Categorized | France, General

Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

TheBordeauxWineMagazinemettekst Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

Bordeaux-lovers all over the world.

 Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

The "real" Gilet Jaunes are a peaceful movement

A Personal Note From Ronald,

France has not been at its quiets lately, to say the least. Living in France is great but it is not always sunshine, lollypop and roses. In these weeks leading up to the Holiday season we see protesters everywhere on television. This Bordeaux Wine Magazine is not about politics but not saying anything about the recent events would be inconceivable, at least for me.

I will try to shine some light on this matter and I am sure that you are with me in hoping that this unpleasantness will soon be behind us so we all can continue to enjoy the French lifestyle to the fullest.

 Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

Ronald and Margaret with Camille de Rothschild at Mouton

Great recipe for lunch

Last month I told you about the picker’s lunch at Mouton Rothschild and I gave you a preview of the Bordeaux 2018 vintage. This time Margret will give you her view on these events and she will explain how to cook like a pro if you want to recreate a picker’s lunch at home.

Join us on the Bordeaux Harvest Tour

Speaking of the harvest, our 2019 Bordeaux Wine Tours are filling up. Fortunately we still have spots for our most sought after tour: The Bordeaux Grand Cru Harvest Tour. Here you will see the wineries in full harvest swing, have great meals in venues not open to the public and taste all five First Growths plus Yquem. And in 2019 we will compare the Lafite Rothschild 1985 to the Margaux 1985, amongst others. Don’t miss out on this experience of a lifetime and check out the Bordeaux Harvest Tour here.

 Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

Great fun in front of Chateau Margaux

I look forward to hear from you Brian

I would love to hear what you like and why. And yes, even what you don’t like and why.  Suggestions and questions are welcome too. You can reach me here: ( or simply reply to this magazine. I look forward to hear from you.

 Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

And please remember: Don’t drink anything I wouldn’t drink!

 Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

Cheers from Bordeaux,
Ronald Rens, M. Sc., Wine Master
Wine writer and President

The Bordeaux Wine Experience


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The Gilet Jaunes, or Yellow Vests movement

By Ronald Rens

 Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

Even French dogs protest against eating cheap supermarket dog food…

A peaceful movement hijacked

I am sure that you have heard of the Gilet Jaunes, or Yellow Vests, by now. The protest is named after the yellow high-visibility jackets French motorists must carry in their vehicles. The original Gilet Jaunes was a peaceful protest against the raising of eco-tax on gas and diesel. Unfortunately, three other groups have hijacked the movement. Both extreme rightwing hooligans and the extreme leftwing troublemakers have transformed the protest into riots. Lately another group joined in and brought the riots to a new level of low. Plunderers started to pillage luxury shops like the Chanel store in Paris; not really a revolutionary act against the government, to say the least…

A weekend revolution
You should remember that the French republic is founded on a revolution and there apparently there still is some revolutionary DNA present in the French. Having said that, the protests and riots take place on well-announced dates (Saturdays) and places. We were in Bordeaux the Friday before the riots and all was well. Saturday night we participated at a Christmas event of the International Club of Bordeaux in downtown Bordeaux and again all was well. Although there may remain this revolutionary fiber in the French people, we mustn’t forget that France is a country of civilization and great thinkers. Therefore I am convinced that this unrest will pass.

Is it safe to travel to France?
The footage shown on TV is of the most extreme events. Out of precaution the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and some other monuments were closed last weekend. But as this is a weekend revolution, they are only closed on the weekend. Other areas of Paris and the larger part of Bordeaux are safe and undisturbed by riots. We live a mere ten minutes from Bordeaux and we don’t notice anything whatsoever of the protests. As I am writing this, Margaret is cycling into Bordeaux to attend her monthly lunch of the American Women Club of Bordeaux and I have no concern for here safety. Likewise, the rural wine areas we visit on our tours are far away from any possible trouble.

Reason will prevail
Earlier this week we watched the speech of the French President on television and in my opinion he managed the situation brilliantly. Exactly the right balance between humble and action. When I listen around me I hear positive feelings about his measures. Of course there are some radicals who want more but hey, what is new?

