Thursday, September 29, 2011

Vineyard Delights 23rd September 2011

23 Sept 2011

Wine tour at Chateau Meyre
Luke felt he was getting sick again so promptly took himself off to the doctor in St Emilion this morning with help from the caravan park Lily Allen, who wrote a long note for him and gave him directions. The glory of Google Translate. He got lost a bit but still managed to get in and out and made purchases of necessary drugs - much stronger and different antibiotics and scary lung anti-inflammatories. Third time's the charm.

This left me to clean the cabin which I did and Lily gave us a late checkout which helped. Near the restaurant they'd inflated the kids' jumping castle and it looked very inviting, much better than the washing up - until they started pressure cleaning it, plumes of water going everywhere. The park closes for the season on Sunday. The fun is over. It's an interesting thing in Europe, that they close down the resorts and caravan parks in October. Perhaps it's not economical to run it with so few people visiting but I always wonder what happens to the people who work there. Do they just holiday for the next 5 months or so?

They were deconstructing the mini-golf course as well, which meant we were the last people to have fun on it for the season. Quite the achievement.

We were finally on our way by 11.30.

Monseuir GPS got us lost again and we ended up going the long way to Avensan. On the way we stopped at a E.Leclerc to buy bread - took about 20 minutes and was rather painful. We ended up in the 10 items or less line which was dominated by hordes of young men buying sandwiches for lunch. We were also treated to the worst toilet ever, a self cleaning monstrosity that required squatting over a hole and which flushed the entire room after you left. EEK.

Inside the yeasty new cellar at Chateau Meyre
Drove around looking for somewhere to have French lunch. Castelnau looked rather dingy so we went back to Chateau Meyre to check in early. It was lucky we did - the English language tour started at 2.30pm.

It was very interesting, we were given info about grape varieties, production methods, terroir etc. shown around the cellars which smelled of yeast and then given a tasting of two wines. It was just us and 2 Japanese tourists. The guide was only 23, looked like Revenge of the Nerds crossed with a member of the country club. Thick glasses, sweater over his shoulder, green pants, loafers. He was very knowledgeable and liked to talk about marketing.

Nice barrels of oak
Chateau Meyre isn't Grand Cru and is never allowed to be. So they just try and make the best wine they can. It's here that the Cru system falls down, I think. It's possible that the Grand Cru wines just sit back and make money on their laurels, awarded in the 1800s based mainly on location. Meanwhhile, the wineries trying to modernise or try something new are held back. It's a wine version of the class system and I think it's rather dodgy.

Curtains match the wallpaper
Our room was small but flowery, wallpaper matched the curtains, if you know what I mean. And by that I mean that the wallpaper matched the curtains. Comfy beds. It was really hot and we chickened out on riding bikes around the vineyards. Luke did a lot of laying around feeling ill but we eventually took ourselves out for a nice walk around the vineyard at sunset, eating the grapes. You could taste the difference between different varieties on offer (merlot, cab sav, petit verdot). Some of the vines were 40 years old. We also admired the huge windmill that stood amidst the vines, labelled with the words "NOFROST". They use it to prevent frost settling on the buds in spring.

We were pre-booked at the Restaurant Savoie in Margeaux. It was expensive but we decided we were splashing out. The truffle ravioli with lobster I had was incredibly good. Not surprising, really.
Langoustine (lobster) with white truffle ravioli and black truffle ice cream
 I also had weird St Jacques crab with vegies, orchid flowers and oranage and caramel sauce, very nice. It's not often you eat orchids for dinner. Luke had foie gras and pigeon. Tasty. And one less pigeon in the world.

For my aperetif I orded a kir vin blanc with peche (peach). The waiter looked at me and laughed. He called a waitress over. She looked at me and laughed. Took a bit of prompting but they finally agreed to make one. Apparently kir vin blanc only has cassis or mure. No peche.

There is no peche. What is wrong with you that you would want peche? There is no peche.

I think, why would you stop at just 2 flavours? If you're going to put flavouring in your white wine, why not anything that takes your fancy? I asked the receptionist at the chateau the next day. She looked at me funny and said it was just not done. I pointed out that I'd had this drink at least 3 other times in other areas of France... it wasn't my invention. Obviously they're set in their ways in Bordeaux.

Luke ordered his first Martini blanc and it was spectacular. That's it, we're martini drinkers now.

The bill came to about E120 with drinks (a small 375 bottle of Margeaux red which was E23). Expensive but good.
The vinyard with Chateau Meyre in the background

The view of the vineyards from our window

Went to bed very late and didn't sleep too well, thanks to all that alcohol.

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