And it’s all about Saint Estèphe and Pauillac with a splash more of Margaux and St Julien.
First stop Cos D'Estournel in the cold and rain, but showing SO well.
Saint-Estèphe seems much lighter this year. Still robust, but with intensity, not power and concentration. Refined and beautiful with grace and elegance, fresh red fruit and ultra fine tannins. Brilliant.
Nip down the road to Mouton Rothschild where we spend an abnormal amount of time discussing how the French really can't grow grass in the same way as the English (it always looks like AstroTurf). We take the traditional, if ridiculous, trip in a golf cart through a couple of rows of vines to the tasting room. More jolly lovely wines. Well, what do you expect from Mouton?
Back up to Lafite Rothschild and their smart new tasting room stuffed with reams of the English wine trade chatting through the wines like noisy magpies. Some old friends, so always good to catch up, gossip, exchange opinions, laugh at red trousered merchants and get on with some serious tasting.
Next to Château Lafon Rochet for another large tasting. This time the Pauillac Grand Crus and over 20 wines on show. I confirmed some real standouts: Pichon Baron, Pichon Lalande, Lafon Rochet and Phelan Segur among others.
French plumbing then came into play - I'm not entirely sure why they thought that 2 loos would be enough for the hordes of people streaming through. But a large boggy patch appeared beneath the gravel drive and it was politely suggested that I might use the facilities at my next château... legs crossed and onward.
The lovely Pontet-Canet followed where I managed to mistake my host for an old friend and then in my embarrassment threw wine over his immaculate trousers . I turned beetroot while he couldn't have been more polite. Thankfully, the tasting then proceeded perfectly as I could honestly praise his wine to the skies.