Bordeaux’s Right Bank: Saint-Émilion

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Finally, after a month of calling Bordeaux my home, I wandered to the Bordelaise Vineyards just outside the city. Choosing the oldest Bordeaux wine region of Saint-Émilion as the preface for my journey was rewarding in many aspects.

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Although the vineyards are what we came for, the village was equaling amazing. Surrounded by vines in every direction, this picturesque medieval town is abounding with history and charm from the inside out. To capture sweeping views of the entire village, my friends and I climbed the 187 steps to the top of the Clother de l’Énglise Monolithe. Carved from limestone, like much of the rest of the town, the tower stands tall welcoming you into this world heritage site. The views from the top certainly made the dizzying ascent worth it.

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Back on the ground, we sauntered through the cobblestone streets pausing time and again to catch a whiff of freshly baked macaroons coming from shop windows. The girls and I stopped for a hearty lunch of lentil soup and charcuterie before venturing to the nearby appellation of Montagne.

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Waiting for us in Montagne, was Château Puynormond, a peaceful estate sitting at the epicenter of 33 acres of vines. Thanks to a wonderful connection I had made before arriving in France, I was fortunate enough to arrange a private wine tasting with the owner and wine maker, Philippe Lamarque. Philippe met us on the terrace of his small family winery and graciously showed us around the property before bringing us inside to enjoy his wines.

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In the tasting room, we took a seat around the glass bar top where we relished the views from the large picture window. Handing us each a glass, we began our tasting of the winery’s two cuvées and one single varietal wine. The two blends were supple yet mighty, harnessing their richness from the complimenting characteristics of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot.  The last wine we tasted was a 100% old vine Merlot that was incredibly unique. The Merlot offered a delicate respite from the tannin powerhouse of the other two, which I truthfully preferred.

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Dusk was approaching as we sipped and chatted about wine, history, life, you name it. In the distance, the soft sunlight of approaching nightfall emblazed the vineyards in bronze. I am so grateful to have shared this moment with my new friends, learning from Philippe, a true veteran of the wine industry. Days like this are what I dreamt of when I moved to France earlier this fall. Now I can say, it is a dream fulfilled.

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