After a couple of days “off” from our travels in Provence, we moved on to Bordeaux and got back to the serious business of wine tasting. We worked our way down the left bank from Paulliac towards the city, where the soil is more rocky and the famous Bordeaux blend favors more Cabernet than Merlot. On the second day, we visited St. Emilion and Pomerol on the right side, where you’ll find lighter wines weighted more towards Merlot, due to the clay soil on the east side.
Though it was, of course, an amazing experience to say the least, the actual tasting portion left a lot to be desired. In Bordeaux, the winery visits are much more weighted to telling you about how they produce wine, and all their amazing techniques that rival that of their neighbors. Because almost all of the wine is sold years in advance, through futures, and the top-end vineyards produce wine that isn’t really drinkable for around a decade after that, they don’t seem all that interested in convincing the consumer to purchase wine by drinking it. In fact, most of the wine we tasted at the vineyards in Bordeaux was far too young – tasting it was much more like speculation.
The scenery, like the soil, was pretty different between the two sides of the river as well. The left side was dead flat – almost like the American plains. The right was much more the rolling hills I’ve come to associate with wine country. Given that wine that close to the 50th parallel tends to grow better on south-facing hills, that was pretty surprising as well. Ultimately, I enjoyed both the scenery and the wine better on the right side, though of course both had their merits.