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Lascombes's cellars looking ice cool under the blue lights
Under yet more grey skies I crossed the Pont d'Aquitaine and followed the wrong signs, approaching St Emilion via central Libourne. The town's nice enough, but it wasn't the route I had anticipated. Nevertheless (a word as pleasant to say in French - néanmoins - as it is in English), I arrived but two minutes late for a rendezvous with a French-dwelling wine merchant friend and we headed up to Ausone together. The wines were mostly very good, with proper leaps up the quality ladder sample by sample.
A view from the window of Château Petit-Village in Pomerol
From there, we made our way to Chateau La Gaffelière, where was taking place a tasting called La Grape, that consisted of all the wineries for which Stéfane Derenoncourt consults. I had not realised quite how widely this masterful wine maker spreads himself, but if I tell you that there was even a couple of wines from a producer in VA, USA, you'll get the picture. There were a great many good wines here and some will appear on our forthcoming offer.
Ausone's barrel cellar
I continued on to Château Jean-Faure for a nose around. This property changed hands 5-or-so years ago and the quality is now exemplary; as it should be, as its vineyards lie in that golden triangle that includes Cheval-Blanc, Evangile, Vieux Château Certan and Pétrus. I'd already sampled the '07, so we enjoyed a glass of the 2005 before cracking on to Château La Couspaude and the St Emilion tasting. I have to confess that I picked and chose somewhat. I just didn't have the time to taste through all the wines that were being presented at this leviathan of a tasting.
Looking down at Lafite from Cos d'Estournel
From there, it was on to taste the Pomerols at Château Petit-Village. The Pomerols are really pretty consistently good this year.
Lastly, I headed to the Cercle Rive Droite circus. This is a vast event, at which one has the opportunity (if suicidally minded) to taste 125 wiues from all the Right Bank appellations. I was circumspect and I found some very good - and good value - wines. Details will, I am sure, follow.
Just time for a quick beer in St Emilion and then a dash to Mérignac and the flight home.