Breaking the mold in Bordeaux

Sweet Bordeaux is reaching out to a new, less formal, drinker and showing off its multiple expressions. Nick meets the winemakers that can pair the wine with more than just pudding.

‘It’s corked!’ says Monsieur Labergere, director of Château Rayne Vigneau pulling a sour face.

He flips out the contents of his glass and it falls like rain down through the leaves of the tree and onto the ground. ‘Pas de probleme,’ is Au Fil du Ciron climber Vincent Galle’s response as he swings off in search of a fresh bottle.

treebigThe recoil of his move makes the suspended platform we’re sitting around pirouette wildly and we hang on tight hoping our harness ropes hold. It’s about a hundred feet straight down and we don’t to end our wine tasting by getting out of our tree the wrong way.

It’s not normal of course to have a wine tasting at the top of an ancient pine, having first climbed hand over hand up a rope to get there, but for Château Rayne Vignaud a sweet wine maker here in south west France, doing things differently is the new sweet Bordeaux way. Continue reading

The names James, Le Saint James

High on a hill, Le Saint James Hotel in Bordeaux offers unique style, fantastic views, superb food and a cookery school as well. 

IMG_3154We started calling it the ‘Le Saint James Bond’ moment, the moment after waking up that I pressed the button to raise the blind at the end of our bed.

With a cheerful whirr all four meters or so of blind would creep upward to slowly reveal a 180 degree view of Bordeaux spread out to the west below. The early light shining onto the taller buildings the cars with their headlights on, blue lights of emergency services silently and purposefully charging down the autoroutes. Magical.

IMG_3350The room, like all the rooms at the Le Saint James Hotel, is designed around the bed and the bed is designed around the view. Up here in the village of Bouliac, known unsurprisingly as the Balcony of Bordeaux, everyone gets a good view but lucky guests in their beds have the best view of all. Continue reading