It’s that time of year again, spring has sprung and the cellars doors are opening. They are open all year really but I find the sunshine a great motivator to get out and visit. And for those of you that know anything about living, working or holidaying in France you will know about the month of May here – a month of endless bank holidays that are a perfect opportunity to enjoy the better weather and get out and about in the vineyards.
However if you need a little more motivation or are already in the mood for tasting, start in Bordeaux at the Brasserie Bordelaise. This is one of the busiest and buzziest Bordeaux restaurants of the moment (it’s been around for a long moment). Until the 23rd of March, two different wine makers from the Côtes de Bourg appellation will be present every evening to offer you a tasting of their wines and, should you order the delicious ‘Côte de Boeuf’, they will offer you a complimentary bottle and the chance to enter a competition to win a weekend in the appellation during their annual Open day on 10-11th May.
If you can’t wait until then, the 5/6th April sees the 22nd edition of the ‘Printemps des Châteaux en Médoc’ when 57 winemakers, be they Grands Crus Classés, Crus Bourgeois, Crus Artisans or Caves Cooperatives, will welome you to the region and their cellars. Local restaurants and B & Bs will join in the fun with art exhibitions and other activities, more info on : http://www.vinsdumedoc.com
A month later, head east to the right bank for four days in the four appellations of Saint-Emilion, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, Lussac Saint-Emilion et Puisseguin Saint-Emilion from 1st to the 4th of May. Here 64 chateaux will welcome you with tastings, dinners competitions and more. For more info see http://www.maisonduvinsaintemilion.com Maison du Vin de Saint-Emilion or get in the atmosphere with this video.
If you are not in town until June do not despair. Bordeaux Fête le Vin that labels itself as the largest wine tourism event in Europe, will take place from 26th to 29th June 2014.Having already welcomed over 500,000 visitors, this year it celebrates the 50th birthday of the Bordeaux – Los Angeles twinning and LA will be the guest of honour. Running 2kms along the Bordeaux waterfront to visit all the stands you will need your walking shoes but also your dancing shoes as this will also be the « Bordeaux Music Festival » with 4 concerts in 4 days. So it’s not just about wine; street art, exhibitions by Californian artists, open air cinema and a wine themed literary salon will all be going on alongside wine master classes. Should you find it all too much and need to flee the madding (wine) crowd, there will be excursions to the peace and quiet of the vineyards too – something for everyone.
See you soon in Bordeaux.