I really don't get to Bordeaux often enough, it was a few years since I had been and we had a reminder last weekend of just what a wonderful city it is. It began as a plan to just have a weekend away, with no wine visits or tastings lined up - we just wanted to enjoy the city as tourists.
Of course, it would be a shame not to visit Chateau Mangot while we were there, so we set up a quick visit out in Saint Emilion and then, our friends who joined us for the weekend wanted to see some of the splendour of the left bank, so we set up an appointment in Chateau Lynch Bages for the afternoon.
On the Friday evening, we arrived at our cheap and cheerful hotel in pleasant 23 degree sunshine. The girls went to see a few shops, Eoin and myself had abeer and then we bought a bottle of Gosset Grande Reserve to have in the room while getting ready. It was delicious - plastic glasses and all!
We then went out to Bar a Vins - a must-visit for all wine-focussed people. In a beautiful building owend by the CIVB, this place offers a showcase for the wines of Bordeaux. Great wines by the glass from €2 per glass - it is amazing value and great atmosphere - not helped by the rude staff, but that was a running theme of the weekend....
Our visit to Chateau Mangot in beautiful Saint Emilion was great with the ebullient Yann in great form showing us the winery and some of their 60 hectares (split between Saint Emilion grand Cru and Cotes de Castillon).
After tasting various vintages of Chateau La Brande, Chateau Mangot and their upper cuvees (the 09s are amazing), we proceeded to a lovely lunch outside in Castillon. We then had a quick scoot across to the Medoc where we arrived bang on time for our appointment in Lynch Bages. A very smooth operation with 400,000 bottles made each year, this is a really nice place to visit. In fairness to the Cazes family, they have done a great job investing money in the village and doing a really classy yet understated job of their own.
Dinner in a local brasserie and a few drinks on the Place Saint Pierre rounded off a great day. I was awoken the next morning to get my Twitter account hacked - I wasn't the only one - but this really was a pain to try and sort out on my phone from Bordeaux...once again apologies to anyone who received a dodgy message from me!
Overall, Bordeaux is a beautiful and enjoyable city to visit - a great mix of fine wine, beautiful architecture, great food and nice weather - I would highly recommend it.