Many celebrated the 'gerbaude' end of harvest (in a restrained covid-aware way) the last week of September, so relieved that in this challenging year of adversity at least something has gone well - a full two weeks before the usual celebrations. Of course it is too early to say but the wines of 2020 are … Continue reading Harvest Recap Bordeaux 2020
100% experts, 100% wine, 100% local I am pleased to announce the creation of new network of specialist wine guides which I am proud to be a part of: My Local Wine Guide! Passionate wine experts trained in wine or coming from a family of winemakers, local (or adopted) who know their 'territory' better than anyone … Continue reading A Sea of Wine Guides? launch of a new network to find the best
August holidays have been cut short as wine producers return to start the harvest of whites, rosé and cremants. Early Reds to start next week (start September - 2 weeks early). Curiously as with all vintages that end with a zero in Bordeaux - this vintage 2020 promises good things. It has been hot for … Continue reading 2020 Bordeaux – promises well
For friends and family - an hour's fun aperitif to practice the language of winetasting in French and English! 6.30 to 7.30pm (any evening) - 1 hour of fun and tasting 3 classic wines from Bordeaux from great undiscovered smaller producers. Other timings possible 😉 Where? In your own home (St Emilion area) or a … Continue reading Launch ‘Oeno-Apero!’ Bordeaux
When most of the châteaux in Bordeaux are following the latest trend of using an army of amphoras in their new chai under construction, Leoville Barton stays with its historic recipe of wooden vats for making and ageing the wine. Tasting their vintage, they manage to achieve as always perfect balance. The château at Barton … Continue reading Class in a glass – Leoville Barton St Julien
The pretty village of Saint-Emilion is known around the world for its medieval monuments and cobble-stoned streets - and of course its famous red wines (it is called the 'hill of a 1000 châteaux'). It receives around 1 million visitors per year. The medieval village at nightfall nestled into its valley As in any 'touristy' … Continue reading My Top Five Restaurants in St Emilion for foodies (and wineys)
There are some wines that seem to accompany our lives, even if it arrives a bit by chance. Branaire-Ducru is one of those wines that seems to have just been there during those important moments of my life. And it is exactly the type of wine I love. Its classy (one can taste its wonderful … Continue reading Branaire Ducru, St Julien – a wine that has marked my life
When I first came to Bordeaux in the 1980s, the sign of a good well-made wine had always been one that would last for 20 or 30 years. Ripeness was not understood. It was about waiting for a minimum alcohol level and harvesting as quickly as possible to avoid the risk of losing the crop. … Continue reading What makes a Great wine in 2020
With the cancellation of the usual primeur tastings first week of April this year wine buyers and journalists have received their barrel samples of the new vintage by the post. And it seems to have worked, as tasting notes have been written and communicated all over the world - despite the fragile nature of these … Continue reading Futures Bordeaux 2019, time for a change?
"From generation to generation for over 200 years, in what is the very centre of St Emilion, my family has cultivated these soils and tended our vines. Today it is my turn and I try to make a wine that comes from my heart. Having now my own young son, who represents the 10th generation, … Continue reading If I could choose anywhere I could make wine….
Following the cancellation of the annual futures tastings in the first week of April, the Union de Grand Cru have organised a series of tastings around the world for trade where the wine can be tasted but the producers will not be present. So here are their UGC info and châteaux 2019 presentations (good synopsis … Continue reading Bordeaux 2019 – yes she gets to go to the ball – virtually
Bordeaux is waiting for you. “As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp … Continue reading Ready to make plans again…
Set in the rolling vineyards around St Emilion, Château Latour Segur is an historical château and boutique hotel with its own professional intimate spa. Wine touring can be tiring so it is wonderful at the end of the day to be able to unwind in a spa built into the very limestone that the area … Continue reading Relax after a hard day’s wine touring
You think it sounds like fun to have your own vineyard and make your own wine! It seems that the weather conditons are getting more extreme (is this down to global warming?) here in Bordeaux at least and it is providing a continual headache for the winemakers here. Cabernet Franc If the problems caused by … Continue reading #Bordeaux2020 please give us a break
Bordeaux, the wine capital of the world, is open again for visitors after two months of shutdown. It is possible again to visit some of the most famous and smaller châteaux in the Bordeaux wine region on the Right and Left bank - in private tours (even some at the weekends). The first to communicate … Continue reading Châteaux in Bordeaux open their doors again for visits
With so many years of experience of hosting private wine tours, here are a few things about the Bordeaux wine region (we think of Châteaux, wine aged in barrels and high prices!) that surprises our visitors when they come to Bordeaux; Bordeaux's wine district where the wine merchants were historically based and some still are … Continue reading Visiting Bordeaux Wine region – what you don’t know!
