Although it doesn’t feel like summer I have just checked my calendar and it is indeed July. In recent weeks the weather outside seems to have lurched from rain to a thick, grey, swirling fog, before swinging back to rain again, so it made sense to double-check just in case I had accidentally slept through summer and woken up in winter.
But no, it’s definitely July, and that means it is time to take my summer break. For three weeks I will sleep in a little later in the morning, as I take a temporary hiatus from updating Winedoctor and jet off to a sunnier clime. Well, it should be sunnier; to be fair it would surely be difficult to find anywhere with worse weather than we have had in the UK this summer. This really has to be the most miserable, dampy and foggy June and July that I can ever recall.
I’m off to Bordeaux in a few hours. Well, I try not to stray too far from the vine if I can help it. I’m really looking forward to it; the break will be very welcome, and the family time valuable. But so close to the vineyards of Bordeaux it’s only natural that I might want to do a little exploring and investigating, and so there are one or two appointments in the mix of holiday activities currently planned.
My appointments are a mix of familiar friends and new faces; the former domaines I know well, the latter estates with which I’m less familiar. I will be kicking off in a couple of days with Jacques Guinaudeau of Château Lafleur (pictured above), definitely a new face. Although I have met Jacques before, and visited Lafleur before, my time there was short, and I’m hoping to acquire a richer knowledge of the domaine on this visit. I’m also off to Tertre-Roteboeuf to meet François Mitjavile, another estate I am not particularly familiar with, and although I’m well acquainted with the wines of Château Teyssier, I am not so experienced with the rest of the Jonathan Maltus portfolio (Le Dôme, Les Asteries, etc.), so I’m looking forward to meeting Jonathan.
My other visits are to estates with which I am more familiar, and some I have visited before. These include in Sauternes Yquem, Coutet and Clos Haut-Peyraguey (and I have some free time there, so other suggestions are welcome), and in Pessac-Léognan I’m off to Château Brown (hopefully for a retaste of the 2010 Château Brown Blanc, which seems to have cleaned up in the UK-based wine competitions this year with a white Bordeaux trophy in the Decanter World Wine Awards and the International Wine Challenge). And between France’s two great rivers lies Château Bauduc, run by Gavin Quinney, who I will also be visiting.
I’ve avoided the Médoc because the location of my accommodation is best suited for the right bank appellations and Graves & Sauternes. And I suspect I will be returning to the Médoc before the year is out anyway. So far I haven’t made any appointments during the third week, but I’m sure that will change. And if you think the timetable looks light, don’t forget this is meant to be a holiday as well! Tasting and visiting every day just isn’t an option. An evening at Au Bonheur du Palais, the restaurant I mentioned in yesterday’s Cheval Blanc & Brown report, is an option though. If only I could remember the time and date of my reservation……
Depending on internet access I may pop up here on the Winedr blog from time to time, or on Twitter, otherwise until Winedoctor updates resume on August 6th it is au revoir from me.