the beautiful château of Pichon-Lalande for dinner and some of the finest wines of the trip. 1985 Pichon-Lalande being the showstopper of the night!

Ch Pichon-Lalande

Day two was back to the high speed tastings that one expects at the UGC tastings. Our first visit was Ch. Lafite at 9am with Ch. Montrose, Cos D’Estournel, Ch. Pontet-Canet, Ch. Mouton-Rothschild and Ch. Grand-Puy-Lacoste to follow before lunch. Each appointment had its own style.  Lafite’s tasting was in a long room with quite a few other groups, including a couple who thought gold puffer jackets were the normal attire for the occasion.  Mouton-Rothschild loaded us up in golf buggies for a wild ride up to the new cellars. 

Ch Mouton buggies
Ch. Mouton
And we were very warmly welcomed by the inspirational Alfred Tesseron to one of the star visits of the trip at Ch. Pontet-Canet, with grand views of the vineyards being worked by the horses. I believe one of them was called Turbo, or perhaps it was Gordo.  Either way they were doing a fine job of Mr Tesseron’s vines.

Horses at Ch. Pontet-Canet

The Bancroft Team with Alfred Tesseron
A quick lunch fuelled us for an equally busy afternoon tasting St. Juliens.  Each Bordeaux trip would be incomplete without a visit to The Butchers Bar, our favourite meat and beer recovery joint.  It’s a meat lover’s happy ending to a long day tasting young barrel samples. We merrily indulged in a massive Rib of Beef and a bottle of Ch. Clerc Milon 1985. Bliss!

Written by Alex Robertson, Fine Wine Sales

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