Day 1 & 2
Left Edmonton early morning (4am) as my flight would leave at 6:30. Security is become stricter and longer even with domestic flights. Now need to be at airrport 2 hours in adnvance so as a consientious traveller trying to obey the recommended travelling advisories, I got to the International by 4:30, only to get thru everything including security in 23 minutes. However I must say that Westjet attendants were very helpful considering my foot condition. Yes I brought my cane with me. Weather conditions for travelling were ideal and the flight to Montreal with a small stop in Winnipeg (fully booked) was typical of any domestic airline.
Arrived in Montreal on time and now have a 3.4 hour layover. What to do? Considered going to the Air France lounge but they open at at 2:30pm for $40 but my plane boards at 3:35pm so I decided to go for a burger. Burger, fries and pop for $20. Airport fast foodies certainly make their monies.
Flight left on time and after 11 hours arrived in Paris at the Charles de Gaulle airport. I remember living in Paris when they first opened this airport and everyone was saying that it would be one of the wonders of the world. Today it feels outdated, ugly and so passe.
Went from Terminal 1to 2F with shuttle and waited for Bordeaux flight which departed on time. One main thing you have to be aware domestically, is that you never rely on the major billboards to find your gate number as the constantly change with very little notice. You need to verify at the gate itself that the actual flight is leaving from there. Happened to a friend when he missed his flight due these stupid changes without noticing.
However this time everything went smoothly, left on time, arrived on time and luggage arrived perfectly. I guess that August is considered a slow month (nearly everyone goes on holidays in August), while trying to go to Bordeaux during Vinexpo is rather chaotic, confusing and frustrating with regular loss of luggage.
So here I am, in one of my favourite French cities, going on this Bordeaux Wine Cruise and I feel pretty excited. While I love coming to Vinexpo, don"t get me wrong, it sometimes feel repetitive, while this so so new for me.
I get to our hotel, Hotel Mercure, Bordeaux Centre, where the receptionist, attractive and efficent, upgrades me to a better room. Relax for 1 hour before my Edmonton group arrives by TGV from Paris (they were there for 2 days) and now we are all ready for our first winery visit: Chateau Brown in Pessac Leognan, which my good friend Matthieu Le Bourdon of La Maison Beyerman has set up.
As already mentioned in my Facebook, Chateau Brown is an elegant well recognized non Cru Classe winery situated in the Pessac Leognan appellation. Anne Celine was our hostess and guide and we all learned much during our 2 hour visit vist/tasting. Saw meticulous cared vineyards, super clean winery (in preperation for the harvest) and finished with 3 wines: 2015 Blanc, composed of 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Semillon along with their 2014 and 2012 Red, usually composed of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot & 5% Petit Verdot. Delicious difference between these 2 wines. The 2014 is rather young, stll aggressive, tannic while the 2012 is showcasing more attractiveness and elegance at this stage in it's life. Last year at Vinexpo I had the opprtunity to taste over 45 different 2012's and I found them extremely more attractive and flavourful than in its previous year. Amazing what 1 year can do.
After our return to the hotel for a brief yet necessary rest, time to out on the town. I love the city of Bordeaux especially in the old part. As Hotel Mercure is situated in the centre of Bordeaux we were able to walk all the way to Place Gambetta to choose which restaurant we wanted. After searching we finally chose Brasserie Grands Hommes with nice outdoor tables. The staff were quite accommodating as we were 13.
We all chose different dishes from exotic sea snails to more common chicken, salmon, porc dishes accompanied by a petit chateau red wine served in that typical French carafe. One of the more unique dishes was the "melon avec port". We all assumed this woud be melon balls infused in port. Instead came this half cantaloupe on ice with a glass of port on the side. Then you poured whatever amount of port you wanted. A delicious yet effective way to serve.
After a 2.5 hour dinning adventure we all chose to return to the hotel as we knew we would have long day on Friday: a morning winery visit to Chateau du Tertre in the Margaux appellation, then returning to Bordeaux to board the AmaDolce, our residence for the next 7 days. I also will have to prepare my little Bordeaux wine presentation to our group, then go the welcome reception with drinks, then have dinner with wine and maybe a late nightcap if necessary.