The other day I received a touching letter, to which I could not help answering, although my answer, of course, was not satisfactory. I quote a fragment of the letter: “I adore wine and do not lose hope of ever understanding it. So you want a leisurely journey, from one glass to another, pleasantly empty tasting rooms, interesting stories and walks through the vineyards. But finding a person or agency capable of organizing all this turned out to be a big problem. For about a month now I’ve been shaking up the Internet and talking to agencies, but the results plunge me into complete despair. Actually, the girl who wrote this is going to Catalonia and she asks if I can recommend her an expert guide or a trusted agency that could organize a tour of the Catalan bodegas. Since I deal with wine, my reader thought that I knew someone from the field of the wine tour industry, but, alas, I could not help her in any way, suddenly realizing with surprise that I do not know anyone in Russia who would organize such tours . And it would be worth it! After all, there are many fans of good wine in Russia, and every day there are more and more.
I’m not ready to do a review on wine Catalonia right now, but the topic of wine places in itself certainly deserves a lot of attention. I’ll start with what I can quickly and easily relate from my own recent experience. These are the wine points of France. And the first – the most obvious, but no less important – Bordeaux.
The first name you need to remember is Chateau Cordeillan-Bages. Restaurant and hotel in the city of Pauillac (or – Pouillac). Repeatedly named the best chef in France, Thierry Marx made it so that his restaurant can no longer be bypassed if you travel in those places (and, of course, the specifics of your trip are somehow connected with wine, otherwise why would you go to Pauillac, because it is the wine capital of the whole province of Bordeaux!).
Wide square tables, triangular, square and diamond-shaped plates, abstract art on the walls. Everything else is atmosphere. The fact that you are in the middle of the vineyard zone is immediately evident: vineyards peer through every window.
The same oxymoron (very successful, I must say, and does not interfere with the enjoyment of the process) is found in the kitchen of Thierry Marx. This gastronomic Marx is no less great than Marx the philosopher and socialist. On the contrary, in some sense it is even cooler! Judge for yourself: eel with foie gras and marmalade (Pressé d’anguille fumeé avec foie-gras et pate de fruits), Marx’s specialty. What would you think? Yes, this is goose liver, a little smoked eel, a baguette fried in olive oil, and, of course, marmalade. All this is combined together by one chef in a known secret way, and in the end you understand that you have never tasted anything tastier in your life. Drink better with some local Sauternes.
Or here’s another masterpiece: Puyak-style milk lamb. Choice lamb is taken, three different parts, and cooked in three different degrees of roasting. (Agneau de lait de Monsieur Reyes cuisiné de trios façons, legumes preparés en cocote). Lamb is a must in these places. You won’t get better anywhere, it’s the freshest here. Take a bottle of red Lynch-Bages 2000 with her. The thing is exceptionally authentic and beautiful.
But before dinner, be sure to sit on the open veranda. Along with an aperitif, of course. Here is the vineyard, here is the sun setting over the horizon. A quiet summer evening and you are dreaming of something unrealizable and so close. The poetry of France is the poetry of the grapes.
And here is another of Marx’s masterpieces, this time dessert:
From the Pouillac vineyards, I suggest visiting Chateau Lynch Bages, which is directly related to Chateau Cordeillan-Bages (same owner). The Premiere Grand Cru classification and the opportunity to get acquainted with the production technology (you will be shown the full cycle – from the press to the label and the cellar) are sure signs that you will be interested in this place. If you do not know either French or English, take an interpreter with you. You need to book a tour a couple of weeks in advance.
Be sure to also check out Chateau Lafitte-Rothschild, Chateau Mouton-Rothschild and Chateau Latour. These are great wines, almost all of them. And they cost here many times cheaper than in our capitals.
Now about where to stay. Firstly, you can live in the same Chateau Cordeillan-Bages. Very well decorated and well equipped with all necessary equipment, including wi-fi, suites. The ground floor rooms have their own gardens.
The second place to stay is Relais de margaux. This is Small Luxury Hotels of the World and it has a very good spa. Rooms are better to choose in the new building.
By the way, this hotel has a golf course.
Among the other advantages of Pauillac, I can name the beach. However, you are unlikely to swim here, the places are not the most conducive to this. But to come here in the late afternoon to drink a bottle of white wine, listening to the waves and looking into the distance, it’s very nice, I recommend it. ALSO READ: Instead of continuing.