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Château Raymond-Lafon, 2014 Update

Take a look at a map of Bordeaux’s vineyards and it is quite clear that it is not really that far from the city down to Sauternes. Despite this, fewer tasters than you would imagine venture south beyond the reaches of Pessac-Léognan to Graves and Sauternes. Indeed, fully aware of the place their wines in the eyes of many once they are lined up against the great red wines of the Médoc, each year the Sauternes members of the Union des Grands Crus conscript a Margaux château to host their primeurs-week tasting, fearful – I suppose – that visitors would not make the journey down to the Sauternes region.

Château Raymond-Lafon

So there is no real need to visit Sauternes, as you can taste most of the wines in Margaux, and Château d’Yquem will be poured for you by Pierre Lurton and his team at Château Cheval Blanc, provided you know the correct handshake and the appropriate sequences of nudges and winks. Nevertheless, I still love to drive down to Sauternes, for many reasons. If it is October (when I often visit the region) you might catch sight of a little botrytis on the vines, and see the careful harvesting, grape-by-solitary-grape. And during the primeurs you can taste Château Climens from barrel, a process that is informative, fun and educational all at once. And, of course, it means the chance to spend an hour with Jean-Pierre Meslier (pictured above), one of the most charming men in all Bordeaux, at Château Raymond-Lafon.

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