I really can’t abide hanging around waiting for things to happen. Time spent kicking my heels is time lost, and this is especially true when visiting a wine region, the Loire, Bordeaux or otherwise. I don’t fly over to Bordeaux so I can spend half the morning in bed, and so days on which the first appointment is not scheduled until 10am, or even later, feel to me like days half-wasted. And so I was delighted to be here at Château Talbot at 9am – bright and early in most people’s books, and good enough in mine – for my first tasting appointment of the day on this trip to Bordeaux in late 2011.
I brought my hire car to a halt at the gates, which were securely locked by an electromagnetic mechanism, and pressed the intercom button for the bureau. A minute or so later, with no response, I tried again. Then I tried the button for the régisseur. Again, no response. Hmmm… this was strange. Perhaps they were all still in bed?
Step one was to try at the other gate, visible on the far side of the estate; and again, here I thumbed the buttons first for bureau and then the régisseur. Again, no answer. Step two was to try at the end of the château, where building work – no doubt representing the reinvestment of profits made with the sale of the 2009 and 2010 vintages – meant a temporary side entrance had appeared. Unfortunately it was not for breaching, and so I continued on.
After skirting the perimeter of the estate I found a gate around the very back of the property that was slightly ajar. Easing my way in, I found myself in a courtyard at the very back of the château. I shouted a greeting (in my best Franglais, naturally), but as you might have anticipated by this point in my story there was again no response; it seemed as though the château was completely deserted, even though I could see ahead that the doors at the back of the château looked to have been left open.