Château La Conseillante

Lunch had been the usual hurried affair, a few tasty morsels gulped down while standing at the table, a glass of refreshing sparkling water in hand. This is so often the case during the primeur tastings, despite the ‘party’ image that this annual Bordeaux taste-fest of the latest vintage tends to conjure up. At lunch, a little revitalisation and rehydration is all that I look for; the dash from one dégustation to the next, from one château to another, leaves no time for leisurely repasts. Not if I am to have enough time to taste and mentally digest a representative selection of the latest vintage’s samples, at any rate.

This hasty but much-appreciated lunch was at Château La Conseillante, which was hosting the Pomerol tasting for the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux (hence the provision of a little lunchtime fare) during the 2010 primeurs week, in April 2011. The Pomerol tasting is usually a quick one, as there are not many Union members in this appellation (and, it has to be said, even fewer since the Nicolas family decided, a few years later, that they too would distance themselves from UGC activities). Back in 2011 though they were happy hosting not only their Pomerol colleagues, including Château Clinet, Château Beauregard and others, but they were also celebrating 140 years of family ownership with a tasting of older vintages, back to 1945, this second tasting running alongside the primeurs. Eager to fit this unanticipated event into my schedule (it was an opportunity not to be missed – such old vintages are especially rare in Pomerol, where few châteaux have libraries of ancient vintages) there was now a second reason to gulp down my lunch.

Château La Conseillante

The Nicolas family were quite right to celebrate. Ownership by family is, among the leading estates of Bordeaux, increasingly rare. This is certainly so on the left bank, where the grandeur and the scale of many of the estates has attracted outside investment.

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