A for Amphora, learning Bordeaux’s new ageing alphabet

The new wine is now ready, and I love visiting the warm chais (above ground cellars in Bordeaux) this time of year when the leaves are turning golden and temperatures are autumnal. The wine has taken all it needs from the skins which have now been removed. The wine is now ready for the next … Continue reading A for Amphora, learning Bordeaux’s new ageing alphabet

Harvest 2019 Bordeaux with lots of smiles

The sun is shining today after some much needed rain which fell in short sharp bursts since last weekend. Its Sunday and no-one is rushing to harvest. Gone are the days where the stress impelled producers to harvest in a rush over a few days that ran on from each other. For the past two … Continue reading Harvest 2019 Bordeaux with lots of smiles

Visiting Rioja Top Addresses from a Wine Lover

The wine region of Rioja is not far from Bordeaux and some of my clients go there first or after a few days of wine touring with me in Bordeaux. The region is much more arid and the grape variety is mostly Tempranillo (though it is known as the Spanish Cabernet Sauvignon) but the wine … Continue reading Visiting Rioja Top Addresses from a Wine Lover

2019 Bordeaux Summer Heat Wave

  To deleaf or not is the question this year in Bordeaux. There is a lot of vegetation yet the risk of scorch with the exceptionally hot temperatures has been high. In Bordeaux luckily mostly the leaves have been left on the vines so far and act like an umbrella covering the pea sized grapes … Continue reading 2019 Bordeaux Summer Heat Wave

New Varieties to be added to the Bordeaux Melting Pot to combat global warming

IN an attempt to combat the rising heat due to global warming; new varieties approved were approved recently at the syndicate’s annual general meeting Bordeaux and Bordeaux Superior were four reds, Arinarnoa, Touriga Nacional (portuguese), Marselan and Castets, and three whites, Alvarinho (found in Spain and Portugal), Petit Manseng (Jurancon) and Liliorila. The vines were … Continue reading New Varieties to be added to the Bordeaux Melting Pot to combat global warming

Picnic Lunch in the heart of St Emilion – and a glass of bubbly!

St Emilion is a magical place with its myriad of little cobbled streets that lead past its many historical monuments. Les Cordeliers is not as well-known as St Emilion's famous monolithic church (hewn out of the creamy limestone by Benedictine monks over 300 years from 9th to 12th century) - but its been a favorite … Continue reading Picnic Lunch in the heart of St Emilion – and a glass of bubbly!

Wine Touring in Bordeaux? Here are some top tips to know

Bordeaux, UNESCO registered since 2007, is undoubtedly the world’s wine capital. It is well worth visiting along with its vineyards which are France’s largest with 60 different appellations and around 8,000 châteaux. Although the region produces a range of wines including dry and sweet white, rosé and even sparkling – Bordeaux is known for its red wines. The best … Continue reading Wine Touring in Bordeaux? Here are some top tips to know

Behind the Pink Walls on the Route de Châteaux in the Medoc

My first ever visit to the hallowed vineyards of the Medoc was in the early 1980s, when I was 16 years old. It was to Château Siran with its dusky pink buildings just off the D2 Route de Châteaux. I remember ascending this simple road in this flat landscape with these wonderful châteaux that appeared … Continue reading Behind the Pink Walls on the Route de Châteaux in the Medoc

2018 Bordeaux Predicting the Future

Some very nice wines (see my favorites below) made with even increased precision of winemaking but generally not the finesse of 2016s. It was a hot summer so alcohol levels can be high and some wines are tannic and lack freshness. But there are some real success stories as we understand better and better with … Continue reading 2018 Bordeaux Predicting the Future

Brebis and Bordeaux – the traditional pairing

What's the connection you may ask between the ewe's milk cheese made in the Pyrenees mountains and Bordeaux? (and it goes without saying of course the sweet milk fed lamb speciality of the Medoc region around Pauillac marry superbly with the fruity red rich wines of Bordeaux) Traditionally in the winter when grass is covered … Continue reading Brebis and Bordeaux – the traditional pairing

Awesome Armagnac – just down the road

I love the earthy, fruity tones of armagnac particularly after a heavy meal here in Bordeaux. Yet we have all been north to Cognac and enjoyed its polished and smooth flavours and slick marketing but never thought to make the trip south to Armagnac, the most ancient brandy dating back some 700 years. I organise … Continue reading Awesome Armagnac – just down the road

2018 Bordeaux here we come

2018. Nature has made it good, perhaps very good. It is still in the barrel, aging, developing, sleeping, growing in density, becoming smoother more refined. Its elements of tannin, fruit, acidity beginning to mesh together in harmony due to the gradual micro-oxygenation that is taking place through the wood's grain. But it is still a … Continue reading 2018 Bordeaux here we come

