A lot of the cool things that happen during VinExpo go on before, during and after the event, in châteaus throughout the region. A couple of days before the fair, I was lucky enough to spend some time at Château Haut-Bailly , the small jewel of a wine estate in the Pessac-Léognan district.
Frank Zappa playing over a massive rock concert audio system at a château? Was I really at a Bordeaux château at dinner? There's a first time for everything! I went to a remarkable dinner last night at Château Ducru Beaucaillou , and, yes, Zappa was playing for part of it (though obviously not in the flesh, since he died a long time ago).
Not much time to write today, but I had lunch in the Médoc at Château du Tertre with the Dutch owner Eric Albada Jelgersma, manager Alexander Van Beek and Patricio de la Fuente Saaez. Patricio is a friend from Hong Kong who runs a wine importing company and sells thousands of cases to mainland China as well as Hong Kong and Macau.
VinExpo is subdued to say the least. I have been going to the mother of all wine fairs since 1983 and I never remember it being so sparsely attended. I would guess attendance is down 30 percent or 40 percent.
Yesterday a friend of mine gave me a bottle of 1981 Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino Il Greppo. It was incredibly generous of him, but I have to admit that I had doubts that it would be of very good quality.
Rome is a vivacious city full of joy, especially by night. I was with some friends from the movie biz last night and we had dinner at the restaurant Fiaschetteria Beltramme. It was good, simple, hearty food, from the meaty Parma ham to the creamy pasta carbonara in a funky, traditional atmosphere.
Came down to Naples for a couple of days to catch up with my old friend actor Matt Dillon who was at the Napoli Film Festival to give a presentation on his life's work. We decided to try to find the best pie in the legendary pizza capital.
I was watching CNN this morning before work, and I saw an interview with Roger Federer following his triumph at the French Open over the weekend. Not only is he an amazing tennis player, he seems like a great guy as well.
I left the Simcic winery in Slovenia at 4:30 this morning. It was later than my usual wine tasting! Ouch!! But Marjan Simcic just wouldn’t let us leave without tasting another bottle of his wine. He was pulling out vintage after vintage of everything from Pinot Grigio and Tokai Friulano to Pinot Noir and Merlot.
I received an e-mail today from Acker Merrall & Condit, the New York-based wine merchant and auctioneer, and it reported that its second wine auction in Hong Kong totaled about about $4.8 million. Over 1,100 lots of wines were sold at this past weekend’s sale in Hong Kong, including 2,000 bottles of Bordeaux, 3,000 bottles of Burgundy and 1,200 bottles of the world’s finest Champagne.
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions