A Study in Contrasts

Recently my parents came to France for a weeklong visit. After a rather chaotic departure (on both sides of the Atlantic) we spent a rather interesting weekend in Paris before heading south to Bordeaux. And of course no visit to Bordeaux would be complete without a little wine tasting.

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Decoding Decanting

In April, shortly after the mayhem that was en primeur, exams and a visit with my parents (more on these adventures later), I was surprised with a last minute visit from my good friend M. From New York, M. was spending time in London for work and found herself with a free weekend, so she hopped a plane for her first ever visit to France and came to stay with me in Bordeaux. Of course wanting to show off the beautiful place where I live, we went to the beach, wandered around the city center and ate dinner at one of my favorite restaurants.

But this visit was enlightening on a couple of levels. While M. is in fact a wine drinker, she isn’t a wine nerd like me. Rather she knows which varietals she likes and she tends to stick to those options. So while eating our delicious Italian dinner (I know wrong country but nothing beats handmade pasta, truffles and fresh burrata) we of course ordered red wine that was slightly outside her wheelhouse. When we were brought the bottle and I first tried the wine, it was quite reserved and quite closed. So I requested a decanter. Which immediately sparked a discussion with M. about wine knowledge and how she wouldn’t have even thought to ask for a decanter, rather she would have just said she didn’t actually like the wine.

The other revelation came for her request with a Mimosa for brunch. Now my North American readers will completely understand this (what they see as reasonable request) the European readers are likely scratching their heads. And if by chance they do know what a Mimosa is, they are likely rolling their eyes in disgust, but that is the subject of another post.

Back to the decanter story: Ultimately as we slowly sipped the wine and allowed it to breath it opened up into a deliciously complex and lovely wine that paired perfectly with our rich food. This lead to further conversation about wine culture in the United States and the fact that the local bistro around the corner isn’t even likely to HAVE a decanter on hand. So when I came across this awesome infographic from Fix.com  I thought it would be worth sharing. So without further ado, your handy guide to Decoding the Decanting Process:

Source: Fix.com

A First Growth Morning

Another brisk, yet bright morning in Bordeaux. A half-day of playing hooky from work. A visit and a tasting at one of five Bordeaux First Growths: Chateau Haut Brion.

That right there says enough. But of course, I have more to say.

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