Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wine Tasting in Graves: Carbonnieux

Our last Chateau in Bordeaux was also in the Graves region and called Chateau Carbonnieux. This was in many ways the prettiest of the Chateaux we visited with grape vines winding their way up the walls of the inner courtyard of the property and rolling hills of vineyards. They also had a collection of old (early 1900s) cars on display which was quite interesting.

The bad news? ... my camera batteries died and I didn't have any spares with me (I can FEEL my Dad cringing as he reads this and then shaking his head with disappointment). I know, Dad, I should ALWAYS CARRY SPARE BATTERIES!

Chateau Cabonnieux is one of the oldest in the region and makes both white and red blends, which was interesting. We had a nice tour through the sorting room, the barrel rooms (separate ones for red and white due to different temperature needs) and we got a demonstration of the weekly stirring of the white blend. For white wines only, they stir the sediment up from the bottom each week to give the wine more structure and flavor. They had a barrel with a glass bottom just for us tourists so we could see her stir up the sludge ... yeah, I didn't think it made a very appetizing picture either, but it was interesting to know.

We also learned that many French wine makers add limestone powder to their white wines and egg whites to their reds to improve the flavor and structure of the wines. For the reds, they whip up a bunch of egg whites and then add them to the top of the vat of red wine and let it settle to the bottom over a period of time (can't remember if it's days or weeks). They then give all the yolks to a local baker and they make a French sweet called Canelle (Can - ah - lay). Imagine a very eggy muffin glazed with sugar and you'll be close. Something about the egg whites gives the wine blender just the taste they are looking for, I guess.

And that was the end of our wine tours and our time in Bordeaux. That afternoon we hopped back on the TGV (high speed train) for our 3 hour trip back to Paris, which you'll hear more about in the next post. For now, I'm off to drink some of that fabulous red wine with dinner. :)

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