Following scares of frost damage the week before last (start april) now unlucky wine producers have had to face losses due to a freak hail storm on Friday afternoon 17th April. (Hail is normally a problem later in the year during electrical storms due to Bordeaux's oceanic climate). (addition to text on 5 may - … Continue reading Fire and Ice in Bordeaux Vineyards – vintage 2020
What was your biggest challenge in the vineyard? The challenge is each year the same : we must harvest late enough to pick perfectly ripe fruits (the decision can be difficult in years with a lot of rain before the harvest. We fear that it will rot the fruit and so we might … Continue reading Bordeaux 2019 -Yves Raymond, Château Saransot Dupré, Listrac, Haut Médoc
I would love to show you around this wonderful wine region that has been my home and play field for over 30 years now. Never has there been such a dynamic and exciting time to visit this classic but progressive region. I will be organising your individual itinerary. Thirty years as a wine professional in the region … Continue reading Coming to Bordeaux? What to expect on a SIP Private Wine Tour
Wine Tours with Nicolle Croft, Bordeaux Food & Wine Guide http://www.wineguidebordeaux.com Thirty years touring this wine region has given me lots of warm memories of people and places. Here are a few of my favorite wine people and some alternative things to do and places to go which will hopefully give you an idea of … Continue reading My Favorite Places when Wine Touring in Bordeaux
So far 2019 did not get to go to the ball but has had to stay at home (like the rest of us) and wait her turn. The futures barrel sample tastings in Bordeaux that normally takes place this week (first week of April) has been cancelled or hopefully postponed until another date. But which … Continue reading 2019 Bordeaux – will Cinderella get to go to the Ball?
private relaxed tours that privilege meeting the smaller winemakers and producers In addition to Private Wine Tours in Bordeaux France and Piemonte, Italy, SIP Wine Tours now offers tours to Spain and Portugal. Benjamin in the traditional stone lagar helping out some small producer friends during harvest in the Douro Valley, Portugal Our new partner … Continue reading Sip Private Wine Tours extends to Rioja and the Douro
One of my most fun memories from last season as a private wine and food guide was sipping at fresh white Bordeaux wine while seeing my favorite city from a different angle, from its life-line that goes straight through the city, the Garonne River. The setting sun behind St Michel spire and the Pont de … Continue reading See Bordeaux from an authentic Oyster boat
a personal story over 30 years, wine guide to visiting what is important in the region and finding good value in this exceptional wine terroir. Gail Barnett Copyright Its been 30 years since I arrived on the quayside in Bordeaux city, weary from my travels in this funny tin can of a car (a 2CV) … Continue reading Bordeaux Book Sip by Sip by Nicolle Croft
As the the Banarama girls said, 'its been a cruel summer...' with some really hot spells up to 40°C (like 1990 and 2003) heatwave in June and July but overall they were shortlived and the vines did not seem to suffer too much (even the young ones that dont have the deep roots). Soon this … Continue reading Cruel Summer 2019 – Red Bordeaux
To cope with global warming (yes it is having an impact already here in Bordeaux) hotter climate foreign varieties are to be given the green card - (see article on this blog) and new hybrid grape varieties are being created. Yet recently with the advance in DNA analysis, a dozen or so ancient varieties native … Continue reading Do we need new grape varieties in Bordeaux?
Not far from St Emilion, one of the France's most well-known wine villages, lies a simple family winery that has withstood the test of time. Leaving the village and passing infront of the prestigious classified Château Pavie, then Larcis Ducass and Bellefont Belcier, take the next on the right at the crossroads - its the … Continue reading Finding St Emilion’s Hidden treasures (even without a Name)
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
The sun is shining today after some much needed rain which fell in short sharp bursts since last weekend (21/22 Sept). Its Sunday (29 Sept) 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. … Continue reading Harvest 2019 Bordeaux with lots of smiles
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
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
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
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!
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
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
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
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
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. 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
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
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 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
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
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?
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
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
For the last year or two it is now the fashion to plant plants in between the rows of vines and on land that is fallow that replenish the soil (as they did 100 years ago). Many of these are leguminous (clover, pea such as vetch, bean, alfalfa, lupin - the Fabaceae family) which naturally … Continue reading Recharging the Vine’s Soil
For me archetypal St Emilion is a fresh fruity wine with good structure but not too full on. Rounded but at the same time not over the top. Elegant. Knows who it is. Fresh, pure. We have seen in the past a more full-blown style take the centre stage in St Emilion. I suppose we … Continue reading St Emilion Refound – refined pure style
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
Historically it was the robust oxen that worked the dense blue clay soils in the vineyards here in the north western corner of St Emilion and over the border into Pomerol. Horses were too fragile for the job, explained François Despagne, who has run the family estate of Château Grand Corbin Despagne, St Emilion Grand … Continue reading History and Science at Château Grand Corbin Despagne
aussi disponible en Français 'Bordeaux Pas à Pas' (Mollat, Fnac, Amazon)a personal story over 30 years, wine guide to visiting what is important in the region and finding good value in this exceptional wine terroir. Gail Barnett Copyright Its been 30 years since I arrived on the quayside in Bordeaux city, weary from my travels … Continue reading Bordeaux Book Sip by Sip by Nicolle Croft