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Bordeaux 2022 Primeurs: Pessac-Léognan, White

Bordeaux 2022 Primeurs: Pessac-Léognan, White

“We spelled your name incorrectly”, confessed Fabien Teitgen, technical director of Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte, nodding towards the labels of the sample bottles.

It was true, as the closing ‘k’ had gone walkabout. It should read Kissack (I thought I should point that out just in case you were labouring under the impression that my name is Winedoctor).

Pessac-Léognan 2022

I smiled in response. Nobody stumbles over Robinson, Martin, Parker or Galloni (although it might be that I had to check one of those), but with a name like Kissack misspellings are inevitable. When I first moved to Scotland eighteen years ago I started receiving post with the wildest misspellings imaginable; sensible attempts such as Keswick were soon outclassed by the likes of Kizik, Kiss-Sack and Kissachick. Seeing this was becoming a trend, I started cutting them out and sticking them on my office door; before long there were a dozen of us in there, all sharing one small office, in clear contravention of all health and safety rules.

So Kissac seemed pretty tame. Besides, I think we can squeeze in desk number thirteen over by the window.

Weird surname spellings are one thing. Weirder is the fact that many French people address me by post or email not as Chris, but as Kris. For years I wondered why, before I eventually realised it was down to my remarkable likeness (ahem!) to a certain American actor and country singer. I now call it the Kris Kristoffersen Effect. Indeed, when in Bordeaux I am often stopped by passers-by, as I trudge up the latest immaculately raked gravel path towards yet another teeth-staining tasting of tannins, only to be asked “Aren’t you that guy who starred as Martin ‘Rubber Duck’ Penwald in the 1978 movie Convoy, alongside Ali MacGraw and the great Ernest Borgnine in the part of Sherriff Lyle ‘Cottonmouth’ Wallace?”

The first time I confess I was taken aback by this remarkable display of off-the-cuff movie knowledge (either that or I was speaking to the ghost of director Sam Peckinpah) but these days I have become accustomed to the question.

“10-4” is my customary reply.

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