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The Bordeaux Wine Experience Update

The Bordeaux Wine Experience

 The Bordeaux Wine Experience Update

Ronald and Margaret with Pascal and Sandrine Bardet of the Michelin 2-star Le Gindreau

A Personal Note From Ronald,

The spring-like weather we currently experience in Bordeaux made us forget the winter that is behind us. We never have really cold winters in our part of France but it can get chilly in January. As much as we hate the cold (like most of the French), it does come with its advantages. The cold spell is needed to ripen one of the treasures of the French cuisine: the truffles. We went truffle hunting with a Michelin 2-star chef (and a dog) and Margaret will share our experiences with you.

Not a racist

We went to the Cahors-region for the truffles and I discovered that the quality of the Cahors wines has evolved a lot. I  remember  visiting and tasting Cahors some 30 years ago and the wines were rustic at best back then. Now they are warm, strong and hearty wines that go well with the local food, especially in winter.

I still prefer my Bordeaux’s but it is nice to try something differently for a change.

And as you know, if you toured with us: I am not a racist; I’ll drink anything as long as it is good .

 The Bordeaux Wine Experience Update

Ronald discovering an excellent Malbec-driven Cahors wine

Last spots for 2019 and introducing our 2020 Bordeaux Wine Tour Schedule
It is in this season that we plan our Bordeaux Wine Tours for the next year. And today, we announce our 2020 Bordeaux Wine Tour Schedule. If you’re planning your 2020 Bordeaux wine vacation then check out our 2020 Bordeaux Wine Tour Schedule here. I

Last spots for 2019
Interested in touring Bordeaux this summer? Then take advantage of the last spots we have available for this summer here: 2019 Bordeaux Wine Tours.

Carefree touring Bordeaux

And remember: we know what you want: a carefree and truly effortless wine vacation in Bordeaux where you don’t have to open your wallet, and where enjoyment comes first. We take care of everything, really everything! Each of our Bordeaux Wine Tours includes tastings of the iconic five First-Growths Château Latour, Lafite Rothschild, Mouton-Rothschild, Haut-Brion and Margaux plus the legendary Yquem, along with château-accommodation and exclusive meals in venues not open to the public.

 The Bordeaux Wine Experience Update

 The Bordeaux Wine Experience Update

We had high hopes for our Chateau-dog "Easy" but

truffle-hunting was not her forte

I am asking for your feedback

We are writing the Magazine for you Brian and I hope you enjoy our scribblings. For us it is crucial to know what kind of content you like best. Please let me know because it would help me a lot: Ronald@bxwinex.com. Thanks for your help.

 The Bordeaux Wine Experience Update

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

 The Bordeaux Wine Experience Update

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

The Bordeaux Wine Experience

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A Michelin-rated Truffle hunt
By Margaret Rens

 The Bordeaux Wine Experience Update

Truffles, loads of truffles

Discovering the Black GoldOne of the most expensive and beloved ingredients of high end French cuisine is probably the truffle. Their nickname of Black Gold has everything to do with the price you will pay to obtain a good quality truffle. 600 to 800 euros per kilo are very common prices on the market.

I remember the first time I smelled a real fresh truffle. It was in the Dordogne and our neighbor had just come back from a walk in the woods with his trained dog that had found him 3 big truffles.  We were invited to join him and his family for a truffle omelet over lunch. The omelets of free range eggs from their own hens spiked with black truffle and a pinch of salt and crisp bread made one of the most memorable lunches I’ve ever had.

Truffles and terroir

Truffles are a type of fungus and grow underground on the roots of special truffle oak trees. Helas it is not very likely that if I were to plant such a truffle oak in the garden it will ever produce. Truffle oaks need, like vines, a special terroir to thrive and produce. Once the truffle oaks are planted in the right type of soil, the correct climate and exposure they will take at least 20 years before they begin producing. The best areas for truffles in France are Dordogne and Lot et Garonne, both areas are conveniently a simple 2 hour drive from our chateau.

 The Bordeaux Wine Experience Update

Margaret enjoying the Michelin 2-Star truffle lunch

 The Bordeaux Wine Experience Update

The black gold, ready to be tasted

Michelin 2-star invitation

When the invitation from 2 star Michelin rated chef Pascal Bardet in the Lot and Garonne arrived for a truffle brunch followed by a truffle hunt I quickly accepted for Ronald and myself.
Last weekend we put our boots in the back of the car, packed up "Easy", our Chateau-dog, and a small suitcase and off we went en route to Cahors. The reception you’ll get when arriving at restaurant Le Gindreau feels more like arriving at a friend’s house than at a restaurant. Sandrine Bardet welcomed us at the door, took our coats, handed us a glass of warm wine and made sure we are comfortable seated by the fireplace.
The complicity of this professional duo is reflected in everything they do. It reminds me of how Ronald and I compliment each other. They aim, like us, to create the most memorable experiences for their guests.

