Bordeaux Chateaux. Here in the Gironde wine is part of everyone’s life. The Bordeaux wine industry is a €14.6 billion per annum business so, working in Bordeaux Châteaux, as counsel for a property, in wine tourism, manufacturing barrels, trading wine, selling vineyards …. In short, everyone has a link with the wine.
There is also another way to be related to wine that does not require such proximity to Bordeaux Chateaux and is shared by wine lovers all around the world…that is to enjoy the drink. Of course there are all the qualities of various wines and different appellations, which adds to the fun. That is why when we meet friends for an informal dinner most guests arrive with a bottle of wine as a gift. This bottle can come from their own Bordeaux Château, a local cellar who advised them or the neighbour’s property that produces this “small” rather lovely wine to share.
Then begins the “ballet of bottles” that is, the dance of exquisite tastes that emanates from each different wine throughout the evening. Each wine will be enjoyed, typically in small quantities one after another with appropriate food pairing and armchair commentary. French custom is to open the bottles provided by your guest early on so as to ensure that everyone feels that they are contributing to the gastronomic affair. The only exception is when the bottle is from a great year, in this case it is kept back for a head to head later in the evening. It is also customary to start with the “little wine”, the lightest and least prestigious and continue to a crescendo with the strongest and the best of the Bordeaux Chateaux. This habit therefore implies that your glass in hand you move from one bottle to another like moving around a party meeting different people throughout an evening. The difficulty for a neophyte is to keep up as a finished bottle leads to another full one ready to be tasted.
During these evenings most people are used to tastings. And the wine is tasted and analysed for its technical characteristics. It is presented with the appropriate vocabulary that can be gibberish to the uninitiated. It is also a surprise to see a person giving the name and vintage of the tasted wine tasting, or even the name of the Bordeaux Château. This is certainly interesting and impressive, but for a person who likes to try and “sip” wine to take the time to enjoy it, then it is difficult to keep updated on wine as the “judges” take it to court. Moreover, as many of us drink the same bottle, which is sometimes the only one, we each have a few sips of wine to be able to get an idea before the comments and judgements flow.
One of the great joys of living amongst the Bordeaux Chateaux is learning so much about wine and engaging in this ancient wine culture. It is certain that your education with local wine will grow gradually whether you like it or not because it is almost impossible to avoid wine especially during these evenings! You have the choice of white wine to red, but living in this beautiful region implies some interest in wine and if you so much as hint that you wish to learn – you will have a long line of people enthusiastic to tell you about each Bordeaux Chateau and the nuances of their offerings.