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Cats in Bikinis, Brontosaurs and Birds in Black and White Suits

It's a bikini wearing, ice-cream eating cat that greets tasters at Ducru-Beaucaillou. That's all I can tell you.

The day dawned bright, sunny and cold. There's was ice on my windscreen that took 5 minutes to clear before I could set off up the Medoc.

First appointment was at Chateau Montrose. I was late. Traffic on the road north is smothered by roadworks at the moment. Large bits of machinery were moving slowly about like brontosaurs and, like brontosaurs, took a while to get off the road.

The bright gravel that constitutes the soil in St Estephe gleamed like marble in the morning sunlight and over near horizons contrasted in stunning fashion with the blueness of the sky.

From Montrose, I drove the short distance to Cos d'Estournel and stopped to snap off a few photographs, some of the chateau, some of the view across to Chateau Lafite half a mile away across a wooded stream valley and Lafite's lake.

Lafite and Mouton-Rothschild followed in short order, after which I bought a sandwich and headed down to the estuary where I sat at a table eating my measly lunch and looking at the view, until the chilly easterly blew me back into the car. I cast an evil eye at a pair of magpies that were foraging in the grass nearby. Loathsome corvids, only wearing smart black and white suits to deceive.

There are the usual legions of wine merchants here for the tastings. It's useful to stop to chat with those one knows and compare notes about the quality of the wines. Almost uniformly, there is a lack of enthusiasm. Not for the wines necessarily; this isn't what you could call a bad vintage by any means. But the general state of the economy and the concern about how the wines will be priced have served to create rather a downbeat atmos.

After lunch I visited Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Ducru-Beaucaillou and Leoville-Lascases, all of which have made good wine.
And with what style of wine has 2008 presented us? Well, the fruit is generally decently pure, ripe and nicely fresh. Many exhibit good balance and most importantly they taste good. In quite a few examples I found tannins that had a slightly grainy texture that gripped the tongue right at its tip, which I cannot remember noticing before.
So, good weather, good wines and in 15 minutes or so, good dining. Can't say I am entirely displeased with how the day's panned out.
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