The Inaugural l’Eté du Vin Wine Tour took place May 6-12 in Bordeaux. The group of eight Nashville Wine Auction “regulars” was led by Tom Milam, l’Eté du Vin Founder. We had a BLAST touring the left and right banks of the Gironde River taking in the picturesque vineyard scenes and drooling at the Chateaux as we passed by…Cheval Blanc, Petrus, Yquem, Haut Brion, Margaux, Latour, Lynch-Bages, and on and on.
We had five full days of tours, tasting, luncheons with winemakers and spectacular dinners. Milam took the Carte de Vin each night and kept the great Bordeaux wines coming from all the regions we visited.
We rekindled friendships from long ago with Milam telling stories of how things were 20 years ago and assuring the vintners and negociants that Nashville is a place they must visit and l’Eté du Vin the best wine event in the USA! Prince Robert of Luxembourg of Haut Brion with winemaker Jean-Phillipe Delmas welcomed us with an amazing lunch and tasting, as did Chateau Margaux’s winemaker Paul Pontallier (Madame Corinne Mentzelopoulos was in Paris) allowing us to taste the 2009, 2010, and 2011 vintages of Pavillon Rouge and Margaux. We were amazed with Salin Negociant, Christophe Lillet and wow’d by one of the most creative cuisineers at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, Auberg St. Jean, in Graves.
Of course the highlight of the trip was meeting Jean-Michelle Cazes at the Cordellaine Bages in Pauillac. He brought out an (empty) bottle of ’59 Château Lynch-Bages he had enjoyed with Nashvillians at the Wild Boar in 1993. We met his son Jean-Charles Cazes and assured him we would show him a good time in Nashville when he comes for the 33rd Annual l’Eté du Vin July 20-21.
I don’t know how we could ever top this first of many l’Eté du Vin Wine Tours, but JJ Seiters will do her best as she’s planning our next Wine Tour to Napa. We’ve also got our sights on a Burgundy tour. So beef up your vacation budgets and be sure to read your l’Eté du Vin catalog for all the details on l’Eté du Vin Wine Tours!
Holly Hearn Whaley
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