Notes From France

Last week Chef Justin and Winemaster Randy Ullom set out from California for France, where they are cruising the Rhone River. They are making stop at St. Emilion in Bordeaux, Lyon and Arles, to name a few stops.

They’ve sent back some notes from the trip and some pictures to go with them. It sounds (and looks) like they’re having a great time, but check it out for yourself.

 From Justin:

We arrived in Bordeaux on Monday afternoon. It’s been overcast and rainy so far, but we had a chance to walk around the city center. I am really enjoying the bread here; it’s amazing. I can’t believe all the pastry shops and great pastries they have. I’m especially looking forward to tasting the regional dishes during our visit.

From Randy:

Yesterday, we had the opportunity to visit Chateau Lassegue. The chateau is jointly owned by the Jackson and Seillan families. Monique Seillan took us on a tour of the winery and a bit around the estate vineyard. The vines are just beginning to bud out here.

The Bordeaux en primeur was held last week. This is where they taste the new 2011 vintages of the wines. We had a chance to taste a few different wines from the 2011 vintages straight out of the barrels and they were fantastic.

Monique showed us the new barrel room and all the renovations that are being made to the winery. There is quite a bit of work going on!

After the winery, we stopped in at Tonnellerie Quintessence where we purchase all of our barrels. We had a tour of the cooperage and were shown how barrels are made.  It is fascinating to see how much work and care that goes into making a barrel. Every bit of wood is used and there is no waste – even the dust from the processing is gathered and compressed into pressed oak pellets that are used to toast the barrels.

Today, we have a day to rest up and walk around the town of Bordeaux.