Bordeaux 201: “More like Graduate School!”

By May 27, 2012Winemakers
Robert M. Parker Jr. at Valentino in Las Vegas...

Robert M. Parker Jr. at Valentino in Las Vegas for a special wine tasting. He was charming, self-efacing, and completely down-to-earth! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So said Neill Bassford, co-owner of Elk Run Vineyards in Maryland, veteran tour alumnus and one of the participants in our recently ended Bordeaux 201. Let me emphasize that this was notour typical Wine Lovers Tour where we balance wine, food and culture. This was serious wine business where we visited 18 top Médoc wineries and had lunch at 5 of them. And all of us came away with a much better understanding of what  wines of the

Médoc are all about. So next time Robert Parker comments that “this wine is more St Julien-like,” we’ll know what he’s talking about.

As I sit on the balcony of our hotel in Paris,  I would like to summarize the essence of what the 13 of us learned:

1. Some wineries are reverting to concrete fermentation vats while others are sticking with traditional wood vats or stainless steel vats.

2. Some wineries blend just after fermentation and before barrel aging; and others blend after the fermented wine has aged in barrels;

3. Crus bourgeois is where to look for great Bordeaux wine values in the Médoc as well as petit chateaux in the other regions. nb. COSTCO bought the entire ’09 vintage of Chateau Pitray Cotes de Castillon

4. Overall conclusion: since all of the wines we tasted were great, it doesn’t really make much difference what techniques are used, in the hands of a great winemaker.

I invite you to check  all our other blogs from Day One of Bordeaux 101, and also to view all the other photos we’ve been adding. And let me end with the poem created at the very end of our tour by Bob Cecil, also of Elk Run Vineyards:

May your baguettes be fresh

May your wine always flow.

May your fromage be stinky

And your euros low.


Vin Marottoli

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