I get it now. I really do. When I first started out on my wine studies journey years ago, I learned of certain sommeliers, who, over time in their travels would decide to devote the rest of their sommelier career to one region; one specifically, that is, of Bordeaux. On my whirlwind tour recently of France and many surrounding areas, we passed through the city of Bordeaux. Sure, we could have gone off and visited an array of Chateaus, but I surely would have fallen short being that we only had a limited two-day visit. So much to see, so much to see.
Settling in at a cute local B&B downtown, Le Miroir aux Fees, which translates as ‘The Mirror of Fairies’, we set our bags down, freshened up a bit and walked to the local square for a bit of a beer and a shot of espresso. Shhh, don’t tell anyone I had a beer in Bordeaux. Actually, I do not care, go ahead. Tell everyone you know! For anyone who wants and needs to be up and alert for some serious wine-tasting anywhere, a beer to relax the nerves after some serious driving and a nice caffeine jolt of a toasty and yummy espresso does just the trick!
Following the beer and espresso, we headed off to a locally recommended wine bar, Aux 4 coins du vin, where you can always find 32 wines on tap; if that is not enough, there is a selection of another 200 bottles. Of course, they have plenty of wines from Bordeaux, but you can also find the occasional wines from Alsatian, Rhone, Burgundy, Loire Valley (the proud region of our bartender) along with a handful from California, Argentina and Germany. The bartender-slash-sommelier (at least I think he was, or he should be) was very friendly, knowledgeable and extremely excited to share with us all he knew about wine. If you ever get a chance to go to this place, make a reservation; the place packs in shortly after 6pm and no one moves for the rest of the night and for good reason.
Here is how it works: when you walk in you will receive a card which is your ticket to tasting any wines you would like here. But don’t get too excited – it’s empty and it’s up to you to add as much money to it as you think you will drink. Once you have added a sufficient amount of Euros to your card, it’s time to get started! Place the card into the card slot of the wine-on-tap machine of interest and select a button denoting your selection: a sip, a half-glass or a full glass. This place allows you to taste some amazing Grand Cru wines at very reasonable prices. We had plans on tasting many so we stuck with the sip or half-glass option. Delicious charcuterie and fromage (cheese) platters are available with delicious selections to pair with your chosen wine(s) and small seasonal dishes.
Now, I know what you are all wondering: how did the wines taste? Do check back in, as my next article will run you through the Grand Cru wines I tasted among a couple other French wines I could not resist. I will do as our bartender did and share with you a little about each Chateau and what makes them so treasured among Bordeaux wine. Do see the following write up!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christie Kiley, International Sommelier and Chef, has over a decade of experience in both restaurants and wineries. She began working kitchens under talented chefs. Nights off from the kitchen, she would work at the same restaurant as a server. Her passion for food grew into the wine industry. She has worked wine harvests in Napa, learning the nature of the product from soil to bottling. Working the back- and front-of-the-house in restaurants and wineries in sales, and as a food and wine educator, has given Christie an in-depth knowledge in both food and wine throughout many aspects. She currently lives in Buenos Aires, where she has just received her International Sommelier Certificate from the Escuela de Argentina Sommeliers (EAS) after two years of study. She works as a wine and food writer and Sommelier at a boutique hotel in Palermo where you can catch her most nights of the week entertaining guests with her unique wine tastings.