Helen Kelly with her husband Nick, are the winemakers and owners at Chateau de Claribes in Gensac, Gironde. Originally from Oxfordshire, East of London, Helen and Nick were working in IT and decided to make a major life change. Like so many who move to France, the choice was for a better quality of life. More balance. While both travelled often for work and leisure, most importantly holidaying in a vineyard in the Entre-Deux-Mers, the final decision to permanently move seemed clear.
It is run as a biodynamic vineyard and your tour with guide Eveli Rodriguez will highlight some of the more important and interesting parts of biodynamic wine making. This might have been my favourite part because it opened conversation to other unique methods of farming, like the use of music to promote growth and protect from mildew. Eveli adores questions so come prepared!
This summer being so hot, the classical whites and crement from Bordeaux were not really interesting to me. Petnat wines, or pétillant naturel, have really come along locally. What are they and where to find a really lovely petnat wine!
So many of us who love France and wine, will dream of spending a day harvesting grapes in one of the vineyards. Is this possible? Can I work on a vineyard if I'm a tourist? Where can I find harvest employment if I can legally work?
My summers with my husbands family from Gironde were always spent around the lunch table. Hours of sharing wonderful food cooked by his grandmother, stories about life here from his grandfather, and red wine. Always a rather bold, hearty, red wine from Pessac Leognan. Which, is what most of us think about when we come to Bordeaux the first time. However, I want to share some of my favorite Bordeaux whites (a sparkling rose) to enjoy in this sizzling summer heat.
Nea Burglund is one of the people I met and just wanted to know more about immediately. She is driven and experimental. Originally from Finland, in winemaking she wants to respect the traditional process and classical wines found in Bordeaux, but she is also very open to trying something new. Her organic and more 'experimental' wines have been a hit. In fact, she's all but sold out until the next bottling (run if you want some rose!). Which is really impressive for a relatively new winemaker. You also need to try her delicious balsamic vinegar. And stay at her newly renovated three bedroom gite on property. The perfect French countryside escape. Nea Burglund is one to watch!
The hotel and restaurant designed by Lalique at Chateau Lafaurie Peyraguey is an incredible experience. Tucked away in the Sauternes vines, creating some of the best wine and offering stellar service. Chef Jerome Schilling creates memorable dishes using unique cooking techniques and surprising flavor profiles. Paired expertly with unique, playful wines choices, it's easy to see why this is one of Sauternes gems.
which is an appellation created in the 1980's, but one in which wine has been made for thousands of years. In fact, the oldest wine producing chateau in the area is Chateau Pape Clement, named for Pope Clement V who started planting vines there in the 14th century.
Starting in 2019, we used our platform to share and promote the Women of Aquitaine. From historical figures like Aliénor of Aquitaine to modern day taste makers in wine like Chinedu Rita Rosa, we aim to highlight these incredible women who have shaped and are still influencing our world. Many are in the realm of food and wine in Bordeaux, but we cover many others like young pilots who share their images of the Bassin d'Arcachon, or photographers sharing the lives of female fisherman off the coast of La Rochelle.
The south west of France has always been a land of passage and trade: the Romans introduced the vine (la vigne), the Arabs the still (l'alembic armagnacais) and the Celts the barrel (la barrique). This is how the oldest recorded distilled wine in France came about. There are even documents citing the Armagnac as early... Continue Reading →
Bordeaux is a great city to visit - it's a lovely, smaller version of Paris (much of Paris was designed after it's 18th century design), but many come to learn more about the wine culture of Bordeaux. If you only have one day, there is plenty to explore in town. I'd invite you to spend at least two, because visiting a producer outside of town is a must, be it the famous Chateau Pape Clement which is accessible by public transport or the intimate, family owned producer of Chateau Beard la Chapelle in the hills near Saint Emilion.
...after flying over water to see this barren island in the middle of nowhere, with clear skies, we were all excited about our adventure...the apartment we stayed at on the North Coast. It was a perfect escape from the world. What is great about Lanzarote, most everything you'll want to see is outside and the wind blows year round so it's fresh air all the time. It is a rough, moon-like landscape due to a large volcanic eruption almost three-hundred years ago (smaller one since). It's not a tropical island, but it has its own wild beauty.
What is tricky about most wines in the Bordeaux region is that they vary in taste from house to house, based on different grape blends, materials used during aging, and the very unique distinction of terroir (environmental factors such as soil and climate). Around Saint Emilion you find lots of gravel, sand, limestone, and a special blue clay which can add different mineral or earthiness to the grapes.