Open minded

Bardet is one of those rare chefs who combines great knowledge of the products he works with, excellent cooking techniques and a wide-open mind. "In the kitchen, nothing is set in stone. Technique and experience should serve us to do what we love, “ he says.
This philosophy reflects in his dishes. Pascal doesn’t stay hidden in the kitchen but is present in his restaurant. Cooking his cabbage-wrapped quails over the open fire, adjusting a sauce and adding more truffle on every plate.

Alain Ducasse

His training was with Alain Ducasse who trusted him with the position of head chef of the Louis XV restaurant in Monaco (3 Michelin stars). After several years in Monaco the Bardets felt the pull from their native area Lot and Garonne and took over the Gindreau restaurant in the tiny village of Saint-Médard. The building used to be the kindergarten of the village many years ago, the playground is now turned into a beautiful terrace for sunny days. We were happy to stay close by the fireplace to enjoy our toasts with homemade truffle butter as the first of seven courses. My favorite course was the Stuffed Chicken marinated in Armagnac, vegetables and black truffles, with a black velvet truffle sauce. Ronald’s favorite dish was the chocolate and truffle cake with a crème diplomate with Marasquin and of course truffle.

 The Bordeaux Wine Experience Update

Pascal Bardet surprised  Ronald with a truffle-based desert: an extraordinary chocolate and truffle cake

 The Bordeaux Wine Experience Update

Ronald’s favorite was the 2005 Cahors showing some evolved notes but with many years of aging ahead

We drank Cahors wines with every course and the sommelier had selected very interesting pairings for us. Maybe one of the reasons I liked the Chicken so much was because it was served with a beautiful Chardonay from the nearby village Rocomadour. This was interesting as well because the white wine was served after we had drunk several red wines. The power and complexity of this Chardonnay was a perfect match for the Armagnac marinated chicken.

Lalbenque, the capital of the Truffle

Our truffle brunch finished, we all got on our way to nearby village Lalbenque, the world capital of the Truffle. We visited a truffle orchard of 30 hectares. It is difficult to imagine the wealth of truffles underneath our feet at the roots of the truffle oaks. Our guide Jonathan took his dog Gribouille into the orchard and it wasn’t before long that the dog began to dig fervently in the ground. Jonathan quickly approached and exchanged the truffle for a small piece of sausage to reward Gribouille for a job well done. We were surprised that some of the truffles Gribouille found where tiny like marbles. It seemed such a waste to get them out of the ground premature. Jonathan explained to us that actually small truffles are not premature if the dog finds them.

Dogs can smell the truffle

Truffles know 4 distinct stages of development. The first is in spring when the development begins. Warm summer days are needed for the truffle to settle on the root and slowly start growing. The cooling in fall helps the truffle to grow further and reach its final stage. It is at this point winter sets in and growth stops, and the truffle starts to ripen and mature, while developing its distinct odor. This means that if the truffle can be smelled by the dog it will not grow anymore and is ready to be harvested.
The very small truffles are used to macerate in good quality oils to make truffle oils and are also used in foie gras and other tinned delicacies. The larger first quality truffles go straight to the market  in Lalbenque. This is also where Pascal Bardet scores his truffles. Like many of his fellow Michelin chefs.

 The Bordeaux Wine Experience Update

A man and his dog working together to find the truffles

 The Bordeaux Wine Experience Update

Pascal Bardet selecting the best truffles at the

Lalbenque truffle market

Black gold and black money
The truffle market is of an uncanny simplicity. Producers bring their truffles in front of a jury that judges and weighs the truffles. They check for example if a producer has not spiked his merchandise with black mud and sand. Just before 1.30 PM all producers line up on one side of the main street in Lalbenque their harvest wrapped in a red and white handkerchief in a small basket in front of them on low wooden tables.  On the other side of the street the customers line up behind a cord eying up the merchandise and finding the best spot to be the first to get to their chosen producer. At 2 PM sharp the head of the Truffle syndicate gives the sign to 4 red robed trumpeters to blow their trumpets while he drops the cord giving the potential buyers the opportunity to approach their chosen vendor. Then the hassling and negotiating on price and quantity begins.

