French wine Chateau review

Visit at a French wine Chateau

Text and story by Claus Kongsbak

Photo: Claus Kongsbak

Photo: Claus Kongsbak

 

Due to my company is the agent for Globe in Denmark I have to travel to a salesmeeting twice a year. At the sales meeting we see the new apparel, footwear and skateboard collections from Globe, hear about the numbers, the stories, the marketing and so much more. The meeting gathers all agents from European Countries. It stretches over 3 days and is quite intensive with loads of information but also good company and a drink or two. To make sure we, us the agents, gets an experience and learn eachother and the guys from Globe in another way than just business there is always an activity on the second evening. So in the past I have tried or witnessed several activities: surfing, water action park, paintball, river rafting and loads of other stuff. I have due to serious back injury been cut from participating in most of these activities. So as the wine drinker(enthusiast) I am, I was more than pleased when it was announced that the sales meeting showcasing Fall 2017 collections from Globe was to be held in Bordeaux, France. I had my fingers crossed for the activity to be would be something including drinking wine.

Photo: Claus Kongsbak

Photo: Claus Kongsbak

 

First of all I would say: Go to Bordeaux its a lovely ”small big city”, 500.000 people lives there, its 45 minutes from the beach(Or Aquitane) where you can surf, 2 hours from the mountains where you can snowboard. But the city itself is very charming with awesome french arcithecture and marmor surfaces many places, that makes your board tail say ”BANG!” when you ollie. Loads of awesome streetspots around town. The longest shopping street in Europe and in general very nice shopping with everything you can think of. But the food and wine is a chapter on its own.

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First evening me and the UK agents and Morgan the shoe designer took one of the side streets from the main shopping street and found a very nice restuarant. It had a build in butcher so you walked to the butcher and ordered what kind of meat you wanted. Big t-bones at more than 650 grams or as we chose a 370 gram of wellhung beef. Fantastic and the local Bordeaux red wine that we got plenty of was very good. The desert was another story best described as an explosion of creamy chocolate close to a sexual experience.

Photo: Claus Kongsbak

Photo: Claus Kongsbak

Photo: Claus Kongsbak

 

On the second day we had the lunch at the hotel as part of the meeting, we stayed at this extremely lovely hotel Grand Intercontinental, very posh and with this build in Gordon Ramsay restuarant. Well, in France every meal counts and every meal is made with love. So was the lunch, and off course with first a more than decent whitewine for the starter and then a well adjusted, not too heavy Bordeaux red wine for the main dish and desert. Yes it was good food, see the images. No one walks straight to the sky not even Mr. Ramsay so I must admit starter missed some salt, main was nice and the desert was maybe a bit too complicated for me.

Photo: Claus Kongsbak

Photo: Claus Kongsbak

 

But after the meeting ended on the second day it was time for the long awaited activity. So the whole team was picked up by busses at the hotel . The ride took 45 minutes and me and several others was just as hyped as the first time you arrive to a new skatepark to skate it. Yes, it was not some watersport or extreme excercise it was something I have been wanted to do for so long: A visit to a wine producer. The place is called Chateau Pape Clement.

 

Photo: Claus Kongsbak

 

At first we were guided into the gift shop, here there was bottles of wines from floor to roof. Also a bar were some of us managed to get a glass of red wine. So then the tour started, first we walked through this little park, with a variety of special flowers, plants, palms and trees. Some we were told was very rare. We gathered in front of the castle and our guide told us the story, here in short:

Château Pape Clément is one of the oldest Grands Crus of Bordeaux. His vineyard – the first harvests took place in 1252 – was implemented in the XIIth century by Bertrand de Goth, younger of a noble family from Bordeaux region. Archbishop of Bordeaux, Bertrand de Got became Pope in 1305 under the name of Clement V. This is where the Château inherited its name from and its wine became an icon. And while we listened to the story we looked at the famous libanese oak that the revolutionaires planted more than 200 years ago.

Photo: Claus Kongsbak

 

Hereafter we walked to the production buildings first floor: This is where all the grapes comes in and is being sorted – by hand, only the absolute finest grapes is used for the wine all the leftovers is given to the animals, cows, sheeps, goats etc. Hereafter we moved to main floor where these large cylinders, wine barrels is, this is where the magic happens, this is where they ad blackberries, strawberries and the secrets. We both saw the barrels of the red and the white wine production. Then we walked into a large room, first part of it was with an alter, some very old religious paintings, it kind of blow us all away and kind of really made sense when the guy told us the angels came at night and blessed the wine. So this is where the wine is , now in smaller barrels, on stock for 18 months and hereafter gently tapped to bottles.

Photo: Claus Kongsbak

 

Next stop was the wine basement, this was under the castle, old basement with chapel, the dead bishop and all most all the wines. I think the oldest one we found was from 1891. The big bottles, its more than a magnum cant really find the right word for it. But lets say a regular bottle is a miniramp, a magnum is a vert, then this bottle is a Danny Way megaramp in comparrision. The value for such a bottle we were told was 15.000 euros. Finally our guide asked the question we had all been waitng for: ”You want to taste the wine?”.

Photo: Claus Kongsbak

Photo: Claus Kongsbak

 

So we crossed the yard and got into this nice room with 3 tables, different cheese served and bread. And off caurse the wine: The first one we tasted was not from this Chateau and the value was 17 euros a bottle, it was ok, nothing special. The second one was also from another wine maker and it was a Grands Chenes, Medoc from 2010. It was clear that this wine was intended to be hold on stock for at least two more years before it was fully enjoyable. The cost for number 2 was 25 euros. So now for the grand finale: Chateau Pape Clement 2004: produced at this Chateau, hand sorted grapes, made with love and passion, blessed by the angels – it was amazing! A fantastic wine, I am mostly enjoying heavy spanish Rioja’s or italic Barollos, Ripassos or Barbaresco’s but I must admit that here 6 days after the tasting I can still recall the fabolous taste of this wine. Me and several others tried to snake as many tastes of this wine as we could, it was amazing. Would I pay 140 euros for it? I probally would!

Photo: Claus Kongsbak

Photo: Claus Kongsbak

 

But I did’nt as this was a business trip I only had my carry on bag with me and I had to change flight with very short transfer time, so it was not possible for me to bring one home to my collection. But I would definetely go back to Bordeaux and if I get the chance to visit this historic Chateua again I would do it. As soon as I get the chance to visit a wine maker again I will do it, its a learning experience. My advice is: Forget Paris go to Bordeaux the city and sorroundings has so much to offer.

Read more about the Chateau:

http://www.bernard-magrez.com/en/wines/chateau-pape-clement

Boardeaux was visited from 21st to 24th November 2016.

BIG Thanks to Claus Kongsbak for this great post, are you the person that want’s to review wine(s) wine tour’s ?restaurants, or other idea’s  ? ..feel free, send it and we post. THANK YOU

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