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Published: September 30th 2017
Could've Stayed in This Hammock All Day ...
... until those bastards dragged my ass out of bed!
Geo: 44.8833, -0.15
I must have fallen through a dimensional portal, as I awakened this morning and found myself surrounded by a bunch of women. I wasn't entirely sure what had happened at first, having been in a deep slumber back at the apartment, lying in a hammock in the sun. "Lil Buddha, wake up, are you ready to go wine tasting?" What??!??! Wine tasting? What kind of men go wine tasting on a stag? Are you sure this isn't a Hen Party?
I don't get these guys, as I was dragged off long before I wanted to wake up. First off, they stuffed me with yet another dubious pain au chocolat from Le 48, a place that seemed to be a chain of sorts, though it surprisingly turned out a slightly-better pastry than the one we had at the indie patisserie yesterday near Marche des Capucins. Even worse, they tried to offer me a coffee from an automated machine! How could you even contemplate that while in Europe?
Thankfully, I had the sense to wait to have one at an indie patisserie down the block, though it still tasted like it came from a marginally-fancier automated machine ... but at
Too Sweet ...
... after the suspect pain au chocolat at Le 48, second breakfast was this apple tart, which did have a decent flaky crust.
least they churned out a decent, albeit excessively-sweet, tarte tatin for our second breakfast. Our saving grace was a return to the market for third breakfast - how could we turn down another sexy seafood platter?
The amount these guys eat borders on the obscene, as the next activity immediately after third breakfast was to spread out and gather fixings for a picnic lunch. Their eating habits put even the Hobbits to shame! Even worse, they camped out for the picnic on the steps of Bordeaux's Opera, squatting as if they were back home on the Mekong river! I can't take these guys anywhere - how embarrassing!
It was the oddest of picnic locations, as they hacked up a roasted chicken, ate peel and eat shrimps, some odd fish fritters, and tomatoes. Some homeless guy actually crashed the party, probably thinking there would be some kind of camaraderie with his fellow hobos - while they did offer him up some leftover chicken, Tri almost stabbed the guy with a knife when he tried to swipe a whole tomato from us!
So after all that, we were finally off to St Emilion for the wine tour -
Third Breakfast ...
... back at Chez Jean Mi at the Marche des Capucins. The shrimp rocked, and the crab claws were pretty good too. Oysters were quite salty again, and the snails completely forgettable.
it's obvious that the French are incredibly passionate about their vino, simply through the manner in which they speak of it. "Wine isn't business in France, it's civilization!" Good, so when the hell can we drink it??!!? St Emilion was a cool enough little town and all, but wandering around a medieval town constructed almost entirely out of stone during a European heat wave gets old, pretty quickly.
Finally, we did make our way over to Chateau Bernateau for a tour of their operations and some wine tasting. Old World wine tourism is definitely different from the bold, brash North American experience - there are no chic, modern tasting rooms or sprawling facilities; it's truly all about the wine, and nothing else. The owners gave us the tour, and it was possibly the most informative wine tour I've ever been on, and being the renowned alcoholic I am, that's a hell of a lot of tours!
The focus is totally on the terroir, and the many processes and little tricks of the trade they use to maximize the flavor of the grapes. Content-wise, it was definitely interesting, but I quickly grew weary of the tour as I needed one important,
nagging question answered - when the hell were we going to taste some wine??!!!?? So finally, it did come, a tasting of two reds, which may have well been some spectacular stuff, but being a scorching hot day, nobody was really in the mood to enjoy any dry reds ...
Again, a totally different experience from the typical North American wine tasting, where the focus is to ply you with as much wine as possible, in the hopes of getting you to buy as many bottles as possible. While the opportunity to purchase from Chateau Bernateau did exist, there was no pressure whatsoever, and it almost seemed as if they would've hosted tour groups simply to share their story and their love of wine with the masses. There's definitely something to be said for that, doing something simply for the joy of it, with making money a secondary consideration - a truly refreshing take on the business of wine.
It's a good thing that we had only booked a half day wine tour, because we ended up sleeping through most of the bus ride and much of the commentary on the way back to Bordeaux, where our little Hen Party continued.
The next step was to look for, and subsequently fail at, having a top-notch French dinner on our final evening in France. Seriously, where are all the good restaurants hiding at in Bordeaux? How is this even possible?
So today's little Hen Party finally put itself out of its misery, in the most appropriate way possible - with a bottle of champagne back at the apartment! Seriously, shouldn't guys on a stag be breaking out some Grey Goose, or Scotch, or even a little Jagermeister? At least some kind of alcoholic beverage with a tiny droplet of testosterone in it? What am I going to do with these girls?
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