Tasting the new wine with Olivier Berrouet, son of previous winemaker there Jean-Claud, who has generously supported us such a lot over the years – since he first helped me with a spot of geography homework in '68.
Olivier still very young but with a dream C.V. that reads like the top end of a fine wine list; Domaines Romanee-Conti, Château Cheval Blanc, Château Pétrus. An unbeatable hand, really. Then we were invited to lunch with Madame Colette Moueix, widow of the great Jean-Pierre who founded what is now, by far the most powerful dynasty in Bordeaux. All down to him having spotted the lethal effects of the Great Frost of '56 before anyone else. So the folklore goes. But actually he was much cleverer than most people realised. I met him a few times. The reputation terrifying, but the man so charming.
Mme Colette is a quite adorable little lady. Grandson Jean – modest lad, is possibly the future. Grandmother clearly adores him and he her. Wished I remembered my Art A-levels as we were in rooms with a fortune hung on the walls. Small fortune too, in the wine glasses! Honestly, I don't live this well more than once or twice a decade! We were running late. Well you can't leave that sort of wine undrunk!
To Château Pavie-Macquin. Wrong way up a one-way street. But this is France.
Still owned by the family of 'The man who saved Bordeaux' (by introducing Phylloxera-resistant grafted vines to rebuild the devastated vineyards). Now run by Nicolas, one of the very numerous, and very clever Thienpont family. We've always done well with this wine, very well made and v. well sited on the steep hillsides, just outside the walls of Saint Emilion next to Pavie, across from Ausone ... hard to beat. Fascinating is Nicolas. We’re now very late.
Then to the only Château, (Angelus) so far, to announce their price for the 2008; a decent reduction on the 2007 price. I like the de Bouard family, admire their work and think I have more of their wine in my own cellar at home than any other claret (apart my own). If you ever wondered how much they paid to have James Bond drink their wine on a train in 'Casino Royale' the answer is nothing. The Bond producers just love the wine and are great friends.
Then we had to rush to Anne-Marie's big tasting of Cotes de Castillons, set up to select the wines she will stock in her Cave à Vins at the 'Comptoir de Genes' opening in June! Almost all the great and good of the appellation were there and I was mortified to have kept them waiting.
We tasted 60+ wines, the standard was excellent and there were bargains aplenty. Three hours we worked and argued. La Clarière did well. But Henry's Trois Frères seemed to win more friends. Ah well! Time I accepted that my boy might make better wine than me.
Absolutely shattered we go to the pizza van to find the fool has run out.
Back hope we unearth three dusty jars of Porc Basque from EBF and a tin of haricots and dine like kings before the final collapse. Whataday! Pétrus to a pizza man without pizza.