Photo Courtesy of interestinwine.co.uk
It was no surprise that so many great Napa Valley winemakers came to the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux tasting. It is often the best winemakers who pay close attention to what is going on in the outside world. Michael Sulacci of Opus One, Tony Biagi of Plump Jack, Tom Rinaldi of Provenance (even wearing a suit and not a Hawaiian shirt), Nicki Pruss of Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, and others were all there putting their taste buds through the paces.
I also met up with Chris Phelps, the great winemaker formerly of Dominus and Caymus, and now at Swanson. Chris and I are fellow Francophiles, and we often share French language books and recordings. He spent several years in Bordeaux at the university there, studying wine, and also making wine, in the mythic 1982 vintage. I am always happy to see Chris and chat with him because he always has a good story to recount, with an engaging narrative in French or English. As usual, he didn't disappoint me.
Chris told me a quintessential Bordeaux tale. He had had some free time during a cold Bordeaux winter and was encouraged by his employers to go visit some châteaux--to get out of the cellar and get some new ideas.