Celebrate Christmas in Bordeaux with food and wine matching and cooking classes

Come to Bordeaux in-between Christmas and new year in 2019 and enjoy a series of food and wine tasting sessions and cooking classes with your own chef! Here is some text from my book about the region's specialities to whet your appetite"Bordeaux Sip by Sip - getting to the heart of Bordeaux." Bordeaux’s Food Specialities … Continue reading Celebrate Christmas in Bordeaux with food and wine matching and cooking classes

How to find Good Value in Bordeaux

This text comes from my book which is about to be published 'Bordeaux Sip by Sip - getting to the heart of Bordeaux Wine'. The label is almost all wine enthusiasts have to go on. They look for any clue that might lead them to a good wine, something that they have heard of, or … Continue reading How to find Good Value in Bordeaux

Bordeaux’s Wine Châteaux open at the Weekend

Bordeaux’s Châteaux open at the weekends After breakfast on the Sunday quayside market in Bordeaux (fancy oysters and a glass of white wine?) head off to the vineyards for a visit and tasting and some of Bordeaux’s most famous châteaux that are open all hours (but make sure to pre-book by email in advance!). ST … Continue reading Bordeaux’s Wine Châteaux open at the Weekend

2018 Bordeaux – it’s looking good

Good yields of concentrated ripe fruity wine with good structure. Those that did not suffer from too much loss from the Mildew which was prevalent in the wet spring, have nothing to complain about in 2018. Piles of purple crumbly skins are starting to appear outside the 'chai' of the region. There are smiles as … Continue reading 2018 Bordeaux – it’s looking good

Where best to buy wine when touring Bordeaux?

Bordeaux is not California or anywhere else in the wine world where cheapest prices are found at source. In Bordeaux the châteaux do not sell their wine around the world, they sell it on exclusively to a specialised wine merchants based in the city of Bordeaux (négociants) who do all of their commercial work for … Continue reading Where best to buy wine when touring Bordeaux?

Whetting your taste buds in Bordeaux before a Wine Tour

Ex-cellar master and wine writer François Martin invites you into his private tasting area where you can learn about the intricacies of the wines of Bordeaux before you head out into the vineyards. Over two hours he explains how to decipher the Bordeaux wine label and gives you lots of tips on what to look … Continue reading Whetting your taste buds in Bordeaux before a Wine Tour

Biodynamics in the shade of a big Elm Tree in Castillon

It's a very wet spring and early summer for the 2018 vintage and the mildew that everyone is suffering from is even heavier in properties that are biodynamic with their only defence copper and sulphate (allowed as they are 'natural' but in tiny doses) and infusions of nettle and Horsetail. Cellar master/vineyard manager Nicolas Cosse … Continue reading Biodynamics in the shade of a big Elm Tree in Castillon

Bordeaux’s Wine (and Food) Châteaux – fancy a little something with your glass of wine?

With the increase in the number of tourists to Bordeaux (coming increasingly by cruise liner - around 50 come into the city’s port each year or since last July the TGV from Paris in just over 2 hours), the region’s wine châteaux have begun to open their doors (and kitchens) and offer a range of … Continue reading Bordeaux’s Wine (and Food) Châteaux – fancy a little something with your glass of wine?

Seventh Heaven in Bordeaux? as we taste the 2017s

Sevens are notoriously unlucky here in Bordeaux. There has been one outstanding vintage ending in a seven but that was back in 1947. Everyone has heard of the catastrophic very late frosts that hit at the end of April last year when vegetation was well developed (2 weeks in advance than normal). But what is … Continue reading Seventh Heaven in Bordeaux? as we taste the 2017s

Changing Scene of Bordeaux Restaurants

Bordeaux is bursting with restaurants but you must book in advance to get into the popular ones. The scene is changing as Bordeaux is being infused with Parisians (only 2 hours from paris on the TGV train). Here are a mix of some of the traditional and newer ones from a local. Fine Cuisine Miles … Continue reading Changing Scene of Bordeaux Restaurants

The New Line of Vegetarian Restaurants in Bordeaux

Thanks to a client Mark Mitchell from Burbank, California who recently spent a few days in Bordeaux to visit its vineyards and dine in its vegetarian and vegetarian-friendly restaurants! French for Vegetarian: végétarien French for Vegan: végétalien It wasn't long ago that it was only a juicy 'entrecôte' steak or 'magret de canard' that were … Continue reading The New Line of Vegetarian Restaurants in Bordeaux

