Bordeaux: Evaluating the 2007 vintage

What: en primeur tastings of the 2007 vintage wines

When: April 2008

Where: all over Bordeaux, France

Who: worldwide wine journalists (and top trade tasters)

Why: once you manage to get through Air France’s disdain for US travelers, the people in Bordeaux are exceptionally polite and welcoming.

And you get to catch up with fellow journalists from all over the world, have access winemakers and owners of every chateau in Bordeaux – and evaluate the new vintage wines for yourself.

From the outside, here’s what it looks like:

Dozens of journalists from all over the world moving around the regions of Bordeaux France in an intricate dance of winetastings, luncheons, dinners and overnights at glorious chateaux during the first week of April.

All choreographed by the UGC (Union des Grands Crus of Bordeaux – the association of the top wine-producing chateaux in this prestigious area).

Here’s what it is:

Taste, spit, evaluate and make notes on dozens of wines first thing in the morning.

Red-stained teeth.

Lunch with wonderful foods and great wines. Try not to eat or drink much, because in the afternoon, you have to get to the other (non UGC) tastings that everyone has set up to take advantage of journalists’ presence in Bordeaux: everything from additional producers in this region to biodynamic producers from all over. Every afternoon. Receptions in the evenings, if you can break away (I never have).

More red teeth.

Long, lovely dinners with chateau owners: try not to drink much at all — of the incredible vintage wines they have laid out.

Try to get to bed at a reasonable time, in order to get up in the morning and do it all over again.

Highlights: the people

Quietly devastating, intent Stephen Brook — try to sit near him at meals if at all possible because his wit is as formidable as his knowledge

Endlessly curious Steven Spurrier — perfect companion for dashing about the countryside for additional tastings

Engaging Guy Woodward, always in the right places.

Still recovering from tasting in the presence of greats such as Jancis Robinson, Serena Sutcliffe, David Peppercorn, James Lawther…

LISTEN to my interviews on itunes’ Wine&Dine Radio: Becky Sue Epstein, International Wine and Spirits, Food and Travel Writer, attending the annual En Primeur Bordeaux tasting, from Sauternes on Sauternes, Show 718a and back home in Boston, with her summary thoughts on the 2007 Bordeaux vintage wines. Show 720c

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