When I was asked to go to Bordeaux and Burgundy in the space of two weeks, as you might imagine I couldn’t believe my luck.
The first trip of four days was to Bordeaux to collect wine for the 10th Charity Wine Dinner and the second trip of three days to Burgundy collect wine for the Saatchi Gallery Tasting.
Having arrived late on a Monday evening after a long drive from London I found my hotel through the narrow streets of central Bordeaux and headed out for a bite to eat and a glass or two of some regional produce. The next morning I set off to collect the wine, starting in the storage warehouses of Bordeaux and progressing out down the left bank towards Pauillac and the Médoc.
Having collected my final case from Ch Cos d’Estournel, I set off to reach Saint-Emilion on the right bank for supper and my hotel for the night.
Waking to another grey damp day was a disappointment and I couldn’t help but feel that this beautiful region was being let down by the weather. I set off to Vieux Chateau Certan and the flats of Pomerol before pushing down to Domaine de Chevalier just outside Léognan. Now, heavily laden, I stopped to inflate the tyres before taking the Auto-route to Tours.
Having spent the night just outside Amboise I felt that I should visit some of the Loire’s famous Chateaux before heading back home. A glance over Château d’Amboise and then a good look round Chateau Chenonceau suitably satisfied my curiosity and I headed for home.
The following Wednesday I was back in the van, this time on the way to the region of Chablis and Burgundy.
Having spent the Wednesday night in Nitry I started Thursday at Domaine Jean-Paul & BenoÃ®t Droin and Domaine Pommier in Chablis.
I then decided to shun the Auto-route and head cross-country to the Côte-de-Nuits and Domaine de Lambrays, which gave me a great picture of the Burgundian countryside.
The weather then turned again which was a great shame but an apparent pre-requisite for visiting France at this time of year! At least the view of the picturesque cellars was unaffected!
Having grabbed a sandwich in Beaune, I headed for Domaine Fichet, my final collection point. Nicolas Gachon, who was bottling their 2008 Bourgogne Blanc, greeted me before helping me to load the van. With some time in hand I took myself on a little tour of the Côte de Beaune but as the light and weather deteriorated further, I headed for my hotel in Beaune.
Le Gourmandin restaurant and a copy of Wednesday’s Times was my evening’s entertainment. At least the restaurant was, any way! A glass or two of fine Burgundy from the open bottles at the bar and a delicious meal later I headed back to the hotel.
The next day I set off in good time and was back in London by 6pm. 2500 miles in two weeks having visited arguably the two greatest wine regions in the world I was tired but in very high spirits!
Harry Scott Dempster