Meghan and I were both more than a little sad to say goodbye to Iuli winery; our new friends, Summer & Fabrizio; and Italy in general but we were also very excited to work a harvest in Bordeaux, France. Though other regions may claim comparable quality, no other wine region has the same worldwide name recognition as Bordeaux. The region is famously divided into the Left Bank and the Right Bank. Our positions with the Rolland Collection, brought us to the merlot-heavy, Left Bank – specifically to Pomerol’s Le Bon Pasteur and Fronsac’s Fontenil wineries. And despite the studying that we did before we left for Europe, we seemed to have forgotten all of our French. Over the last couple weeks, we’ve re-learned a lot of the basics and we are making slow, but steady progress. Sometimes our Spanish and limited Italian come in handy, other times it all gets mixed up and makes us revert to sign language. Progess at the winery is proceeding more quickly than our language skills; over the last two weeks all the grapes came in from the fields and are now resting comfortably in stainless steel tanks, oak tanks, and barrels. The rest of our season will be spent managing the vinification at Fontenil. Conveniently, we’re also living in a charming guest house on the Fontenil property, just steps from our work.
We’ve befriended other young winemakers from around the world (Argentina, Spain, United States, India, and of course – France) who are working the season with the Rolland Collection. If/when the schedule lightens up, we hope to visit some other chateaux. Like the wines from Piedmont and Bordeaux, our experiences in each country will be different – but we couldn’t have asked for two better opportunities to learn!