Bordeaux is a true benchmark for international winemaking, and this year at Finca La Emperatriz we want to find out more about one of the key activities of the region’s wineries: en primeur tastings, or wine futures.
Wineries invite the “negotians” to taste their wines. This tasting is done about six months after production and according to the quality of wine,a price is established between the property and the merchant.
For those of you who are unaware, every year at the start of April Bordeaux fills with buyers, journalists and wine connoisseurs, who make their way to the wineries for the first tasting of the new vintages.Thus, on every château we visited, we tasted around 30 different wines from 30 producers.
Saint Emilion, a charming little town and a landmark in Bordeaux wine (along with Médoc, Graves and Pomerol) was our first stop to visit several chateaux and to try different wines from Saint Emilion, Pomerol and Fronsac. It is a cold area in which Merlot is the dominant variety, because of the short growing season.
As you know Bordeaux has a very peculiar system of classification of different crus (estates) that identifies the best châteaux, based on the quality of its vineyards. This classification of Grand Crus, effective today, has its origin in the Universal Exhibition of Paris of 1885, where Napoleon III, the husband of the Empress Eugenia de Montijo, requested a classification system for best Bordeaux wines to be shown to visitors from around the world.
Day two began with a visit to the Sylvain barrel-makers, where we were able to observe up close the production process for the famous Bordeaux barrels.
We continued tasting on different Châteaux belonging to “Union des grands crus de Bordeaux” starting with Château La Conseillante in Pomerol and Château Villemaurine, another Grand Cru Classéproducer,where we were able to taste the new vintages and see its magnificent openwork with an area of 21 hectares.
To round off our trip, we visited Château Soutard - Grand Cru Classé in Saint Emilion, where we taseted a Grand Cru Classéfrom Saint Emilion
On the last day we continued with the visits to several Châteaux belonging to the “Union des grands crus de Bordeaux” on the area of Medoc where oils have more gravel so the best and ripe grape variety is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon with visits to a number of other châteaux in Margaux, Listrac-Mèdoc, Saint Estèphe adn Péssac Léognan: Château Labegorce, Château Fourcas Dupre, Château Phelan Segur and Château Olivier, a Grand Cru Classe at Pessac Leognan.
Visiting Bordeaux at such a special time of year was an incredible experience. We came away with wonderful memories of this charming region, where we learnt a great deal and were given the opportunity to appreciate both its superb wines and the know-how of its wineries.