Friday, September 08, 2006

My Bordeaux 4

Here's what wikipedia has to say about Bordeaux the second largest wine region in the world with about 117, 000 hectares of vineyards. 57 appellations, 9,000 wine-producing châteaux, 13,000 grape growers, 400 traders and sales of 14,5 billion euros annually. With an annual production of over 700 million bottles, Bordeaux produces large quantities of everyday wine as well as very expensive wines.

*Please note these lions of Bordeaux (and I might add Astoria..) guarding the entrance in this watercolor act as
camouflage for any listing turrets etc. I did get to do a series of 4 châteaux prints.You can find them here.
Did you know I can put up a shack, plant some vines and call myself Châteaux Margaux-Gillot if I live in Margaux? The problem is I'd need a ton of $$$$, same as in Napa, to own the smallest scrap of land there, so forget that bright idea Gillot!
Now there are Les "garagistes" as they 're called...Well they don't exactly live in garages but they sprouted up in the '90s, in reaction to the traditional Bordeaux wine style, which is highly tannic and requires long ageing in the bottle. The garagistes developed a style more consistent with international wine norms. For reds, this means "bigger, bolder, fruitier wines with sometimes a higher alcohol content." Robert M. Parker Jr. loves them. Just try to get a sip of "châteaux" Le Pin. Bon Chance mes amis!
Bi-annually the La Fête de la Fleur crowns the end of VinExpo. This grand soirée is attended by the top chateaux owners and held at a different chateau. I got to go by taking pictures for Wine Enthusiast magazine. Jean-Michel Cazes, one of Bordeaux's kings, played host at Chateau Cantenac-Brown. A huge tent was set up on the grounds and after the cocktail hour 1500 eminent wine folk sat down and ate a four-course dinner of regional dishes. Between courses giant corks and bottles paraded around on stilts cirque-de-soleil style.
By the end of dinner it was pouring (not just wine I might add). On leaving, we each got a huge Bordeaux red umbrella with the Bontemps du Médoc seal on it. This is one umbrella I've managed never to lose.
When I first started going to Bordeaux, I was taken on early morning tours to the various châteaux. I happen to have very limited capacity for alcohol, like 1/2 a glass puts me to sleep or I I was offered a morning taste of Châteaux Petrus..I said no :( "Je regrette TOUT!" So there you have my deepest, darkest secret. Please don't tell. Bordeaux has other delights besides wine, like fluted little cakes, cannéles. You can also take home (well not really, if customs has anything to say about it) a small Merlot plant. Still it's nice to know just in case the FDA should change their minds...
Every Fall before the harvest, in fact tomorrow on 9 septembre, the 21st Marathon du Médoc Race will be run through the Médoc vineyards. Perhaps the only marathon where runners get to stop en route at chateaux and refresh themselves on wine as well as water. Thousands (up to 7,500 is the limit) of runners invade the vineyards starting at Bordeaux and running 48 miles away to Pauillac - making it the longest marathon in the world.Ah "days of wine and roses".. If you walk through Bordeaux's vineyards you'll see rose bushes lining the front rows of the vines. This is not just because they're classy and smell nice. No way. These are "working roses." If a nasty pest like Phylloxera attacks the vines, the roses will catch it first and let the winemaker know how to proceed.
I do still go to all the wine tasting events they'll let me into.. There's a Riesling tasting next Tuesday. Cya Well these days I'm joined at hip to cups of chocolat chaud and as Shakira says, those hips don't lie.


  1. Anonymous7:58 AM

    Thank you Carol for letting us know the REAL reason those beautiful roses are at the ends of rows in vineyards. I, too, always thought it was a romantic bit done for aesthetics alone.
    Another GREAT blog!
    S.Jersey Boy.

  2. Anonymous8:33 AM

    I like how you ended your blog, with that nice watercolor of the cup of coffee. Like having breakfast with "Paris Breakfasts."

  3. These are just so spectacular, Carol! May I suggest a book of these? And if so, please send me a note where I can order!!! Eye candy, inspiration, glorious memories and images ...!

  4. Anonymous10:06 AM

    I keep wondering when we're going to see some of the shoe designs you did!? loveitaly

  5. Anonymous10:56 AM

    I have really been enjoying your recent wine posts, Carol, but today's is especially lovely!

  6. Great watercolors!!! I love them, they are so cheerful and beautiful. Congrats!!!
    Greetings from Chile

  7. I think the first two paintings are my favorites so far.

  8. Anonymous11:27 PM

    I was once lucky enough to attend La Fête de la Fleur (they gave away key rings that year) thanks for bringing back great memories. I love your paintings, you should be honored with a Mouton label…

  9. yummy blog carol! thanks for pointing me in this direction...
    and great great watercolors and can' eait to hear all the news about the Riesling. my favorite in Germany...

  10. Anonymous8:29 AM

    We are hoping to go to France next summer. I am putting Bordeaux on the list of areas I want to see :-)

  11. What a lovely blog. Love both your stories and your watercolors! Again, lovely!

  12. Carol,
    I just discovered your blogg some minutes ago, your watercolors are excellent, wow!!!! Me too, I love France and Paris is my favoutite capital town. We've just been there in July.
    Cordialement, Anita

  13. More beautiful paintings. I love the impressive perspective on the second one. Also, that last bit about Shakira is hilarious.

  14. I continue to enjoy exploring your site. The stories along with the paintings make it so interesting. Congrats on the Shout Outs! I even learned a new expression!

  15. I am enjoying your blog so much I've added a link!

  16. great post! and beautiful watercolours!

  17. hi carol, as always, mind blowingly that a queue i hear forming at your door of winemakers wanting to commission custom carol g. labels ;)

  18. Anonymous4:23 PM

    Beautiful! From the first glass, through those chateaux....and all the way to the final cup of chocolat chaud!

    (I listen to NRJ here to work on my French! Tu a raison!)


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