3-27-19 Bordeaux and Château d’Yquem

Bordeaux – our next stop on the adventure is the current home of Ryan and Chris. We had rented an apartment not far from the center of the city and we connected with them as we coordinated with the Owner for access. It’s a two-bedroom place on the third floor – no view to speak of but it includes parking which is a must.

The view from our apartment

We have been in Bordeaux previously so we have already visited many of the significant sites.

The blue “Lion” of Stalingrad Square is 10 years old and has become a photo icon.
The Stone Bridge across the river

Our goal here was to visit with Ryan and Chris, eat a few nice meals

Ryan at a lovely spot for lunch.

and venture down to Sauternes to sample Château d’Yquem.

Of course there are open markets and we tromped around a couple just to see what is out there.

Janeen looked but didn’t find anything to bring home.
OK, there is a lot of stuff available here.

It amazes me the amount of stuff that gets put out at one of these markets. There were tables and tables of old photographs, silverware, furniture, lamps, clothing, door hardware, books, bottles of all sizes – an amazing assortment of things.

Another stop for a coffee break.
Another old church for sure.

 

Of course there was several different churches

It is good to see them cleaning the outside of the churches.

to go into, places to eat, shopping walkways (there is even an Apple Store)

Several of the main streets are pedestrian only which is nice. This is the LONGEST shopping street in France

to avoid and beautiful weather. We have been very fortunate, thus far, to be on the cusp of spring with clear skys and lovely weather (hopefully that will come with us as we venture north to Belgium and the Netherlands).

Enjoying the day along the river in Bordeaux

However, the one thing I had mentioned to Ryan I wanted to do was visit Château d’Yquem.

Enjoying the lovely weather in the “town square” of village of Sauternes – the center of the production area.

While Sauternes are certainly not the main adult beverage we enjoy, from time to time it is nice to have something different and Château d’Yquem is just that special thing.

Château d’Yquem has been around for a very long time – making wine the entire time.

The last time we were here the chateau was closed, as were many of the chateau in the district as it was May Day – a National Holiday.

The making of sauternes is not easy – the grapes basically have to be infected by a fungus – Noble Rot – grapes typically become infected with Botrytis when they are ripe.

If you look close, you will see a tiny bud break on this 45 year old plant.

When it is determined that it is time to pick, the crews go through the vineyards and only pick those grapes that are ready – this is very demanding, hand work and results in multiple passes through the vineyards.

Our guide and us on the stairs to the aging room at Château d’Yquem
Resting before the final blend.

As many as 5 or more different pickings can be required to get all the fruit from the vines during the season.

Once the grapes are picked it is a traditional wine making process – press the grapes, age the juice in oak barrels, blend to make the right flavor profile and bottle it. Château d’Yquem, as I’m sure most producers in the area, age the wine in barrel (new French oak) for two years before making the final blend and bottling the juice. Needless to say all the labor involved results in some hefty pricing for the really good stuff. The average price for a standard bottle of Château d’Yquem is over $300 and goes even higher depending on the age of the bottle.

Our tour was enjoyable – visiting the aging caves, learning the history of the Chateau (another wine widow 19th century as in Champagne), seeing vines, a flower and herb garden –

Pretty flowers!
Smelling the wisteria in the garden at Château d’Yquem

but of course the final stop – the tasting room was the highlight. We tasted both the still (non-sweet white wine they make, also very pricy) as well as the 2017 vintage of the good stuff. It was quite nice and a second pour was offered and accepted!

I would be happy to take home one of these – the 15 liter, the one on the left, sells for over $7,000.

Along the way we have had some great meals and more to come. We are in Bordeaux for another few days flying to Brussels on Sunday.

One Reply to “3-27-19 Bordeaux and Château d’Yquem”

  1. I see why you wanted to visit that winery. Very interesting, and different from your usual. It’s great to see Chris and Ryan. I know who took those selfies!

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