Morrell & Co. Wine Catalog

FALL 2018

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48 | MORRELL FINE WINE AND SPIRITS V ISIT u S AT MORRELLWINE .c OM cALL 800.96.WINES (800.969.4637) T here are certainly enough books about terroir and the various Chateaux; often you'll find entire works detailing a single estate or grouping within a village. As for terroir, there is no shortage of maps and studies on the topic: left bank, right bank, the soils and each variety that they specialize in. You can even find the percentage of each grape planted in a vineyard, broken into blocks, and with a pedigree of ownership going back over 100 years or more. The fact is that Bordeaux, mostly because of its popularity and well-established branding, is probably the most studied and documented wine region on e arth. Which, you would think, would make it easy to understand the region without ever setting your feet on the ground. However, I for one, have always wrestled with it. I've read and studied, tasted and poured over maps. However, for me, Bordeaux has always been a mystery, a land of labels, sprawling vineyards, and immense châteaux. I failed to comprehend the scope of it, the boots-on-the-ground understanding, or gain any connection to its people and what inspired them to make wine. Bordeaux always seemed to be about brands, companies and profits to me. I never connected… u ntil this year, when the idea was pitched for me to join a group that was setting off to explore Bordeaux for an entire week. We would be knocking on the doors of the top chateau, and tasting with winemakers and owners alike. I must admit that, at the time, I didn't feel very excited. I was propelled by the education aspect, by the ability to taste new vintages and make contacts. However, I also was biased by over a decade of tasting labels, studying long-winded texts and drinking brands. Yet, what I found there was completely different from what I had ever imagined. For one thing, it was the people. Anyone reading this that hasn't visited Bordeaux must admit that they would feel anxious about it. There is an image that is Bordeaux. It is an image of grand Chateaux, old money, tuxedos and fancy cars. There's a museum-like aura that surrounds the region, making you question if it's okay to pull out the camera, and if so, is it okay to use the flash? Should you speak? Is your question relevant? And, of course, are you dressed well enough for your visit? All of these fears were settled upon my first visit at l es Carmes Haut-Brion, reinforced on my second visit at Chateau d'Yquem, and completely solidified by my third visit at Smith Haut l afitte. These were not the people I had expected; they were the most welcoming that you could ever imagine, as I walked into a gilded dining room and was offered a seat in a chair that my grandmother would have covered in plastic. These were passionate and inspired people, yet also confident and laid back. Their number one topic of conversation was to ask what they could be doing better. As for my worries about the dress code, let's just say that I felt overdressed in the attire that I had decided was befitting a visit to Chateau d'Yquem. And if you want to talk about welcoming, nothing could be more welcoming than Bruno Borie, of Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou, cooking us dinner (himself) simply because he loves to do it. B OR deaux a N d Ba CK aG ai N : a Wi N e d i R e CTOR ' S Ta L e Forming a good understanding of Bordeaux isn't that difficult from just about any location in the world.

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