In case you thought Bordeaux was not chock full of enough fun during the first few days of the trip, a lot more excitement was sure to ensue in the coming days. This is part four, of the six-part series. It covers the action packed Tuesday during our week-long stay in Bordeaux, France. This particular day started off with the tell-tale lovely breakfast of course, at the cozy Château Fombrauge. Fresh meats, fruits, and juice were just the fuel I needed for the day ahead, as I knew it was going to be a great, but very full day indeed. The big difference on this day, was we were only going to be exploring two places. A tour of Château Fombrauge, where we had been staying, and a full day at Château Pape Clément afterward.
We promptly left the breakfast table with joy, and followed our guide, along with Hope Gee from Millésima, who was our hostess for the day. We started off with a walk of the grounds, including a historical perspective of the estate. We toured the cellar and tasted some lovely Grand Cru wines, as we had already been doing on the days prior. We were completely spoiled, if you had not noticed already! After a tour of the property, we were off to our only other place of the day to visit, Château Pape Clément, which is named after its most famous owner in history, Pope Clement V.
After a brief van ride to the Château in Pessac, we settled in nicely with a plethora of 2015 en primeur wines to savor and judge. We spent an hour or so tasting through the portfolio, consisting of whites, reds, and Sauternes. Boy, was it an oh so tasty experience! After all the wine tasting, we needed food to provide us some much needed energy, to cleanse our palates, and to keep us fresh. We partook in a lovely lunch on premise and shared witty banter all the while.
Once we were stuffed, the main festivities began. The entire afternoon was dedicated to learning all about the use of drones and horses on the property to assist in managing the vineyards. This drone is not one you see in people’s backs yards very often; this was a monster, and it was built for business. The flight demo was really entertaining, and we were able to look over some already printed graphs depicting vine and grape growth patterns and what not, showing the potential of this not-so-cheap toy. Did someone say toy?
Next, we were off to see how horses were utilized exclusively for viticulture practices. No tractors are employed at Château Pape Clément. The horses do all of the work in an attempt to stay as practical and green as possible. They let us participate in working with the horses a little too, which was totally cool. They employ several horses, and they all get weekends off to go out to pasture and they even have morning and afternoon shifts. The staff that works with the horses takes very good care of them, and we could tell every one of the horses were very happy to be on staff.
After loving on the animals some more, we followed one of the winemakers into the cellar for a complete tour of the winery. We sampled more amazing wines and even uncorked an old vintage wine, a 2006 white Bordeaux. Of all the wines we tried that day, it was by far my favorite of the bunch. The fruit was still very much alive, but some oxidation from aging had kicked in as well, offering complex flavors and a full mouthfeel. We had the opportunity to visit the wine shop on-site before dinner, and we proceeded to stock up on some lovelies to bring back home.
After a tour of the rooms at the Château and the rooftop deck, we headed over to a stunning building 50 yards or so away that was adorned with beautiful stained glass windows. This is where our evening would be winding down with a caviar and wine pairing, and a most divine gourmet dinner. The chef prepared several courses for us, and they each were paired with only the finest wines. Hugues D’Alès, development director at Château Pape Clément, joined us for dinner, and we shared some of the best stories and laughter we had over the entire trip. It would be extremely difficult to narrow down a single event that highlighted our week in Bordeaux, but this particular evening at dinner was a defining moment for me, and possibly the whole wine crew. We could not stop talking about how wonderful it was the entire ride back home to Château Fombrauge. Once back in St Émilion, we had our showers and hit the sack, in preparation for another action-packed day ahead of us on Wednesday.
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