On 23 May 2012 a group of 14 OUS wine-lovers enjoyed a visit to three of St. Emilion’s best and most interesting châteaux and chais as well as sampling the local nectar with a splendid lunch at the Hôtel Palais Cardinal. The day was perfectly organised (for no reward other than our thanks) by our own John Allsop.
We started at Chateau Soutard, recently acquired and restored to glory by an assurance company which has invested millions to make it both a beautiful château and a modern state-of-the-art visitor experience. We were able to taste and compare three vintages, of which the 2007, with its lower acidity and earlier maturity, was perhaps the most approachable.
We progressed to probably the finest of St. Emilion – Château Figeac – sitting as it does on the edge of Pomerol and therefore able to sustain a more cabernet-sauvignon-rich blend, distinctively different in taste and ageing properties from its peers. Here we enjoyed a 2003 (on sale for only 95 € a bottle) which I shall add to my cave in serious quantities when I win the Euromillions.
After lunch we finished at Château Beauséjour-Bécot, (not to be confused with Château Beauséjour next door) and marvelled at their cave formed from kilometres of tunnels left by quarrying limestone – the idea of open cast quarries having been rejected because the land above was so valuable for le vin.
Thanks again to John for his immaculate organisation.