The 20th anniversary of the Grand Cru Classé 1855 student trip to Bordeaux
As we all know, being a Master of Wine student is challenging in numerous ways but when comparing the challenges to the immense privilege and honour of being invited to a trip like this one, I think we all agree that our years of studying is a small price to pay. For 20 years now the Conseil des Grand Cru Classés en 1855, has generously hosted the first year students to an exclusive educational trip to Bordeaux. To mark this special occasion, even greater emphasis was put on creating an impressive and unforgettable program and this time our hosts extended the invitation both Masters of Wine and students. Something for which I am profoundly grateful as this was indeed an epic trip to Bordeaux.
In addition to being invited to several of the properties visited in 1997, for instance Château Pontet Canet, Château Issan, Château Batailley and Château Pichon Baron we also had the rare pleasure of visiting Mouton, Lafite, Margaux, Yquem, Haut Brion and more, and all this in a matter of days. A message that became clear to us during our time here was how rare it was for such a large group to be received in this utterly generous way, both in terms of wines and meals but also to be hosted by owners and technical directors. This gave students an unprecedented occasion for gathering essential examples for essay writing from some of the worlds most famous estates and key industry people.
Apart from examples and technical details a more hedonistically emotional side was clearly also satisfied. This trip was filled of such moments and I’m sure we all have our own personal highlights. To mention a few, it’s not every day we taste several vintages blind of Pichon Baron with Christian Seely, having dinner with Alfred Tesseron whilst sipping a 1959 Pontet Canet, listening in awe to Jean Michel Come, or having lunch at Haut Brion. Perhaps the most extravagant example, which well encapsulate the essence of this trip, was when we had finished an impressive vertical tasting of Haut Brion and Mission with Jean Philippe Dalmas and he tells us – I’m really sorry to interrupt but you’re getting late for Chateau d´Yquem…