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Bye Bye Banking


If you want your son to support you in your dotage don’t take him to Bordeaux at the age of fifteen. Thoughts of being a banker or hedge funder and million pound bonuses will disappear especially if his introduction is Olivier Bernard at Domaine de Chevalier. He is not only one of the great men of Bordeaux but he could inspire a Jehovah’s witness to give up years of abstinence. Olivier believes that 2005 is the greatest of all vintages in Bordeaux, it just might have competition from 2009, but it is too early to be sure.

A visit to Ch Haut Bailly, dinner with the completely atypical larger-than-life Negociant Eugene and a tour of Ch Margaux made those bonuses recede further. But the final straw was Lilian Barton.

In the Leoville Barton barrel cellar
In the Leoville Barton barrel cellar

Not only did she give Ned the most fantastic tour and explained everything beautifully. She then gave us lunch at her and Michel’s house which resembles Gerald Durrell’s Menagerie. Lunch was accompanied by Reserve de Leoville Barton 2006, which will be listed shortly, and the delicious 1999 Ch Leoville Barton which is drinking beautifully for any of you who have cases in your cellar.

Finally a visit to Pontet Canet where we were greeted by a scene from the turn of the century. And I mean the 19th century with two horse-drawn ploughs working the vineyard.


Into the cellar for a first sip of 2009 Merlot.


The day ended with dinner at the Lion d’Or where Monsieur Barbier is the apotheosis of the fawning restauranter owner and we drank the quite excellent Pontet Canet 2001.

Let’s hope that Ned’s enthusiasm for the wine trade dims over the next few years and he returns to the more sensible pursuit of the million pound bonus.