A Vinexpo evening with a difference

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It was Vinexpo here in Bordeaux last week. A large number of the world’s wine producers and distributors together with international wine journalists and this year a good few high flying sommeliers descended on Bordeaux from Sunday to Thursday.

I actually thoroughly enjoy this week, though days can be a little bit long with dinners going on every night.

We decided to hold our own dinner at Château Pichon-Longueville Baron this year, but with a difference. We have often in the past held an AXA Millésimes event, either at Château Pichon-Longueville Baron, Château Suduiraut, or at Château Petit-Village. This year we decided that it would be fun to break with tradition and invite some leading Douro red wine producers to come to Château Pichon-Longueville Baron and show their wines, followed by a dinner with a Portuguese theme.

The wine Douro producers at Château Pichon-Longueville - Vinexpo 2011

Although Château Pichon-Longueville Baron was the main host, and actually organized the event, each Douro producer contributed and invited their own guests, so we were all receiving the guests together at the chateau. It was an extremely convivial event, with one of the most exciting wine tastings before dinner that I have ever attended: all 24 Douro producers showed three wines, almost all from the 2008 vintage, in Château Pichon-Longueville Baron’s circular cellar. Quinta do Noval was of course present, as was Quinta da Romaneira.

The full list of Douro producers was as follows:
Churchill’s, Quinta de Cottas, Quinta do Crasto, Duorum, Durham-Agrellos, François Lurton, Quinta da Gaivosa, Lavradores de Feitoria, Muxagat, Niepoort, Quinta do Noval, Pocas, Poeira, Quinta do Portal, Prats & Symington / Symington Family Estates, Real Companhia Velha, Quinta da Romaneira, Roquette & Cazes, Quinta de la Rosa, Sogrape Vinhos, Quinta do Vale Dona Maria, Quinta do Vale Meão, Quinta do Vallado, Wine & Soul.

Douro wines tasting in the vathouse of Château Pichon-Longueville

The overall quality of the wines was outstanding, and I think a revelation to many of the people there.  Officially the tasting was for two hours from 7 to 9 o’clock, but at 9.00 everyone was still enthusiastically tasting. It is quite rare at this sort of event to have to drag people away from the wine tasting to get them to come to the dinner, but it was so: nobody wanted to leave.

Douro evening aperitif in the park of Château Pichon-Longueville

Douro evening aperitif in the park of Château Pichon-Longueville

We then had some great Douro white and Rose wines as aperitif with various Douro hors d’oeuvres: cod variations, wok-grilled almonds, Portuguese charcuterie. Then we sat down together to a dinner with a Portuguese theme prepared by Mr Capdevielle. All the producers were free to bring older wines from their Quintas, and we finished off with Quinta do Noval Colheita 1997 and a number of other Ports from the assembled producers. It was a unique evening, and for me a lovely opportunity to spend time with so many Portuguese friends in the wonderful setting of Château Pichon-Longueville Baron. Everyone seemed to have a good time. You can link to the following blog by Evelyne Resnick to get an objective appraisal from one of our guests: http://www.winebrandsblog.com/2011/06/when-bordeaux-welcomes-portugal-wines/

Douro evening Portuguese dinner

the names of the Douro wine producers - Château Pichon-Longueville