2017 ‘Harvest Haute Couture’ at Château Figeac

It is not unusual for the team at Château Figeac, Premier Grand Cru Classé Saint Emilion to go through the different plots of vineyards on their 40 hectare estate (one of the largest in St Emilion) several times in order to prepare them (this may include detailed deleafing or green harvest) to the best possible … Continue reading 2017 ‘Harvest Haute Couture’ at Château Figeac

Launch of SIP Piemonte Food & Wine Experience Tours

It has been 20 years this year since my family chose Piemonte as the base of our secondary family home. This little corner of Italy is a veritable food and wine paradise in the foothills of the Italian Alps with its vine covered hills, medieval hilltop villages and spectacular views. It is not surprising that … Continue reading Launch of SIP Piemonte Food & Wine Experience Tours

2017 Bordeaux Wine Harvest – a game of two halves

It is 28th September and usually the harvest would be just about to start in Bordeaux. This year most producers have their grapes already in the vats transforming and gurgling away and producing wonderful raspberry aromas that fill the region's wineries. The sun is still shining despite wettish periods in September. We could not say … Continue reading 2017 Bordeaux Wine Harvest – a game of two halves

2016 Bordeaux; Elegance & Precision

It has been the 2016 future's week here in Bordeaux. The 2016 vintage is a great one. Overall the wines have body, rich ripe fruit, structure and freshness. There is some heterogenity depending on terroir's ability to cope with the dry conditions. The best are already integrated, balanced with ripe fruit and freshness and elegant with … Continue reading 2016 Bordeaux; Elegance & Precision

Experience the ‘French Art of Living’ in a real Wine Châteaux in Bordeaux

With the boom in wine tourism in Bordeaux, a number of famous working wine châteaux have opened their rooms to guests. Here is your chance to experience the French Art of Living, the life of a châtelaine; luxurious but authentic a real taste of the Bourgeois Bordeaux life.   LEFT BANK Haut Médoc: Château du … Continue reading Experience the ‘French Art of Living’ in a real Wine Châteaux in Bordeaux

2016; what makes a great Bordeaux vintage

As the futures week approaches in Bordeaux we cast our minds back to last year 2016, its climatic pattern and the deep red wine already in barrel about to be judged for the rest of its life. *very wet Spring which filled water tables to the brim *successful flowering period across the varieties although slow … Continue reading 2016; what makes a great Bordeaux vintage

How to Match Food and Wine in Bordeaux – Vatel Hotel College

MATCHING FOOD & WINE Vatel #Vatel#Bordeaux 17 January 2017 Masters Students of Hotel Management, Bordeaux - We learnt about the lessons of food and wine matching and wanted to experiment ourselves with a range of foods with different characteristics (some not so easy) and a range of wines - 6 styles of white wines and 6 styles … Continue reading How to Match Food and Wine in Bordeaux – Vatel Hotel College

SIP Highlights Bordeaux 2016

Dear Wine Friends, I so enjoy sharing my passion of Bordeaux and its authentic people and wines. Bordeaux may be one of the oldest wine regions in the world but it is definitely waking up and there is a new dynamism taking hold in the famous classified properties and the SIPs (smaller independent producers). Here … Continue reading SIP Highlights Bordeaux 2016

Bordeaux Biodynamic properties and those going that way …

Pesticide residues in wines have been in the news this year in Bordeaux. Here is a list of those wines with zero levels being biodynamic (optimising natural defence) and organic (only natural products).  More and more properties in Bordeaux are moving across (even more experimenting on plots) despite the difficult climate (wet and warm)  biodynamic … Continue reading Bordeaux Biodynamic properties and those going that way …

Join Climens (Grand Cru Classé, Barsac) through their 2016 Harvest

Here is the recount of this excellent sweet wine year of 2016 direct from Château Climens  itself, my favorite Barsac, 100% Sémillon and biodynamic! Can visit and taste too (20€pp), for tasting of 4 vintages (60€pp) or a food and wine partnered lunch (180€pp, 6 to 14 people Michelin restaurant Darroze).  http://www.chateau-climens.fr  #climens Spring 2016 : … Continue reading Join Climens (Grand Cru Classé, Barsac) through their 2016 Harvest

Phenomenal Wine Woman

This last year which ever 'chai' (above ground barrel cellar in Bordeaux) I visited, there were woman everywhere busy at work racking wine from one barrel to another, moving barrels to clean them, taking samples from vats, pumping over wine from the bottom of the vat to the top. The usual cellar work you may … Continue reading Phenomenal Wine Woman

Where is the City of Wine? Bordeaux!

