We began our journey on the Right Bank of Bordeaux in the historic town of Saint-Émilion. Saint-Émilion is a world heritage site and picturesque town with quaint wine shops, local jewelers and outdoor cafes offering panoramic views of the surrounding vineyards that take your breath away.
Château Le Bon Pasteur was a highlight. Located in Pomerol, this highly regarded Château, owned by world famous flying winemaker Michel Rolland, is very unassuming. We quickly learned that behind the humble exterior lay new and modern technologies in wine-making that are paving the way for the future of wine. Michel’s son-in-law, David Lesage, hosted our visit. We enjoyed an extravagant lunch in the Rolland home, accompanied by comparison wine flights from different vineyards. We also had the honour of conversing and learning from Michel’s wife Dany.
After lunch we travelled the short distance to the peak of Saint-Émilion, to the legendary Château Cheval Blanc. This property was purchased by the luxury goods group Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMC) in 1998 and is considered, along with Château Pavie, to be one of the top two properties of this commune. The wines from Cheval Blanc, which are Cabernet Franc dominant rather than the classic Merlot based wines of its’ neighbours, are quite opulent.
Château Pavie, classified as a Premier Grand Cru Classé (A) in Saint-Émilion is one of the most technically advanced wineries in Bordeaux. We spent our afternoon with Henrique da Costa, the winemaker and son in law to owner Gérard Perse. Since purchasing the winery in 1998, Perse has produced more modern-styled big, fruity wines, pleasuring the palate of the likes of Robert Parker Jr., who recently awarded some Pavie vintages with 100 points. These wines have a balance of remarkable power and polished finesse. The property embodies modernism, with state of the art equipment to handle the single plot fermentation, a barrel cellar that is both beautiful and efficient, a sophisticated sound system so classical music can soar through the winery, “talking” to the wines, and an art collection Christie’s would envy.
After we tasted these exquisite wines, Henrique escorted us to his father-in-law’s Michelin 2-star restaurant, Hostellerie de Plaisance in Saint-Émilion, for an outstanding nine-course tasting menu paired with wines from the Perse Chateaux, including Château Monbousquet and Château Pavie.