Surprises In a Cellar – 

Let’s visit a ‘cave’ in an ancient stone basement in Bordeaux – comfortably lit, with a classic cellar vibe – chilly, dank, and smelling of must and dust. Perfect. 🙂

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A trove of 2009 – ready for unpacking

This cellar is on Bordeaux’s right bank, beside the Gironde estuary, where vintages are not expensive, and taste is amazing. Why? Generations of winemakers work here – hundreds. Here’s a sampling of what is stored, the original cost, and current values.

Chateau AOC Vintage Bottle size Original purchase price/bottle (Euros and US dollars) Current value/bottle (Euros and US dollars)
Chateau Cantinot Blaye, Côtes de Bordeaux 2009 750 ml € 10($12.25) € 15($18.35)
Chateau Cantinot Blaye, Côtes de Bordeaux 2009 Magnum € 20($24.50) € 30($36.70)
Chateau Clos Saint Emilion Philippe Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2009 750 ml € 16($19.60) € 22($26.90)
Chateau Clos Saint Emilion Philippe Cuvée 109 Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2009 750 ml € 22($26.90) € 32($39.15)

The point? These are well priced wines. The quality is excellent (Bordeaux winemakers take immense pride in the quality and reputation of their output). These are bargains compared to many US, Australian, and other European wines of comparable quality. That’s the magic of purchasing from smaller producers on the right bank, where the term ‘Bordeaux’ does not necessarily equate with ‘expensive.’

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Wine is best with friends

Second, the increase in value is not shabby – 45 percent over five years. Not a bad investment. And if the economy tanks and the world goes to heck, then it’s time to pull a few glasses out with a corkscrew.

Christmas Artists – 

Here are a few artists/musicians met during these past Christmas season days.

Clarisa & Les Kellen
Clarissa at work in Blaye

Clarissa Schaefer runs La Galerie in Blaye after living in South Africa and Germany. In her own work she tries to put ordinary objects into new contexts so they can be appreciated when viewed from different angles.

During 2015, La Galerie will feature another creator residing in Blaye. Thierry Bisch is not only a renowned French artist, but a winemaker – producing an unusual (for Bordeaux) 100% cabernet sauvignon wine – named Etalon Rouge. At the price, it’s a steal. Click on this link to see paintings Thierry produces.

In the video below Thierry explains – humorously – why he produces images of animals rather than people, and why being true to yourself is of the greatest value.

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Jacob on right, with friend and fellow New Zealand traveler Finn.

This video was produced by an up and coming young film maker from the wine country of Marlborough, New Zealand, who now lives in France: Jacob Beullens.

This past Saturday in Blaye, a Bordeaux blues musician named Raoul Ficel graced La Galerie restaurant and art gallery with hours of soulful music. If you check out Raoul’s site you’ll find a splendid sepia-toned photo of one album cover – taken along the banks of the Gironde estuary – which Thierry calls the “Mississippi River of France.”

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Blues along the Gironde – the ‘Mississippi River of France’
Raoul Ficel with his No. 1 Fan – His Daughter Zoe

But the best part of this season? Being grateful, and perhaps having a friend or two to share that gratitude with.

Happy Holidays All.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Wonderful video. Wonderful ambiance! Wonderful spot! Have you visited Grotte Pair-non-Pair, very close to where you are?

    1. Yes! Visited the Grotte…quite amazing that humans lived there for 60,000 years, and etched images of the local animals back in the day – hyenas, lions, mountain goats, and wooly mammoths. Life is so much simpler when we don’t have to worry about heating a cave, and when decent wine is only a small walk away…

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