JC in France May - June 2018 | Day 8
The weather is very average this morning – wet but not cold. We are going back this morning to the area of St Emilion to meet with the very popular Nicolas Thienpont. Nicolas is the 'regisseur' (General Manager) of few famous St Emilion Grands Crus Classes Chateaux. He is a real character – funny, cheeky, charming and a very good winemaker. With him we are going to taste and visit three top properties. We started with Chateau Larcis Ducasse, a property that has made wines nearly forever (at least 16th century). The vines, planted on a mosaic of terroirs, give the wines a very elegant, refine style and are made from 75% of Merlot with a bit of Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc. This is a family owned, small and cute property confirming that it does exist in Bordeaux. Nicolas explains to us the history, way of doing etc… he’s not shy to throw in a few jokes from time to time (all in French, as he does not speak English) which keeps me very much alert as I have to do the translation.
He took us next (only few metres away), to the superb and breathtaking cellars of the very small (only 6,75ha) Château Beauséjour Duffau Lagarosse (once part of Beausejour Becot and privately owned - the 9th generation) situated on the famous limestone plateau of St Emilion. We went down and experienced the 'gruyere–like' underground cellars of St Emilion. There are kilometres and kilometres of those cellars digged out many centuries ago, first to use the limestone blocks to build all the Chateaux, churches and houses of the area then to use as wine cellars. The temperature and humidity down there is constant.
For the tasting of these two properties we went to the third one that Nicolas is in charge – Château Pavie Maquin. There we met his son (thank goodness Cyril can speaks English!) who is working with him and ran the full tasting for us. The wines are seriously impressive! They have all a tight, refined and complex style which do need a bit of time to express their true qualities – you can't be too much in a hurry to bring them. We had lunch at the chateau cooked by a local chefand match with a rather large selection of wines going back to the 2010 vintage. Again it was very relaxing with lots of laughs around the table, a great time for everyone.
We could not stay there for much longer (still managed to leave the table at 3.30pm) as we had to prepare our dinner at 'our' chateau. We were joined by a very good Bordeaux friend of mine and her husband. We wanted to do a classic Kiwi fair but were unable to get a good piece of lamb. We decided on three beautiful roasted chooks with classic roasted vegetables and a salmon tartare to start with. Michael even managed to do us a 'clafoutis' (a cherry flan) for dessert. Some good wines were poured especially a magnum of Chateau Calon Segur 1995 brought by our guests. It was delicious! - JC
JC with Thienpont family