I finally got there! La Cité du Vin opened on 1st June of this year and I have been itching to check it out being just on my doorstep in Bordeaux. It is easy to get to directly by tram being located at the end of the newly renovated Quai du Bacalan part of Bordeaux's wine … Continue reading Where is the City of Wine? Bordeaux!

Goats and Honey – Piemonte

Rocaverano - Robiola made naturally by Agnesi's sister in the mountains 45 minutes from Mombaruzzo. Abandoned beautiful hills with pasture and forests, far away from everywhere. The delicate fresh flavoured Robiola is often served with mostarda (fruit marmalade) in Piemonte. And honey, Monica our neighbour is a bee fanatic and has over 80 hives in … Continue reading Goats and Honey – Piemonte

Visiting Barolo – a day with my Sister

Leaving the kids tucked up in our little house in the woods (lacasapiccola.com) near to Mombaruzzo famous for its sweet amaretti biscuits, we headed (a little late) towards the famous village of Barolo famous for its intriguing red wine (27 Oct 2016). 45 minutes south west towards Alba famous itself for its white truffles and … Continue reading Visiting Barolo – a day with my Sister

Visiting Bordeaux’s Vineyards? Where to start…

  Fancy visiting the vineyards of Bordeaux? Here are a few tips of where best to go and what not to miss out on from Nicolle Croft, food and wine guide for over 25 years in Bordeaux. Slow to start there is a wealth of wine experiences to join in now on offer in and … Continue reading Visiting Bordeaux’s Vineyards? Where to start…

2016 Bordeaux – it’s in the barrel!

The first wine of the 2016 harvest emerges from its fermenting vats; deep inky purple-black with intense aromas of blackcurrant, blackberry and violets. Following the successful 2015 vintage, ‘the daring’ are saying it is even better and with its balance of power and freshness could rival the great 2010. It is still early days but … Continue reading 2016 Bordeaux – it’s in the barrel!

Barbaresco – a tower and a wine

Barbaresco is known as the baby brother of Barolo. Don't be mislead,  complex, fine and elegant Nebbiolo does not means lesser (as you can tell from the price of the Gaja wines - Barbaresco's most forceful representative, see photos below). The DOC dates from 1966 (DOCG since 1980) and includes the hill-top villages of Barbaresco itself but … Continue reading Barbaresco – a tower and a wine

Larcis Ducasse, St Emilion’s Bijou gets ready

Ready, set go! at Larcis Ducasse (#chateaularcisducasse), Premier Grand Cru Classé for the new vintage 2016. Harvest starts this Tuesday 11th October for the Merlot which makes up 78% of the vineyard and Cabernet Franc will follow later. It normally lasts 10 to 12 days in all but as the sun continues to shine there … Continue reading Larcis Ducasse, St Emilion’s Bijou gets ready

No Rush to get in Red Bordeaux 2016

The sun is still shining here in Bordeaux and though most young vine Merlot plots have been picked, many wine producers are taking their time this year letting the vines soak up the Autumn sun rays. Earlier ripening appellations and areas such as Pessac Leognan and the graves of St Emilion and Pomerol are finishing … Continue reading No Rush to get in Red Bordeaux 2016

2016 Bordeaux getting nearer

At last we had some rain in Bordeaux. 20mm fell on evening 13th September in a grand storm where 20mm of water fell onto parched vines. It rattled windows and tripped electricity but fortunately no hail fell as predicted. A huge sigh of relief for wine makers here and a deep sleep followed. It just … Continue reading 2016 Bordeaux getting nearer

Making sense in St Emilion at biodynamic Fonroque

It takes a person with vision and courage to decide to grow vines in the wet, warm climate of Bordeaux without using fungicide. Or perhaps even a little folly in the days when no-one had heard of biodynamics. Yet this is what Alain Moueix decided to do in 2002 after taking over the family vineyard. … Continue reading Making sense in St Emilion at biodynamic Fonroque

2016 Bordeaux looking good

The spring and early summer was cold and wet (filling the water table to the top!). The summer since mid July has been exceptionally hot and dry! The vines are parched that is for sure, particularly the younger ones whose roots don't yet go down that deep. After a very wet Spring, (there has been no … Continue reading 2016 Bordeaux looking good

A Short History of Armagnac

The growing of vines goes all the way back to the Romans and the mosaics discovered in the remains of the Gallo-Roman villas in the Gers bear witness to this heritage. Much later, towards the end of the sixth century, the Vascons invaded the country that was to carry their name, becoming the Duchy of … Continue reading A Short History of Armagnac