A Tasting at Château Preuillac, 2011

The light was beginning to fade as I headed north out of Sauternes; fortunately the weather was good and skies overhead clear, and so I made good progress north for my last appointment of the day. It’s not until you get behind the wheel in Bordeaux that you really begin to appreciate just how vast a region this is; journeys between even just the best known communes – St Emilion, Sauternes, St Estèphe and so on – can involve several hours behind the wheel. Once you start adding in the more peripheral appellations, the more northern reaches of the Médoc, Sainte-Foy de Bordeaux and similar to the east or Blaye and Bourg on the right bank, journey times soon become intolerable.


Small wonder then that as I approached Lesparre-Médoc, after about ninety minutes at the wheel, day was certainly giving way to night. The darkness settled around my little hire car as we buzzed and bounced along the narrow country roads, guided only by my trusty sat-nav on which I confess I am becoming increasingly dependent – especially when rushing from one appointment to the next on a hectic day of tastings. I made a small detour into Ordonnac to take a look at Château Potensac; I’ve tasted this wine many times, and even maintained a small stock of the 1996 for a while, but this was my first glimpse of the château itself, most of my encounters having been when tasting at Léoville-Las-Cases during the primeurs. The château is really nothing more than a small, low-slung chai, although the associated chapel, lovingly restored by the Delon family, is something to look at even if rather chunky in style; a fitting allegory for the wine, perhaps?

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