Monday, August 20, 2012

First Nose, Swirl, Second Nose, Drink

Hello all! I'm getting a little behind on posts, but I'm going to keep them broken up so there isn't like one super long one. 

So last weekend we went to Bordeaux, just for Friday night and Saturday. We got in at around 9:30 am and found our way to the hotel, but couldn't check in right away so we just left our stuff. Then we headed out to explore a bit and ended up walking along the longest pedestrian street in Europe! It was super cool and there was tons of shopping. It was super hot out, making it the perfect day to go inside air conditioned stores. I didn't really buy anything (Julie and I need to not shop like at all anymore), but it was fun to see everything and be in airconditioning. We got a delicious lunch of avocado salad and a fish plat (first time I didn't get dessert) and made our way back up the street a bit (stopping for a 3 pairs of shoes for 10 euro deal - I have now bought 5 pairs of shoes here) before turning toward the water.

We walked until we came across this very welcome fountain, which we played in and felt sooo much better. 

Then we kept walking until we were about to pass out if we didn't get some ice cream. So we did.

 Then we decided to locate a tourist office to prepare for the next day. It was a hot mess of a walk there so we stopped in a Cathedral on the way (they are frequently occurring and very cool) to cool off.

We got our Saturday planned out with the lady at the tourist office and headed to our hotel to cool off. We picked up a simple baguette, cheese, and hame to have for dinner while watching the Olympics in our hotel, it was a lovely and relaxing evening.

Julie's and my hotel room
 The next morning we were up, fed, and checked out by 9:15 and walked up to our class at l'√©cole du vin - "wine school." We took a class on the history and making of Bordeaux wines and also learned how to taste. Hence the title of this post. You take the first nose to identify the first aromas (the more dominant ones), then swirl, then take the second nose to get the secondary aromas from the swirling. And then I think it's actually typical to speak a bit about the dryness, the tannins, the structure, etc. with whatever degree of pretentiousness suits you. Then you drink. Or taste in our case.

But before we could taste we did this smell test thing where we smelled various aromas and tried to identify them or match them with scents. Julie and I got one right.

In the actually tasting we tried a dry white wine that was great, a really not very good red (that was used to show the most expensive wines from the best places are still sometimes bad - never buy without tasting!), a red that I really enjoyed, and a sweet white wine that was like eating honey and was the only one I had to spit out.

Then we were ready to take our new skills into the field. We had a little time to kill so we shopped around (I found a belt for my dress - really a need purchase so it's ok...), grabbed a late lunch, and then headed to a nearby vineyard. 

Me at the vineyard with the aforementioned belt

We learned all about the types of grapes they use, how they make the wine, and how they store it to give it various aromas. The barrels give it vanilla and oak aromas that very in strength depending on the age of the barrel.

After the tour we did a tasting, and I really enjoyed the red and the white that we tasted, so I bought a bottle of each to bring home to the family! Can't wait to share them with my parents (aren't those the best gifts to give - the ones you get to take part in too?).

Anyway, I think that pretty well sums up Bordeaux. We had a quick dinner and got on the train back to Paris for a busy week that I'll report on shortly. 

Hope all is well and the wine is good, wherever you may be!


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