Vinexpo, the great biennial Wine Fair in Bordeaux is not so much an exhibition as an excuse for partying. The Wine Trade – all of it – comes here and can, of course, party pretty well. But a big, hot, mile-long shed, placed at the hub of all the worst traffic jams in Bordeaux is not the best place to party. It’s a good place to avoid.
Especially when for miles in almost every direction there are the loveliest wine châteaux in the world. The owners of these châteaux compete with each other for partying … as well as for Parker Points and prices. Some have the means to do it rather well.
We posed before Margaux, bowed towards Latour, gasped at Beychevelle and Palmer. And and and....
We arrived at Lafite and a beaming Baron Eric. We weren't first there. We thought we'd be fashionably late; we were second.
On the terrace lawns we scoffed perfect oysters and Spanish ham as well as little delicacies that just materialised before us. I got introduced as “our biggest customer in Britain” which surprised me but then the Baron has quite a lot of Domaines apart from Lafite … which our customers are enthusiastic about.
Met old friends, made new. Clambered into M. Ali's taxi. Then … a bit of a blur, rushing about, and I'm back home in England reading that 65 year olds have had their wine allowances halved. Thud. Back to earth. I may emigrate.