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Bordeaux 2022 Primeurs: St Emilion Grand Cru

Bordeaux 2022 Primeurs: St Emilion Grand Cru

Arriving at Château Cheval Blanc, the way was barred by a chain barrier. No problem, this is the norm outside the primeurs week, when every gate is permanently open (my appointment was the week before primeurs officially kicked off). I brought Twingo to a halt and pressed all the buttons on the intercom. When nothing happened I pressed them all again, harder this time. Eventually my random and repeated prodding resulted in a high-pitched dial tone, which was quickly answered.

Less than a minute later the chain had, by the power of magic (or possibly electricity and a remote switch) been lowered, and I was through.

There were no parking attendants here, this being a feature of primeurs week proper, so I whizzed past all the parked cars (which presumably belong to staff – they obviously have a lot of staff here) and found a space right at the end, closest to the château. Perfect!

Twingo was in there like a shot, almost on autopilot. It was only when I came to a halt I noticed it was an electric vehicle recharging bay, which perhaps explained why this prime spot remained unoccupied. “Oh well,” I thought out loud, “nobody is going to mind me parking here for half an hour.”

At this point I turned around to see a women glowering at me from behind the wheel of her large, black SUV. Sorry, large, black electric SUV. It was pointed at ‘my’ bay.

Restarting the engine I zipped out again, with a cheery wave which I am sure clearly communicated the words “I was just doing a quick three-point turn, no of course I wasn’t going to park there.”

Having given up my place so close to the château I didn’t feel like heading all the way back down the row of parked cars, so I put Twingo on the grass verge at the end of the parking zone. Perfect!

At this point I turned around to see a gardener glowering at me from atop the largest ride-on mower I have ever seen.

Engine on again. Wave repeated. I parked at the far end of the (long) row of cars, and walked back.

St Emilion 2022

It feels a little strange coming to Château Cheval Blanc in my third rather than my first St Emilion instalment, but it is what it is. The classification has changed. The quality of the terroir, the team running the vineyard and cellars, and the evident potential in the wines, however, has not. A few minutes after (eventually) parking up I discovered this for myself, as I found myself in the cellars, tasting the 2022 barrel sample – or should I say samples (oooh, intriguing! – although the above picture perhaps gives the game away) – with technical director Pierre-Olivier Clouet.

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