Like weighing gold

The truffles are carefully weighed on a small precise scale that jewelers use to weigh gold. Some sellers will only sell their whole basket while others may be willing to sell you a few truffles.

What all sellers agree on though is cash payments only. And not many receipts change hands during the market either. Interestingly enough the market takes place in front of the tax collector’s office. My bet is the Inspector is somewhere in line with the other merchants trying to sell a part of his harvest…

 The Bordeaux Wine Experience Update

Generous helpings of truffle at Le Gindreau

 The Bordeaux Wine Experience Update

The black gold is not kept in a safe but in a special box

Our 2020 Bordeaux Wine Tour Program

 The Bordeaux Wine Experience Update

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

2020 Bordeaux Wine Tour Schedule

The Grand Tour of Bordeaux

May 25 – May 30, (2020)

Open for booking

Ask Itinerary here

The Grand Cru Tour I

June 8 – June 13, 2020

Under option

Ask Itinerary here

The Grand Cru Tour II

June 22 – June 27, 2020

Open for booking

Ask Itinerary here

_____________________________________________________________________

The Bordeaux September Grand Cru Harvest Tour I

September 7 – Sept 12, 2020

Open for booking

Ask Itinerary here

The Bordeaux September Grand Cru Harvest Tour II

September 21 – Sept 26, 2020

Open for booking

Ask Itinerary here

The Bordeaux October Grand Cru Harvest Tour

October 5 – October 10, 2020

Open for booking

Ask Itinerary here

_____________________________________________________________________

10 good reasons to join a Bordeaux Wine Experience

1.
Carefree and truly effortless travel in Bordeaux: We take care of everything, really everything!

2.
See and taste all 5 First Growths and Château d’Yquem!

3.
Grand Cru wines with all meals (except breakfast…)!

4.
Private gourmet meals at Bordeaux Chateaux and in a famous Michelin-starred restaurant!

5.
Superb food & wines and great fun in a small group!

6.
Expert (and humorous) guidance by Bordeaux Specialist Ronald Rens!

7.
An entertaining concise cooking class!

8.
Air-conditioned accommodation at our privately owned 18th century chateau!

9.  Air-conditioned, luxury motor coach transportation throughout the tour!

10.Grand Cru Farewell Dinner with all Grand Cru wines (including Margaux,

    Lafite Rothschild + Superior First Growth Yquem of over 20 years old!).

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!

 The Bordeaux Wine Experience Update

Experience Bordeaux in full harvest swing

 The Bordeaux Wine Experience 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.

 The Bordeaux Wine Experience Update

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.

 The Bordeaux Wine Experience Update

Feel completely Special and Pampered on this Exclusive Experience

 The Bordeaux Wine Experience Update

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

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

 The Bordeaux Wine Experience Update

Exclusive and fun Chateau lunches, not open to

the general public

 The Bordeaux Wine Experience Update

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

2019 Bordeaux Wine Tour Schedule

The Grand Tour of Bordeaux

May 20 – May 25 (2019)

Last room available: just one double room

Ask Itinerary here

The Grand Cru Tour I

June 3 – June 8 (2019)

Last 2 rooms available: just one double room and one single roomAsk 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)

Last room available: just one double room

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

Last rooms available

Ask Itinerary here

_____________________________________________________________________

10 good reasons to join a Bordeaux Wine Experience

1.
Carefree and truly effortless travel in Bordeaux: We take care of everything, really everything!

2.
See and taste all 5 First Growths and Château d’Yquem!

3.
Grand Cru wines with all meals (except breakfast…)!

4.
Private gourmet meals at Bordeaux Chateaux and in a famous Michelin-starred restaurant!

5.
Superb food & wines and great fun in a small group!

6.
Expert (and humorous) guidance by Bordeaux Specialist Ronald Rens!

7.
An entertaining concise cooking class!

8.
Air-conditioned accommodation at our privately owned 18th century chateau!

9.  Air-conditioned, luxury motor coach transportation throughout the tour!

10.Grand Cru Farewell Dinner with all Grand Cru wines (including Margaux,

    Lafite Rothschild + Superior First Growth Yquem of over 20 years old!).

Chateau Coulon Laurensac, the best place in the world to taste all five First Growths plus Yquem…

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

Website : www.BXWINEX.com

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 2019 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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