The trip to Bordeaux was quite an education in wine. In fact, both trips I have taken to the region this year (only two months apart) were a crash course of sorts in how serious everyone operating in this area takes wine making.
For the chateaus that I visited, it was stressed that the quality of what is produced far exceeds the importance of the quantity. For one chateau, Chateau d'Yquem, that even means forgoing producing and releasing some vintages.
The chateau goes back over 400 years. And it is some of the most expensive wine you will see offered on menus, especially in the States. Nearly everyone else at the wine retreat I was with had tried d'Yquem before this trip. One woman, had even told us a story of a time when she and a beau were at lunch and had a disagreement. And to get back at him, she ordered single glass after glass of the delicious white wine.
Some people are just better at having an argument in style than me. I still have much to learn on that front.
Anyway... The tour of the chateau and the grounds was brief. And we were all grateful for that, because we wanted to taste the wine.
The current vintage in production, 2013, is the last available vintage. We tasted the 2011.
There was no 2012 d'Yquem produced, because the chateau did not feel it was going to be a worthy product. The weather had been too rainy at inopportune times, and rather than put something out that they felt didn't represent them well... They put the grapes into production elsewhere.
It's a very ballsy thing to do, from a business perspective. But that's what makes the Bordeaux region's wines the best in all of France.
After the tasting, we wandered out into the gardens of the estate. And that's where I was truly blown away by this particular chateau. Because we were greeted by lavender bushes where butterflies, bumblebees, and hummingbirds were all playing together.
See in the picture above, in the bottom left area and the middle left area... I was able to capture two hummingbirds!
I had never seen them in person before in my life!!! I was so excited! And overwhelmed by the beauty of this nature scene in front of me!
Another shot, with the hummingbird on the bottom in the middle!
And another in action, flapping it's wings! Look at the bottom, towards the right.
I could not stop taking photos of them.
But of course, if you stepped back, you could see the beauty of the whole scene better...
While I enjoyed the wine of d'Yquem... I found the chateau's true beauty in it's garden. Though, clearly the whimsical beasts love the land of d'Yquem.... Which stands to reason that humans would love the wine it produces.