The Bordeaux “101” and “201” trips exceeded our expectations and after traveling with you to Uruguay and Argentina, our expectations were high. We were not “newbe’s” to Bordeaux, but our previous unguided visit was years ago and our access to the wineries was much more limited. Just to have the access to over 30 different wineries and their owners, wine-makers, and expert staff was incredible. And as expressed by some, it was akin to a “boot-camp” drill – especially in light of the repetitive tours of winery facilities. Still there was enough variation in these to pique the interest of many of us – especially when viewing the unusual – like the winery using amphora-based fermentation/aging vats.
I’m not sure that I have achieved your goal of being able to tell what a Margaux tastes like versus a St. Julien, Pauillac or any of the other classifications given the more than 400 wineries in the Bordeaux appellation, but I did get a real feel for Bordeaux and an appreciation for how a “big” Merlot-based wine can taste – not withstanding the given bigness of the Cabs. We also came away with the knowledge that not all Bordeaux’s cost an arm and a leg – with many being quite affordable especially those not in the original 1855 classification who by definition must try harder. We will certainly keep an eye out for “Bordeaux bourgeois” and “petite chateaux” classified wines as these can be both highly rated and quite affordable. My only regret is the generally long lead time for bottle-aging some Bordeaux wines, but maybe this could be an incentive to my personal longevity? After buying a costly first or second growth, you simply have to stick around and see how it ages, no?
Who would have guessed that both Barbara and I would come home with an appreciation for non-gamey oysters! The gourmet meals have increased my appreciation for foi-gras – a short lived appreciation as is a delicacy soon-to-be forbidden in California.
Please keep us in the loop regarding future tours, who knows, you might schedule a visit to Italy or South Africa in the spring-time.
One thing I forgot and it’s important…I did not anticipate how loyal your customer base is…the fact that many of the tours groups were folks we had toured with before was incredible…not having to start from scratch with each couple/person made the tour like a family reunion…not that we ignored the new folks, and actually the new folks probably fit in to the family group easily…Bruce