En Primeur, Day 1
So here I am in Bordeaux the Sunday before the beginning of En Primeur, where journalists will sample the new 2009 vintage. Already the word is that 2009 is a fantastic vintage, and as I had some great early tastes this week (and was warned not to write details!) I quite agree.
As is the custom during this week, journalists are hosted by Chateaux all around Bordeaux. I knew that tonight — Sunday — I would be spending the evening at Chateau Reynon, but I couldn't find much information about it, including who its owners were, on the web.
Once our car maneuvered the long, winding, majestic driveway, I was greeted by charming young Jean-Jacques Dubourdieu (responsible for Marketing and Sales Management) who I initially met in Manhattan at a Sauternes tasting event. But wait! What was Jean-Jacques doing here?! When I had seen him two weeks earlier, he was representing the prestigious Second Growth Sauternes Chateau Doisy-Daene at an event for Master of Wine Students (and freely pouring the 1998 vintage). Standing next to him was an elegantly dressed and equally charming woman introduced as his mother, Florence.
After a trip up an elaborate marble staircase, I was shown into my bright yellow room with very high ceilings and two enormous windows that look out to the vineyards. When I went downstairs for a pre-dinner tasting, I found my host was Professor Denis Dubourdieu (Jean-Jacques' father), whom I had also met two weeks earlier with Master of Wine students.
Professor Dubourdieu has a very grand name in Bordeaux and indeed the world, as he is a dignified and much sought-after consultant. Fellow students in the Masters of Wine program felt so privileged to have met him on the trip, as Professor Dubourdieu was kind enough to give a lecture and take us all into the university's technical room where we were able to sample bottles of different varietals from different areas and create our own blended wine. One of the more memorable quotes from his interesting lecture to Master of Wine students was his analogy of how wine and humans are so much alike — something to the effect that it is beneficial for both fine wine and humans to become more interesting as they get older, and to appear a bit younger than their actual age.