If Prowein in Dusseldorf is considered the most important wine fair for commercial reasons, Vinexpo in Bordeaux is the most glamorous encounter of the wine world. First of all it takes place every two years, that contributes to build expectations. It is held in June, that recalls the summer light rather than the cold March darkness of the German counterpart. But most of all it is based in one of the most famous wine regions of the planet. On the one hand that attracts many decision makers from all over the world (especially Asia). On the other hand, you may enjoy fancy evenings in one of the iconic Chateaux.
The business part is nonetheless intense. Our small but focused O’Briens group led by our Master of Wine Lynne Coyle started the first meeting at 9.30 on the button, and spent the whole day tasting new vintages of our customers’ favourite wines as well as new products to add to our stable. Vinexpo declares exhibitors are from more than 40 countries but France is obviously the most represented. All the big names are present with amazing stands, Pol Roger and Boisset among the classiest (we even met the legendary Jean-Charles Boisset himself with his beautiful personally designed brooch). At the end of the session we counted more than 60 wines tasted, with several interesting things to bring back to Ireland (I’m not allowed to disclosure details but watch this space)
After a long day of tasting and networking it was time for the fancy side of Vinexpo, and you can’t do more glamorous than a dinner at Chateau Lafite Rothschild in Pauillac. Greeted by the charismatic Christophe Salin (president of the group of Domaine Baron Rothschild), we had a reception in the beautiful gardens with the delicious champagne DBR, followed by the visit to the cellars. You may rather call it “wine cathedral” giving the sensation of awe that you could feel among the guests walking by the barrels. The dinner presented the fantastic wines of the South American properties of the group (Caro and Le Dix de Los Vascos) but the highlight was the pouring of Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2001, a nectar that reminded us why there is no other place on earth like Bordeaux.