Nightlife at Vinexpo

Vinexpo is an ideal place for professional meetings, although in the evening, Bordeaux and the neighbouring vineyards switch to a much more relaxed and festive mode, with receptions organised from the Haut-Medoc to Saint-Emilion. Here are a few of the highlights that iDealwine team could enjoy.

Le Chapon Fin as appetiser

In Bordeaux, Marie-Stéphane Malbec (from the PR company Lettres de Château) organised a dinner around several domains in the historical setting of iconic restaurant Le Chapon Fin, owned by Sylvie Cazes, also director of the Cité du Vin. Besides, the aromatic rosé from Château de Ciffre, the Faugères produced by the Lorgeril family and Clos des Goisses 2007 from Philipponat, you could also enjoy – if you were quick enough – superb Vosne-Romanée Beaux Monts 2009 from Louis Jadot. The Bordeaux producers offered their nicest vintages, with Cantemerle 1982, Talbot 2000, Marquis de Terme 2010, Belle-Vue 2009, one of our favourites at iDealwine. Château Guiraud 1989 served in imperial was clearly a nice treat to finish.

Latour as starter

Vinexpo week traditionally starts with a reception in one of the Premier Cru Classé chateaux. This year, Château Latour received its guests to the sound of Bagad Lann Bihoue, an instrument from Brittany, reminding the Pinault family roots. After tasting the classified growths from Sauternes, dinner was served on garden tables in the freshness of the cellars. To start, a white Château Haut-Brion 2009, in magnum, displayed a powerful and fresh floral bouquet. Then, a series of Grands Crus Classés in 2009 and more mature vintages, exalting the sumptuous menu designed by Michel Guérard (potato with caviar, morels with asparagus, poultry pie with foie gras, mascarpone with crystalized apricots). Château Latour 1975 paired wonderfully with truffled brie, before the exotic dessert served with Château d’Yquem 2005 still young, but already boasting an incredibly complex bouquet of aromas combining crystalized fruits, citrus fruits and sweet spices. Candles in the vines, firework and stars in the sky ended this magical evening.  A unique testimony to the French art of living embodied in the splendour of Bordeaux’s Grand Cru Classés.

Domaine de Chevalier as main

Customers and professional relations are often welcomed in several Châteaux from the Bordeaux region. The most famous names from French and out of the hexagon vineyards are served. One of the most popular evenings – and the most relaxed – is traditionally held at Domaine de Chevalier. This year, Angelo Gaja came in person to support French wines. The evening was an opportunity to taste the treasures from Zind-Humbrecht, Pol Roger, Alphonse Mellot, Faiveley, Château Fuissé and Olivier Leflaive. And to taste, of course, the wines of Domaine de Chevalier, including an astonishing and very expressive 1977. This fabulous selection was particularly highlighted by a wonderful cheese platter from cheesemaker Bernard Antony.

Château Kirwan to continue

Another evening combining several vineyards took place at Château Kirwan which welcomed Louis Jadot for a refined countryside-style dinner. The opportunity to discover the new developments of the château, like the new cellar or tasting room. The evening hosts, siblings Schyller and Pierre-Henry Gagey took the opportunity to praise the complementarity and friendship between Bordeaux and Burgundy, the latter highlighting the pleasure to come to Vinexpo for 30 years. Daniel Gallacher, the Scottish chef of the Racines restaurant in Bordeaux, trained among others at Ducasse, designed a tasty meal, including veal with morels, herbs and goat polenta, Comté cheese, pistachio sponge cake, strawberry sorbet. These dishes were paired with Château Kirwan 2005, still with a lot of potential in magnum, the Chassagne-Montrachet 1er cru Morgeot Clos de la Chapelle Duc de Magenta 2011 from Jadot, a complex and elegant white wine. The Moulin-à-Vent Château des Jacques Clos de Rochegrès 2015 was beautiful with a very classic style. Last but not least, Château Kirwan 2015, a superb vintage that will be fantastic in a few years’ time.

Château Malartic-Lagravière for desert

The climax of Vinexpo is evidently the very lusted Fête de la Fleur, to which 1,500 guests from the entire world are invited. During this evening, the Commanderie du Bontemps of the Médoc, Graves, Sauternes and Barsac enthrones new members. Emmanuel Cruse supervised the organisation of this event that took place this year in Château Malartic-Lagravière, celebrating the 20th anniversary of Alfred-Alexandre Bonnie’s purchase. The menu was created by the three-Michelin-star chef Yannick Alleno. For starters, a refreshing lobster in caviar jelly paired with Château Malartic-Lagravière 2007 in white. Then, the 2000 in red was smooth with melted tannins. Other wines were served during the meal: Château Pichon-Lalande 2004, Château Margaux 1996, tribute to Paul Pontallier, who adored this vintage. To finish, Château d’Yquem 2013 was fresh and lively. Each of these Grands Crus was escorted with Beethoven, Vivaldi or Haendel music, interpreted by the Modigliani quartet.
Elegance of Bordeaux evenings, wonderful moments to talk with wine actors from the whole world. With the exception of the Hospices de Beaune weekend in November, there is no other event in France likely to gather the entire planet, like Vinexpo does. Don’t we have a unique occasion of making shine France in the world’s eyes?

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