I strongly feel that in the approach of the Holiday-season reason will prevail and that the French will return to what they do best: enjoy great food and drink great wines. I am sure that this is what we will do. I invite you to join us in Bordeaux to do the same with us on one of our Bordeaux wine tours in 2019. We still have some spots available.

Our new video with Ronald’s first comments on the

Mouton Rothschild 2018

 Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

Click on the picture to see the winery at Mouton in full action and Ronald will give his first comments on the Mouton Rothschild 2018

Harvest time in Bordeaux
By Margaret Rens

 Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

The venue to nourish the pickers that work for three chateaux: Clerc Milon and d’Armaillac and Mouton Rothschild

Harvest time is a great time to be in Bordeaux

One of my favorite times of year in Bordeaux is the harvest season. I love this time of year because the activity in the vineyards is everywhere. The grapes reach maturity and the otherwise tranquil vineyards are filled with pickers going through the rows of vines to bring the grapes in.

First selection

In Bordeaux harvesting is done both by machine and by hand. The choice is up to the winemaker and is usually determined by the available budget. Machine harvesting is cheaper than manual harvesting. Therefore, the more expensive a winery sells their wine the more likely that they will harvest by hand. The major advantage of a harvest by hand is that the grapes will be handled more delicately. Also, the pickers will already make a first selection in the vineyard. On a plot that is harvested by machines all grapes will be picked including unripe and damaged bunches.

 Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

Machine harvesting is allowed in Bordeaux

 Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

Carrying the containers on your back is not an easy task

Hard work

Harvesting is hard work. The pickers start early in the morning as the first rays of sunlight warm the vines up. In September and October, the days can become very hot in Bordeaux and at these early hours in the morning the temperature is still supportable. Pickers go through the rows of vines clipping he bunches of grapes from the vines as they go. The grapes are collected in small containers that are picked up regularly by other workers to be taken to the collection truck. This truck transports the grapes to the winery where the grapes are sorted and de-stemmed and then transferred to the vats after crushing.  The whole process is quite laborious and requires considerably greater numbers of workers than a vineyard would normally employ.

All vineyards have their own view on harvest personnel. There are wineries that work with volunteers that are happy to enjoy a few weeks of manual outdoor labor in return for a few bottles of wine. Larger properties have a loyal group of (paid) workers on call that come to Bordeaux every year. This is the case for Chateau Mouton Rothschild. Some of their harvesters have been clipping grapes for more than 30 years. I was invited to assist for a day at the Harvest at Mouton Rothschild last October. During almost a month the chateau employs 600 extra people to bring in the grapes of first growth Mouton Rothschild and their other properties Clerc Millon and d’Armailhac.

Harvest days at the Rothschild properties always follow a similar pattern. In the early morning the picking starts. Vines are usually about man high, but the grapes are growing on the lower part. This means harvesters will do a lot of bending and rising when harvesting. Around 10 AM there will be a well-deserved break to rest their tired backs and enjoy what the French call a Casse Croute, a midmorning snack. Casse Croute means breaking the crusts and refers to breaking the crust of a bread to eat. In earlier days a casse croute would include a first glass of wine for the day. Nowadays coffee or tea will be the drink on offer. When all energy is restored the workers start clipping again until midday.

 Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

Less romantic but way more efficient are these plastic crates

Noon is announced by the bells of the church or the bells of the property. All chateaux have a bell hanging on the side of the property that can be rung to call in the workers for lunch.

At Chateau Mouton Rothschild the Harvest lunch is served in a great hall next to the courtyard of Chateau d’Armailhac. It is an important logistic operation because the 600 harvesters all arrive at noon and will depart for work again at 1.30 PM on the dot.

Every day one table, the table d’honneur, is reserved for the staff of the chateau, a member of the Rothschild family and their guests. On the pickers tables are numerous bottles of Chateau Mouton Cadet at regular intervals. At the table d’ honneur are unmarked bottles but with a better wine. The main course is hearty, simple and good. When you are working manually all day you need this kind of food to sustain your energy. Grilled shoulder of lamb with white beans fits the bill and was what I was served during my harvest experience with the Rothschilds. Large barbeques were set up and lit in the courtyard to grill the lamb. We drank a Chateau Mouton Rothschild but their more affordable Mouton Cadet is also a very good choice to serve with this dish.

 Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

Lovely lamb prepared on the open fire in the courtyard

 Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

Hearty food that will get the pickers through the day

Grilled shoulder of lamb with white beans

Shoulder of lamb boned and flattened

Dried white beans 300 grs

Tin of tomatoes 500 gr.

Onions 3

Garlic 5 cloves

Several sprigs of herbs like rosemary, sage, thyme or laurel

6 table spoons of olive oil

Vegetable stock 1 liter (fresh or from cubes)



Start the recipe by soaking the beans in cold water. You will find the correct number of hours to do this on the package. In general, 6 hours should be enough. Drain and pour the beans into a casserole. Peel and chop the onions and garlic. Add to the beans and also stir in the tomatoes. Tie half of the herbs together with a piece of cotton string to make a bouquet garni and add to the beans. Pour 3 table spoons of olive oil over the beans and enough vegetable stock to cover the beans. Cook the beans for 1 hour on a low heat, stirring carefully from time to time. If necessary, add more stock. Check the seasoning and add pepper and salt to taste. Just before serving fish out the bouquet garni and sprinkle more chopped thyme and parsley over the beans.

Ask the butcher to bone the shoulder, and leave it flat. Chop the remaining herbs finely and mix with 3 table spoons of olive oil and a large pinch of salt. Rub the meat all over with the herb oil and let the lamb marinate for an hour. Prepare your barbecue so the coals are very

hot and white.
Grill the lamb for about 20 minutes, starting at the skin side, and turning occasionally. You can also prepare the lamb under the broiler in the kitchen or in a hot (200 C oven) for 20 minutes.
Let the meat sit for 10 minutes under aluminum foil before slicing. Serve the lamb with the beans casserole.

Bonne dégustation

Because you deserve a Bordeaux Wine Experience

and not “just” a wine tour!

 Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

Great fun on the master class on the first night on our Bordeaux Wine Experiences

An amazing Bordeaux Wine Experience

Our motto
Because you want a Bordeaux Wine Experience and not “just” a wine tour!

Simply the best
On each of Bordeaux Wine Tours you will see and taste all five of the iconic  First Growths—Château Latour, Lafite Rothschild, Mouton-Rothschild, Haut-Brion and Margaux plus the legendary Yquem.

Attention to detail
We happily invest hundreds (yes hundreds!) of collective hours and an enormous amount of attention to many details in our tours. That, combined with love for what we do, passion and lots of care, continues to make our tours the best of its kind.

A true experience
All this TLC is the hallmark for a true experience and that’s exactly why people come back to us again and again. Even after 15 years of experience, every possible detail of our tours still gets our personal attention. We personally handpick each and every element of each itinerary. Everything is first tested and tried by us personally.

Wine Lovers Tour Bordeaux
Remember we only conduct 6 tours per year and with only six double and one singe room per tour, participation is extremely limited.

Discover of our 2019 Bordeaux Wine Tours.

Be a part of  2019 Bordeaux Wine Tour schedule here

 Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

Exclusive and fun Chateau lunches, not open to

the general public

 Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

Great fun in a relaxed atmosphere while tasting First Growths at the Farewell dinner at Chateau Coulon Laurensac

A personal approach and great fun with a lot of laughter

 Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

Chateau Coulon Laurensac, build in 1724 and almost a

century before Chateau Margaux

Amazing experience
Our guests rave about the unique atmosphere on our tours: our personal approach and the great fun with a lot of laughter. Superb wines and memorable meals at venues not open to the public are an important element as well. Did I mention the shopping spree at a farmers-market that had been going on for seven centuries?

Or the cooking class with Margaret while Ronald doesn’t stop opening and pouring wines?

And what about staying at a private chateau, build in 1724 and almost a century older than Chateau Margaux?

Pampered all the way

There are so many elements that make our Bordeaux Wine Tours a unique experience.
And now we have added tasting Chateau Margaux 1985 to our tours. So join us in Bordeaux and you will experience a wine vacation that you can’t find anywhere else in the world.

You will be pampered all the way: From your first glass of bubbly when you arrive at our chateau to the traditional final wine on the Farewell-dinner the Chateau d’Yquem of over 20 years old.

Simply click here and ask us for an Itinerary and join us in Bordeaux for a wine vacation of a lifetime.

 Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

A really fun cooking class

 Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

 Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

 Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

 Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

As much a culinary tour as a Bordeaux Wine Experience

Our 2019 Bordeaux Wine Tour Program

 Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

Because you deserve a Bordeaux Wine Experience and not "just a tour"

The Bordeaux Grand Cru Harvest Tour
The Harvest Tour is Grand in every way, both in food and wine. Enjoy chateau meals and Michelin rated dining. The most exciting time in Bordeaux is harvest time. You can sense the anticipation in the air.

And the food is superb as well: Exclusive meals at extraordinary venues not normally open to the public. On top of that you’ll see and taste all five First Growths and Superior First Growth Chateau d’Yquem and many of them will be older vintages!
Ask us for an Itinerary here.

 Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

Experience Bordeaux in full harvest swing

 Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

Enjoy meals in venues not open to the public while tasting

the best wines of Bordeaux

The Bordeaux Grand Cru tour
This is probably our most exclusive tour. This ultimate wine tour for Bordeaux lovers is as good as it gets. Can you believe that you’ll see and taste all five First Growths and Superior First Growth Chateau d’Yquem including some older vintages! Of course we include the best of Saint Emilion and Pomerol as well. Add to this outstanding meals at exceptional venues not normally open to the public and you’ll see why this tour usually sells out early.
Ask us for an Itinerary here.

The Grand Tour of Bordeaux
The Grand Tour may be the most special tour we offer, with meals as exceptional as your visits. Imagine tasting all five First Growths and Yquem. And there is more: Superb chateau meals and Michelin rated dining… Add to this the best of Pomerol and Saint Emilion and you’ll see that this dazzling Grand Tour of Bordeaux is your chance to see and taste the very best that Bordeaux has to offer.

Ask us for an Itinerary here.

 Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

Feel completely Special and Pampered on this Exclusive Experience

 Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

The Farewell dinner is an awesome experience that creates memories of a lifetime

2019 Bordeaux Wine Tour Schedule

The Grand Tour of Bordeaux

May 20 – May 25 (2019)

Last rooms available

Ask Itinerary here

The Grand Cru Tour I

June 3 – June 8 (2019)

Last rooms available

Ask Itinerary here

The Grand Cru Tour II

June 17 – June 22 (2019)

(Sold out!)

The Bordeaux September Grand Cru Harvest Tour I

September 9 – Sept 14 (2019)

Open for booking

Ask Itinerary here

The Bordeaux September Grand Cru Harvest Tour II

September 23 – Sept 28 (2019)

Last rooms available

Ask Itinerary here

The Bordeaux October Grand Cru Harvest Tour

October 7 – October 12 (2019

Open for booking

Ask Itinerary here


Why take a Bordeaux Wine and Culinary Tour with us?

Exclusive touring: limited to six double/twin rooms and one single

Carefree and truly effortless travel in Bordeaux: We take care of everything, really everything

See and taste all 5 First Growths and Château Yquem!

Expert (and humorous) guidance by Bordeaux specialist Ronald Rens

Air-conditioned accommodation at our privately owned 18th century chateau

Taste more Classified Growths than on any other Bordeaux wine tour!

Grand Cru Farewell Dinner with all Grand Cru wines (including Chateau d’Yquem!)

Gourmet meals at Bordeaux Chateaux and a Michelin starred restaurant!

Grand Cru wines with all meals (except breakfast…)

Air-conditioned, luxury motor coach transportation throughout the tour

Great food and wine and a lot of fun in a small group

 Bordeaux Wine Magazine Update

Chateau Coulon Laurensac, without a shadow of a doubt the best place in the world to taste all five First Growths and Yquem…

The Bordeaux Wine Experience
at Chateau Coulon Laurensac
1, chemin de Meydieu
33360 Latresne (BORDEAUX), France

Website :

Call us:

1-877-203-2665 (toll free from USA & Canada) or
+33 556 20 64 12 (from anywhere else in the world)

(These lines go directly to our Chateau in Bordeaux so please remember that we’re on Paris time!)

Copyright 2018 by The Bordeaux Wine Experience. All rights reserved. The content, design and graphical elements of this Magazine are copyrighted. The Bordeaux Wine Experience is a Dutch company specializing in wine and culinary tours in the Bordeaux region for an English speaking international clientele.

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