As a young(ish) wine traveler I have something to confess. While traveling through different wine regions, I’m so intent on enjoying everything that I rarely stop to actually enjoy anything. It’s an odd notion; but I do oftentimes find myself stepping off the plane, back in the states with a wine journal full of notes comparing the structure and acidity of wine x from vintage y with wine y from vintage z. My notes take me back to moments of furrowed brow, nose dug into a glass of wine, blinders on, breaking my brain over the wine; instead of telling myself, “WID! Do you even remember where you’re at right now?! Open your eyes!” For such the romantic, I become such the pedant while traveling. That all changed one rainy, chilly September afternoon during my first trip to Bordeaux.
After a morning tour of Château Carignan in Cadillac on the Garonne River and a substantial lunch of grilled duck breast, foie gras and frites, we raced through the pine barrens west of the Médoc toward the sea: to the Arcachon. The Arcachon is a small fishing village on the Atlantic coast, most famous for the oysters hauled in from the basin of the same name. Here we walked the rutted, soggy jetty out to a small store front where the young proprietor shucked for us appellation specific, Grand Banc Cap Ferret AOP oysters, pulled from the water that very afternoon. Along with them we sipped the newly arrived L’Orangerie de Carignan blanc. The Sauvignon-led wine drove crisp lines of acidity and citrus in tandem with the oyster’s sweet and saline notions. We remarked at how amazingly salty the oysters were. The man shrugged his shoulders and answered simply. They had not seen any rain in quite a while. No rain meant that the salt of the basin had concentrated in the oyster. The light-bulbs went off for all of us. Yes, oysters were protected under appellation laws; but moreover, they expressed terroir! While the idea was easy to understand, it hung with me. White Bordeaux and Arcachon oysters in Arcachon? It’s enough to change something inside someone. All of the pedantic nonsense I had put myself through melted away. The rain had soaked my collar through. My tweed cap hung limp over my eyes. I shivered a bit, but I was happy there in the Arcachon— salt and Sauvignon in the air.
Wid Kever IV, Wine & Spirits Specialist – New Smyrna Beach