I’m just on my way home from Vinexpo, a huge wine trade fair held bi-annually in Bordeaux.
I’d heard a lot about the fair in advance of my visit. Most of the press was negative, in large part because attending Vinexpo can be a bit of an endurance test. 50 000 visitors arrive in Bordeaux, which is not a huge city. So everything – transport, restaurants, accommodation – gets clogged up.
The exhibition halls – four of them if you include the Palais de Congres – are located around a large lake, north of the city. The main hall, number one, is a kilometre long, and has five rows of stands along its length, with two smaller halls bolted on each end. From hall 1 to get to the Palais de Congres you have to cross the lake by means of a floating bridge.
The floating bridge is possibly the coolest thing about Vinexpo. That, and the fact that all walkways are covered with red felt – the red carpet treatment. This bridge sways quite spectacularly if enough people are on it at once and they’re walking in step. I felt seasick by the end.
I was there to help with a presentation by Napa Valley Vintners on climate change. It went really well, and after it finished I spent most of the rest of the day tasting in the Portuguese section of the show. It was time well spent, I feel. Lots of Portuguese producers were attending and I experienced some very nice wines.
Backtracking: I arrived in Bordeaux last night. I was staying in the home of a really nice French family. It was supposed to be B&B, but it seemed that they’d just got a spare room and were letting it out. I dropped my bags there about 2030 (and then didn’t return till 0115, when it was pitch black and I had to use the light of my phone to find my way).
I was taken to the Brasserie Bordelaise by my hosts Chris and Rex, and we ate and drank really well. The brasserie was heaving. Service took an age, but the food and wine were great when they came. We went northern Rhône in our wine choice, with a St Joseph blanc from Villard and a Cote Rotie from Cuilleron, followed by a bottle of Sauternes (2002 Guiraud) as a concession to the fact we were in Bordeaux. The wines were all very good, with the Sauternes in particular hitting the spot.
It’s been a fun couple of days.